Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Hispanics and Barack Obama: Racism without shame

Much has been made about the lack of support for Barack Obama among U.S. Latinos and much has been left unsaid. Among the mainstream media, and the mainstream Hispanic media, the issue is barely debated and simply lumped into a generalized pro-Clinton attitude among Hispanics. This is bullshit and everyone within the Hispanic community knows this. Barack Obama is black. That's the issue. That has been the issue, but no one will say it.

For the uninitiated it may come as a surprise that there is a great amount of racism within the Hispanic community. Not only does it exist, it is rampant, blatant, and without shame. Hispanics are the last bastion of pure unadulterated racism and it is high time we were called out about it.

Let me break it down:

If we are to greatly generalize, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans tend to have better relations with black Americans than do Mexicans and Cubans, and typically the more traditional or oldest members especially if they are recent immigrants tend to hold more anti-black sentiments than others.

That however is a generalization. I know black Dominicans who swear they are of pure European racial stock, or that their skin color is due to their Indian heritage. Many Puerto Ricans suffer from this delusion as well. And I've had friends laugh at me for dating an African American girl.

The issue is not a simple one and not one I expect any of the news channels to tackle in one of their so-in-depth 30 second interviews. In fact it is an issue that most Hispanics turn a blind eye to and go as far as arguing that in Latin America there is no racism.

The reasons for this racism are due to two main factors: 1) the racism practiced in Latin America and 2) the racism practiced in the United States. The message from both societies has been that it is better to be white above all else.

Americans should be aware that in Latin America it is still considered funny for comedians to go on stage with blackface on and that Latin America has never had a movement for black civil rights.

This is due to different sets of circumstances surrounding the histories of both the Anglo-American and Latin American societies. Slavery was never as institutionalized in Latin America as it was in the U.S. and discrimination was also less of an act supported by Latin American governments, unlike what we find in U.S. history. In fact while most Latin American countries had slavery, only Cuba and Brazil could be considered slave societies like the Southern States. And the transition to integrations while slower has also been smoother.

Still, we have a situation where most Latino immigrants to the U.S. come from places where the darker your skin is the less desirable you are and where the local equivalents to the word "nigger" are still in use even if it is not perceived as having the same negative connotation. Even black Latinos are often encourage to marry white or “whiter” Latinos "para mejorar la raza" or "to better the race".

So here is Barack Obama, a perfectly qualified person for the Presidency of the United States and to whose campaign I have donated, and much of the Hispanic population is unable to see him for anything else than a black man. Why?

Because in the Hispanic community the Republican Party for years has been characterizing the Democrats as the "Party of Blacks" and if you vote Democrat you must then be either black or a "nigger-lover". This is discourse that has been unsavory in most white American communities for a couple of decades. But for the throngs of Hispanic immigrants who come every year into the U.S. the message is new and it is a threat.

If someone is trying to start a new life in the U.S. free from discrimination or oppression the last thing they want is to be associated with the racial group considered most undesirable in the US, African Americans.

Due to political considerations, the Hispanic vote is still mostly Democratic, but the socially progressive message of the party is often lost when Republicans scare Hispanics with the message that black candidates will only serve black constituents often at the loss of Hispanic political influence and government services.

Latinos everywhere must enlighten themselves and see the system for what it is and recognize that African Americans and Hispanic Americans sit in the same boat, and if we stop rowing simply because the other is rowing, we'll just go around in circles.

I support Barack Obama, because I do believe in his message, because I believe in his politics, and because we should want to be more than just tokens as we were under the Clinton & Bush administrations and as we would be under McCain. I believe him to be a person of considerate thought, a person of responsibility, and a person who learns from his mistakes, and that's who I want watching over our country and our future, and to deal fairly with our brothers in Latin America and Africa.

And to my Latino brothers and sisters who cannot stand the thought of voting for a black man, I hope you find your shame before it is publicly found for you.


Sam said...

A wonderful post. Thank you for speaking the truth.

Bohemia said...

I may agree with you that racism is shameful but in my opinion, there are other reasons Obama is behind in the latino vote. For example, in California, where I live, 3 out 4 political ads were Clintons. Didn't Obama have more money?? Clinton clobbered Obama in California. My impression was Obama took latinos for granted. After his California loss, he recruited all the Latino celebrities he could (George Lopez, Jessica Alba, Luis Guzman, John Leguizamo) My bewilderment is Doesn't he come from Illinois the state with one of the biggest Puerto Rican communities?? Isn't Luis Gutierrez on his campaign team?? How come they have not articulated a more effective campaign to enamore latino vote??What is also inexplicable was his attitude in his brief visit to PR? His attitude gave me the impression he felt nothing but contempt to Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans. Is this the new hope?? For me its just politics as usual...

Anonymous said...

I would be careful with generalizations. I'm pretty sure many of us are qualified to make our decisions based on other factors besides race. Racism might play a small factor for some Latinos, but definetely not all.

Rodolfo said...

What an incredibly stupid article. Breathtaking in its sweeping stupidity.

Essentially I am racist because I refuse to vote for an uderqualifies, thick-in-the-head, lefty who happens to be half-White, half-Black.

I guess we're supposed to be easily led sheep.

Michael A. Deliz said...

No, Rodolfo, you're not racist just perhaps functionally illiterate since you missed the point altogether.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to comment that I think you took a mature stance. Whether or not Hispanics vote for a Black candidate is irrelevant, but I have heard that there is severe racial prejudice in Latin American that is misunderstood here in the states if even recognized at all. As an African-American I feel that in the past more could have been done on our part to bridge the gap but at the same time there have always been efforts by the dominant class to keep subordinate classes in contention instead of in cooperation whether it be poor whites and poor blacks or blacks and Hispanics. We just need to recognize that and counteract it.

Harold M. Clemens said...

good post here, Homey! Imma start checking for you... keep doin' it.

Patrick Carroll said...

Totally agree. As a non-Latino (I'm from Ireland) I may raise some hackles by saying this, but I've seen racism all over South America: Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil.

Look at photos of most of the past presidents, most of the soap stars, and just about all the beauty queens of these countries, and what do you notice? You've guessed it, they're white. And what's the percentage of white people in those countries? Pretty small.

I know that the countries I've mentioned are not the ones discussed in the article, but I would be very surprised if the immigrants to "America" (USA) from those countries held radically different views. Racism among Latinos - against their own African and indigena blood - is regrettably rife.

Anonymous said...

It sounds to me more like the author of the article is racist. Has it ever crossed your mind that Latinos not voting for Obama simply don't want to vote for him? Where is it written that they have to vote for Barack Obama or they are racist? I don't like Barack Obama, does that make me a racist? Keep calling everyone a racist and see how that works out for Barack Obama. The one's who keep trying to shame people into voting for Barack Obama by inferring racism are the ones who should be ashamed.

Nia said...

I live in Detroit, Michigan, one of the largest Hispanic/Latino communities in the U.S. In the Southwest area of Detroit, which is the largest area in the state, Hispanics, Latino's, and African Americans live and work in the same neighborhoods and share a common denominator. Family, Community, Friends, Education, the Economy comes first. We don't have any racial conflict. One of my best friends and co-worker is Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Cuban. I was personally shocked and insulted at racist comments I hear on some of these blogs about Hispanics and/or Latino's not liking African Americans or African Americans not liking Hispanics and/or Latino's. I guess here in Michigan we're kind of isolated since both groups are often the target of racism. In fact, I didn't know this kind of conflicts existed between us until the 2008 Campaign. But, one thing I will say, Hillary Clinton would not have gotten the majority of here in Detroit - no matter who endorsed her. In Detroit, we stick together.

Anonymous said...

I greatly appreciated this article. I am black (an African american is a direct descendant of Africa, and black is typically mixed raced with Afican blood, I am not a direct descendant of Africa). I think that it is devestating that the world is against blacks. Barack is a good candidate and so far the best. But, if Hillary were to win - we (blacks and latinos) should vote for her. But, if Barack should win we both should vote for him. Keep this in mind, slaves were taken to the PR and Dominica first, then many slaves ran off to Mexico to escape their masters (my great great uncle did it). This was after the Europeans killed up all the indiginous people and instilled their culture and their beliefs. I had thought that once upon a time that blacks and latinos got along better than this, clearly I am wrong. As a minority, and a female, I strongly feel for and support latinos and hispanics, as well as asians and middle easterners. We as minority groups should band together and take down the system. This is all the governments fault, blame them! And nobody shoud be fighting for some punk ass welfare benifits and jobs that are basically indentured servitude. We both can do better than this. I think that Puerto Rican men are hot. (the republicans are out to get the mexicans though)Barack may have not tried hard enough, but I think that he had learned his lesson from Texas and Cali. We got to do better, what will Jesus do or think? Latinos and blacks are both very religous backgrounds - think about what God thinks about man judging others and hatred of another. What will He think of all of this. Lets pray, sing, and count those rosary beads together (I know that this sounds whack, but still). If anyone is inferior, mankind is inferior, animals are smaller and we are all beneath God.

SILAS said...

The posting above mine is ..well....for lack of words stupid. So mr jet black who is not a direct descedant of Africans, where did your freaking blackness originate?? mmhh..the moon? Typical self hating brainwashed bs that we see south of the border...maybe you need to better the race too..dont you think??

floacist said...

Black is someone who is not a descendant of Africa? LOL.

Let me tell you, Charlize Theron is an African American. Sounds funny, right?

All black people are descendants of Africa. The African Atlantic slave trade shipped slaves to other places besides North America, you know. I'm West Indian, but I'm obviously still Black, thats just my culture. I always feel somewhat insulted by it is considered the 'proper' use of saying/referring to 'Black' people is 'African American' when that excludes a lot of other Black people.

Damn. You never see someone who is, for example, Japanese, say 'I'm not Asian I'm Japanese,'

I know a Dominican girl in my old school who "looks" black. I can't remember who was it, but someone referred to her as a homegirl nickname 'Morena' -- and she just said flatly 'I'm not black, I'm Spanish,' If you're so Spanish, why don't you go visit Spain? Go tell a Spaniard you're Spanish and they'll laugh at you back to DR.

I can't stand afro-hispanics who get huffy puffy if someone doesn't refer to them as 'Spanish'. Spanish is a language! 'Oh I just look black' okay so where did that 'black looking' blood come from? Seriously, I can't stand this black denial. Since the reemergence of reggaeton a few years ago especially, its become 'trendy' to be Spanish, although its waned down since than. Be true to yourself and stop following fads. Don't claim races you don't embrace just to say you have something in you thats not black. My grandma is half italian, but I'd be disrespectful to go and tell people I'm a quarter italian if we/my family doesn't or aren't familiar with the Italian culture. Black folks always have to 'add' something. I remember awhile ago when we were going around in a program stating our ethnicities, one girl said she was Jamaica 'and a little bit of Irish'. Girl please. Unless I see your ass at the Irish day parade, don't try and embrace other parts of your lineage if only but to be proud that you aren't completely 'black'.

Sorry for blabbering. GREAT GREAT article, theres nothing else to say.

Anonymous said...

Ah, and now I can exhale. Finally, finally, I've found a Latino willing to state the truth: Racism in the Lation community is Widespread, it is rampant, and it is dibilitating. Particularly among Mexican Immagrants.

I am a Black woman living in 10-unit apartment community where all but 3 families are Mexican immagrants. I can't tell you how many times I have been ignored and disregarded by my Mexican sisters living right across the hall, despite all we have in common: youth, motherhood, strong family ties and religious beliefs.

My favorite act of blatent disrespect is how they see me coming up the stairs, and rush into thier apartments(slamming the door) to avoid saying 'hello', or how when in public, Mexicans deliberately turn thier backs to me, or avoid making direct eye contact. The general sense is that Blacks are beneath them, and should not be acknowledged.

Back to Obama: I knew the minute the man announced his candidacy for president that he would not get the support within the Latino community that the Clinton's enjoyed. Let's keep it real. Obama is Black, and that's the reason, pure and simple. Older Latinos would sooner die than vote for a 'nigger.'

And there's one more point I'd like to bring to light that wasn't addressed in the blog: this racial hatred is not as prominent when reversed. For example, I have not seen evidence that Blacks have the same distain for Latinos that Latinos seem to have for Blacks.

Blacks and Latinos have WAY more in common than they think, or are willing to admit. We all need to find better ways of understanding each other's plight in order to promote better relations between the races.

Thank you my Latino brother, for "saying the damn thing!"

Anonymous said...

Who cares if the hispanic americans are racist! He's not complaining about the black americans who are only voting for him because he's black!
Is that not favorable racism?!

Anonymous said...

excellent article. In order to advance people need to take notice and celebrate their roots. Their mixed roots (black, indian and white) in the latino community. Racism is a serious problem that can not contune to be ignored.

Anonymous said...

Excellent Article!!! I live in Miami, Florida, where the Hispanic community is very racist. However, they continually deny it. Many of you complaining about the article need to open your eyes and read it again. Many Hispanics in Miami have blatantly said, they will never vote for that negrito and don't trust him. Many black Hispanics refuse to admit that they are black, instead they say, I'm not black, I'm Hispanic. What the hell is that? Their are an overwhelming number of studies and articles talking about the racism in the Latin American community. CNN did a story earlier this year about the Latin community discriminating against Blacks to fit in to White Society. LATINOS/HISPANICS OPEN YOUR EYES AND REALIZE THAT YOU ARE RACIST AND IT NEEDS TO STOP!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Serena, I dont like Obama because of his left wing politics.You may consider the fact that many of us came from oppresive,corrupt goverments.The majority of immigrants flew their land because of lack of freedom and economic opportunity. MR. Obamas ideas about goverment being the solution to our problems is looked with suspicion among immigrants. Mr. Obama is not honest about many issues.It is a shame that we have to do research on websites and you tube to find out who this person really is.He will not get my vote even if he is a papi chulo.

Tameasha Burke said...

Great Topic! At least you have people voicing their opinions now and talking on this subject. I am black, and I agree we should not be called African Americans, whites are not called European Americans the only true Americans are the native Americans, and most blacks have a mixture of several nationalities, I don't believe that it is out of shame of our race, for some that may be the case but as times change the racial embarrassment will also. My father was native American and Irish my mother native American and I myself black I am proud of my culture, skin color, and I have lived abroad in Ireland with my relatives and very proud of them also. I will not disregard my entire heritage to satisfy someones stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Still surprised to see how many people focus on Obama being "black". When in fact there is little "black" about him except the fact that his father provided the seed that made him. Other than that, there is little "black" in him.

Anonymous said...

Our Race, ( The white race) is hated more than any race out there. They hated us back to when slavery was active. There was nothing wrong with slavery. It was legal all over the world. In parts of the world it is still legal today. Slavery went on as far as the bible time (even though i am one that is not religious). We free them on are own good will, then gave them rights. We had no reason to free them or give them rights. They were slaves and should of been sent back to there country. However, we allowed a bunch of people to stay in America that never belong here. They should be thanking us for what we did. If it was not up to us to free them, slavery will still be going on. The papers were never actualy sign to free them and when they did free them the idea was to ship them to island. Instead we breed them with every race to create more color and slaves. It was a stupid act to give rights to a race that we breed. It only made more of them. Did anyone think they would get us back for the slavery? What was more stupid is the fact that our presidents had sexual actions with the slaves, in which made there families mixed. The black race still act like we owe them something. At one time, if your family once own a slave that the black guy was family to, then he could sue you for money. Now they get a pay cheek from the government on Martin Luther King Day . The black people have been free over hundreds of years. It is time they get there act together. They want to hate us and treat us like crap for something that happen along time ago. There family whom went threw the slavery did not even care that they were slaves. They should be happy they were free and given rights. Women do not get upset at the fact that they had no rights at one time. White people killed and burned the Jewish people and they have not hold a grudge towards us. These black people want us to feel sorry for them and make everything out to be the white mans fault. The Browns, Mixed, and other colors are following the idea to hate us for slavery when they were not slaves. If a cop pulls the black guy over, he will call racism on it because he is black. (The Race Card) To me the cop is doing his job, seeing as when the black people get pulled over there either in a stolen car or have drugs. Then when they attack the cop, the cop is on the stand in court facing charges because of the black guy when he was just for doing his job. Does that seem right? They rob us, carjack us, and shoot at us. But, when a white police officer shoots a black gang member or beats up a black drug-dealer running from the law and posing a threat to society, you call him a racist! You say that whites commit a lot of violence against these other race, So why are the ghettos the most dangerous places to live?

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daniel said...

I am a Hispanic 4th generation living in this country. I have seen a lot of racism even indirect. When you apply for a job the 1st question is are you a hispanic/latino, and it is really emphasized. Vist this web link for example:
My point is this. My father was a Marine, my uncles Navy and Army... They risked their lives for a country they love. Now this country hates Hispanics. Shouldn't we give each other a fair non-judgmental chance? I graduated from Baylor with a RNBSN but with all the job openings I have not received a chance. My white friend got a lot of offers from the same jobs I applied for with less experience than me. I am happy for him but he even admitted that there is discrimination going on in the work force. I don't know what to think when people have hatred b/c of what God created us to be. I am proud of being a Hispanic and an American and I hope all of you will realize that we are all one group... humans. Please remember this next time you see someone who is different than you.

Anonymous said...

This is the world we live in if you don't like it jump off