Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fringe Hispanic

Today is the day of the Nevada caucuses, the first time in our history that a state with a large Hispanic population will get an early say in who our presidential nominees are. I'm looking forward to strong support for Obama coming out of Nevada, but as has been demonstrated, no one can take for granted the support of Hispanic voters.

I'm never sure if I can count myself as one of the people referred to by the term "Hispanics," "Hispanic voters," or "Latinos." I realize that for the most part, Hispanics are seen as low-income, Spanish-dominant, family-oriented, believing in God and with close ties to their countries of origin (or their parents have close ties to their countries of origin). None of these characteristics applies to me. I have no idea who I'm related to in Mexico, the country my grandparents came from (and I didn't know my grandparents at all). Am I being counted in the "the Latino vote?" Or are Latino voters identified in ways that would leave me out?

Maybe I'm irrelevant. Efforts to make available, to Latinos, quality education, good health care, well-paying jobs and affordable housing focus on Latinos who don't have these things. I've had all these things. If my grandparents came to the U.S. so that their children and their grandchildren would have progressively better lives, ultimately being able to do whatever they want that makes them happy, I think I have, for the most part, achieved that. I attained the education and income-level that allows me to do what I want with my life. This makes me not part of the Hispanic population that needs better opportunities. This makes me not part of the Hispanic population that struggles with racism (much). Maybe I don't count as part of the "Hispanic voters" politicians are courting.

But I still care about immigration policies. I care about English Only bull&*(@ -- I mean, legislation. I will wake up for political discussions that target issues like that. Maybe I'm a fringe Hispanic.

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