Monday, June 2, 2008

the Great Latino/Black Hate Hype of '08

Hillary Clinton's win in the Puerto Rican primary has once again brought up the issue about Latino voters and whether or not they can vote for an African American presidential candidate. The media has done much to (in my opinion) hype up the idea that Blacks and Latinos don't get along. I've done what I can to dispel that myth. And now, I have an outsider's opinion to back me up.

One of my counselors is Bolivian. He came to this country a long time ago and is a U.S. citizen who is registered to vote. F, my aide, and I recently sat down for a chat when F suddenly brought up the elections. I know better to discuss politics at work (I am well aware that my hot-headedness can get me into trouble), so I tried my best to listen and not really insert my opinion into the conversation (yes, that was hard for me). I let my aide and F go at it. My aide has long been an Obama supporter so she declared her Obama love. On the other hand, F was a Hilary supporter who could not see himself voting for Obama in the primary but would vote for him in the general elections if he ended up being the candidate (yes, this conversation took place a while ago).

I asked F why he preferred Hillary over Obama. He replied, "Well, she has a lot of experience." Against my better judgment (I was curious about the answer), I asked, "What specifically is her experience?" F answered, "Well, I don't really know actually. But things were really great under her husband. The economy was good. And he fixed a lot of things. I think Hillary can make things good again." My aide asked, "But why can't Obama change things? He's all about change and hope. That's what his campaign is all about."

Without skipping a beat, F answered, "Look, I'm Latino. I've heard this song and dance before. The promise of hope and change from politicians? It just doesn't happen. We can't believe it because we've heard it all in our home countries before only to elect someone who keeps doing the same bad things or does even worse things. We don't believe in hope when a politician promises it."

Could the Latino community's support of Hillary be as simple as this? I've read a lot of articles where older Latinos have stated that they won't vote for Obama yet younger ones seemed open to the idea. F's rationale for why he wouldn't vote for Obama seems to fit this.

I refuse to believe the media's spin that Latinos and Blacks don't get along and that's why Latinos won't vote for Obama. I just don't buy the hate hype. Sorry, media, but this brown chica isn't fooled.

However, maybe I'm just being a little bit hopeful, a little bit naive. Maybe I see that it's 2008 and we should have already moved on from judging someone based on the color of their skin.

Because I would really hate to see my people perpetuate the same hate that has been shown to us.

1 comment:

Mme. Meow said...

As long as there are stereotypes to perpetuate, and a small sample of the population validates that stereotype either implicitly or explicitly, we're all kind of screwed.