Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Latino enough? That’s a pesky issue to persue

Bill Richardson, the one-time governor of New Mexico who once dreamed of being U.S. president, is moving into dangerous territory with his viewpoint that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, isn’t really Latino.

RICHARDSON: The new 'Latino' police?
Richardson, the son of a U.S. businessman who married a Mexican woman and raised his family for a time in Mexico, said during one of the Sunday morning interview programs on ABC that he objects to being put in the same ethnic classification as the man whose father is a Cuban exile.

IT IS BECAUSE Cruz is among the Republican officials who are willing to smack about the idea of serious immigration reform. He, along with Marco Rubio, are the mouthpieces that GOPers like to use to (in their own minds) undermine the idea that Latinos care about the issue.

As Richardson put it, “Almost every Hispanic in the country wants to see immigration reform. No, I don’t think he should be defined as a Hispanic. He’s a politician from Texas, a conservative state. And I respect Texas’ choice. But what I don’t like is when you try to get things done. It’s okay to be strong and state your views, your ideology. But I’ve seen him demean the office, be rude to other senators, not be part of, I think, the civility that is really needed in Washington.”

I’m wondering how much this is going to come back and bite the former governor in his nalgas. It definitely won’t be forgotten any time soon!

It’s the part about deciding whether someone is Latino “enough” to be worthy of using the Latino (or Hispanic) label. They’re both inter-changeable, and overly vague enough to include large masses of people.

BECAUSE, YES, I do consider the son of a Cuban exile to be worthy of inclusion within the overall label. Although he’s evidence of just how large and diverse a group the “Latino” label (or “Hispanic”) truly is that it could include people ranging from Richardson to Cruz and many other extremes that wouldn’t identify with either man.

Although I’m sure there will be some ideologues who will take offense to Richardson saying that “almost every Hispanic” wants immigration reform. They’ll cite all those polls that show the issue down the list of priorities, with education or jobs usually ranking higher.

CRUZ: Differences of opinion?
It really means that Latinos are just like other people in so many ways – despite the attempts of conservative ideologues to relegate our ranks to a separate category.

Which also is the reason why immigration gets so much attention from the growing Latino ranks. It becomes a matter of respect for our presence – even if our own families have been in this country for generations and the immigration issue isn’t a daily concern in our lives.

WE REALIZE THERE are those among the ideologues who either can’t tell the difference, or for political reasons don’t want to have to acknowledge any difference.

And Cruz, with all his rhetoric, is giving aid and comfort to those people. Maybe it’s not exactly “consorting with the enemy,” but he’s definitely showing a willingness to side with people who view many of us as the “problem” to be “eradicated.”

Some people are so eager to be considered a part of this society that they’re willing to take on a certain self-loathing attitude toward others similar to them, because they want to believe there is some significant difference that makes them stand out. That is Cruz’ hang-up, his issue he has to resolve in his life.

But political partisanship is Richardson’s real objection to Cruz! And to all of those who take on similar attitudes about select issues.


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