(Non) Racial Politics

29 July 2008

I know that religion and politics are the topics you don’t bring up in polite conversation, but…

Today in the news is Sen. Barack Obama’s multi-million dollar drive to recruit LAtino voters. The same Latino voters that overwhelmingly voted for Sen Clinton in the primaries. Now, I’ve heard many theories about why so many Latinos didn’t vote for Obama – and the worst reason was a conspiracy/theory about Latinos not trusting African-Americans. Yes, racism exists and there may have been an aggrieved sense that African-Americans shouldn’t get into the White House before Latinos. I don’t believe that. I do believe that amongst Sen Clinton’s supporters, there was a sense that she would do more for the Latino community – although there’s little evidence to support this.

Sen Obama is walking a fine line on the racial issue – his appeal is his “post-racial” status. In other words, he’s a black guy not running as a black guy, yet not running away from his blackness. Compare him to another successful minority politician, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: he didn’t run as a Latino pol either, yet he didn’t shy away from chumming up with his East-side supporters and labor background. Which is smart politics.

Which brings me to a point I’ve heard made long ago: that Latinos are, on the whole and on the issues, more conservative ideologically and should be voting Republican:


  • anti abortion
  • pro family
  • anti tax
  • pro small business
But then you get into other issues that the Republicans have completely fucked up on:
  • immigration
  • public education
  • public transit
It’ll be interesting to see how many Latino votes Obama actually gets.
Not Pandering At All

Not Pandering At All

*Caveat* I suppose younger Latino voters are probably a lot more liberal than their older, more conservative counterparts.
Politico article here

Life in a Flash

28 July 2008

Reading through the L.A. Times yesterday, I came across the story of Nancy and Rudy Tovar, creators of Rudy and Nancy’s Barrio Newsletter (Which I have been trying to find and can’t yet). 

In a nutshell, Nancy Tovar has reached that age in her life when she is not only facing her mortality, but doing it in a dignified way – she’s not only taking care of her affairs, packing, giving things away, but she also has her eye on her husband of over 13 years, although they’ve dated since 1979 and met in the 1960s. According to the Time’s Steve Lopez, 

Nothing in her life was harder, Tovar says, than moving Rudy out of the home they shared. Learning of her cancer 2 1/2 years ago didn’t compare. Being told recently that it had spread to her lymph nodes didn’t compare. Losing Rudy was everything. “He’s going deaf,” she says, wishing she could share her hopes and fears with him. “You don’t know whether he hears you or not.”

This is one of those local stories newspapers are good for. With all of the hype about how much newspapers are losing money and readers, these kinds of local stories should be what a new and improved L.A. Times would be smart to focus on.

It’s also one of those stories that should make us proud of being human, living in Los Angeles, that we have good people left, and even though we’re all headed to the same destination, it makes life that much better to know of two kindred spirits and sweet hearts like these two people.


Towering Scarecrow

Towering Scarecrow

My prayers go out to both Nancy and Rudy.

Full Article Here




Welcome to Pocho Saurus Mex

25 July 2008

I know the title is hit or miss. My siblings hate it, dismissed it out of hand. My good friend loved it, laughed and made me know I had to go with it.

So what’s this all about? I’m sure you’ve heard or been involved in a variant of this conversation:

So you’re Mexican?

– No.

Confused look. You can almost hear them think: But…look at you! 

You continue. -I was born here.

-But you’re Mexican.

-No. If I were Mexican, I would have been born there. My parents are from Mexico.

-So what do you have against Mexicans? Or: Oh, you’re ashamed of your roots? Or: Something about a “ranfla” (car)

Brings me to my point: There are many of us whose parents are from other countries. In the process of assimilation, we’re losing a bit of ourselves. Many of us give it up quietly, knowing that our life is a mixture – not quite Mexican, not quite American. We are something new and fresh and in-between. Some of us make a big racket about not “going down without a fight,” about not “selling out.” There are discussions of Raza and Aztlan and other myths and legends. 

I can see my parents and all that they’ve given up to be here. I see how they gave up their comfortable lives back in Mexico to be spat on in this country, be laughed at, work and finally make it. I am what they wanted to accomplish. My Spanish isn’t that great. I don’t want to take back any land from anyone. I don’t use the words “pachuco” “ranfla” “orale” (except when joking). Not a big chile fan. I love enchiladas. Not a Taco Bell customer. Thinking about not voting for Obama. Giving McCain a chance to prove himself. Always follow immigrant stories in the news. Not really “down” with the whole Chicano Movement thing.

If I were Asian, you’d probably call me a banana.

If I were Black, you’d call me an Oreo.

I guess I am your coconut.


Fuck it! Welcome to Pocho Saurus Mex.


Here We Go…

25 July 2008

I’m sure this story has just started to make the rounds – first in the L.A. Times – picked up this discussion of Metafilter (the very first blog I ever read back in the 1990s).

Asians and Latinos: Guess Which Ones Make It?

The difference here is that the students at Lincoln were actually speaking up about it, instead of just grumbling at it by themselves. Hopefully this coverage will wake a few of them up. It’s simplistic to say that it’s just because the Latino kids are poor that that’s why they don’t make it. Stand and Deliver, anyone?

Seriously, it’s the parents who force these Asian kids to study at all hours, to fill up their time with coaches and drill and kill and SAT Prep. I know Asian kids are lazy, horny, distracted, just like Latino kids – difference is that Latino kids don’t have parents who tear them down when they “only” get a 90% on a test. I’ve seen it.

Most kids just want to be kids. If it wasn’t for the pressure parents exert, most would just stay home and MySpace with their “friends.”

Wonder why the drop-out rate is so high? It’s because Latino parents themselves (again this is all just generalizing, so be kind) didn’t go very far with their own schooling. This is an outdated model, but some Latino parents want to see their kids working, making money, helping out with the household expenses. Schooling is something abstract and work is a concrete, character builder.

Nothing wrong with that. Right?