Still Waiting for That Latino Revolution…

14 Sep
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro

Last week, I just missed the Thursday night chat on Twitter for Latinos in Social Media, and so was grateful to be able to peruse the transcript that was later posted by Elianne Ramos, one of the forces behind LatiSM.  I admit to perusing the chat and not reading it all (4 hours or so worth), but I noticed a trend.  When will we Latinos become a force in politics? When will our voices be heard? When will we stand up and be heard?  When, when, when.

I don’t know if this strain of self-pity/self-questioning is unique to Latinos, but I have always noticed it- and I admit, I’ve participated. A lot.  We tend to look at the African American community and wonder why we don’t have an Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson (to which I say, THANK GOD).  We tend to look at the Asian American community and wonder why we don’t have similar levels of success (i.e. college graduation rates, test scores). The mainstream media often speaks breathlessly about the impact Latinos will have on elections, entertainment, sports, and more.  And yet we still feel invisible.  Por qué?

Perhaps it’s because we feel that our power in numbers is not reflected in mainstream media news stories (an abysmally low number of stories are about us).  Perhaps it’s because we watch mainstream American sports and don’t see ourselves reflected in the teams (I mean American Latinos, not foreign-born Latinos.  But we still love you, Big Papi). And my theory as to why we seem invisible politically? Time zones.  By the time Pennsylvania and Ohio had helped put Obama into the win column in the 2008 presidential elections, the heavy get out the Latino vote campaigns in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico were an afterthought.

My personal pet peeve regarding the national dialogue about Latinos? This constant idea that we’ve just arrived.  And hey, many of us have.  But many of us, perhaps even most of us, have roots in the United States that go far back. My maternal grandmother was born to a Mexican family in Garden City, Kansas.  My Mexican-born mother grew up in East L.A. listening to Elvis (sorry to reveal your age there, Mom). Her friends all grew up in the barrio and all have deep roots in this country.  So we have been a part of the fabric of this country for a long time. When will our impact be felt?

Who knows.  I sympathize with those who wonder when it will be our time.  I still see portrayals of Latinos in the media that make me cringe (most provided by Carlos Mencía).  I wonder when our political impact will be felt.  Yet I feel hopeful.  Poco poquito, we’re making our presence known.  We’ve got Sofia Vergara on Modern Family. Zoe Saldana in the highest-grossing movie of all time. Robert Rodriguez making a movie starring the most feo actor in Hollywood.  And in the political arena, mayor of San Antonio Julian Castro is impressive.  No se preocupen.  Organize and act.  Our day is coming.

5 Responses to “Still Waiting for That Latino Revolution…”

  1. Elisa Batista September 20, 2010 at 1:13 am #

    Hola! I am glad you set up this blog. I like the politics and will definitely scour it from now on for MotherTalkers. Gracias!

    • lebanexican September 20, 2010 at 2:22 am #

      Thanks, Elisa! Love your blog as well, a great mix of the personal and the political.

  2. travelingmuses November 23, 2010 at 7:41 pm #

    Sotomayor. Supreme Court. Kind of a big [political] deal, no?

    • lebanexican November 24, 2010 at 2:34 am #

      Yes, she is a role model that young girls can look up to. Yet she is not a political leader; Supreme Court Justices are not supposed to be. We are not supposed to know their views on various political issues. When it comes to Latinos becoming a real force in American political life, it seems to still be all rhetoric, little reality.


  1. Thoughts on the California Elections, or, She Ain’t Heavy, She’s my Maid « The Lebanexican - October 6, 2010

    […] know, this doesn’t have the upbeat tone of my previous post, “Still Waiting for that Latino Revolution”.  But it irks me that of the four candidates for governor and senate- Meg Whitman, Jerry Brown, […]

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