Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fried chicken tacos

Obama and the Latino Vote in the NY Times, by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, at Multiplicative Identity, via Feministe.

. . . There are many things to admire about the New York Times. A complex and nuanced understanding of the vast diversity of Latino America is not among those things.

In a story on page A1 of the Times yesterday, reporters Adam Nagourney and Jennifer Steinhauer stated that Latinos are not going to support Senator Barack Obama in his bid for the White House because, “in Obama’s pursuit of Latinos, race plays a role.” In other words, they said that Latinos would not vote for a black man, and backed it up with nothing other than a couple of anecdotal quotes from random Latinos in Los Angeles.

The sloppy, inaccurate story goes on for 32 agonizing paragraphs, using the terms “black” and “Latino” as though they were mutually exclusive – which they are not. Historians estimate that 95 percent of the African slave trade to the Americas took place in Latin America.

To this day, the vast majority of people in the African diaspora live south of the U.S. border, in Latin American countries from Brazil to Colombia to Cuba and, yes, even Mexico. The song "La Bamba," in fact, was brought to the Veracruz region of Mexico by Africans enslaved to the Spanish. The song likely has roots in the Bembe (Bantu) culture from what is now the Congo. This is only a stone's throw, geographically, from the Kenya of Obama's father's birth.

How quickly we forget in this country. How brutally we refuse to learn . . .

That's been bugging me too. What also has been chapping my hide is the incessant drumbeat of the mainstream media insisting that black people and women are also mutually exclusive voting blocs. After listening to the cable "news" outlets and reading the major national publications--all of which are owned by corporate oligarchies--one would come to the following conclusions about the 2008 Presidential election as well:

  • Older women are voting for Hillary Clinton because they felt sorry for her after she cried.
  • Older black people are voting for Hillary Clinton because they want Bill Clinton back in the White House, while younger black people are voting for Barack Obama because he's younger and he gives them hope.
  • Hispanic and Latino voters are all Spanish-speaking immigrants who live near the border of Mexico or in Spanish Harlem or in East LA, and they are all voting for Hillary Clinton because they don't like black Barack Obama.
  • White people all over the country tell pollsters they will vote for Barack Obama, but "will secretly vote for John McCain" or some other white candidate. Why? Because either they want to impress the person doing the poll and appear "open-minded" by voting for the black guy, or they don't know that in their hearts, they are really racists.
  • Barack Obama will never win the South because the South is where all racists live. No racists live anywhere else in the United States, no nonwhite people live in the South, and every white person in the South is a racist.
  • Americans are not concerned with any current events or issues like the illegal occupation of Iraq, health care, the current recession, education, the mortgage crisis or the rising cost of living. Americans are only voting for Hillary Clinton because she is a woman, or for Barack Obama because he is black. Americans are only concerned with making the 2008 Presidential election a historical event because they could choose the first President who is not a white male.
  • There are only two people who can become President: Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. There are people running on the Republican side, but no one really cares about them because they are too old, too stupid, too racist, too Mormony, too lazy, too into 9/11, or too . . . wait, who are you again? Oh.
  • John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich do not exist. In the Democratic primaries, people are voting for Barack Obama because they don't like women, or they are voting for Hillary Clinton because they don't like black people. There are no white men in the Democratic party running for President, so they must vote for Senator Clinton or Senator Obama.

Happy voting! Also, watch the Congressional Black Caucus Democratic debate on Monday night!


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