Friends, my latest commentary for NPR's "All Things Considered" ran today. It addresses the question of whether "Latino" "tensions" and "unease" with "blacks" will prevent "Latinos" from voting for "the black candidate," Barack Obama, in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary season. Please listen here.
A bunch of those terms up there are in quotes because, damnit, the more I listen to the mainstream press in this campaign, the less I become sure that I am a breathing person created by the particular astral forces in play at the moment of my birth, my upbringing, and whatever free choices I've made as a sentient adult. Instead, if you listen to the papers, I'm being led to believe that because I'm Mexican American I am just a replicant, an amalgamation of whatever polls, statistics, and assumed truths that reporters, politicians, pundits, and fat-cat non-profit gurus digest and re-ingest as modern gospel.
Right now the ridiculous and dangerous "conventional wisdom" being fomented by the press is that Latinos won't vote for Obama because he has dark skin (In sentence form, doesn't that idea sound just absolutely absurd?). NPR reporter Mandalit del Barco tackled this subject a few days ago and found some interesting analysis. See also the well-supported writing of Gregory Rodriguez and Roberto Lovato for more.
In my perspective, I don't propose a blind denial of race or its force in American life. What I've been trying to express is an exasperation with the amount of undue consequence we give to an ephemeral boogey-man that has already been proven, time and again, to be a flawed concept. In other words, I'm from the United States. In the country that I know, people who are committed to its principles know deep down that by now everyone is everything. What we do once we get past that baseline is the only thing that matters.
* Pictured above, Tai from Asian Americans for Obama.