Tuesday, September 25, 2012

the latin vote and cafe con LALSA

Yesterday, at Law School, the LALSA (Latin American Law Students Association) held Cafe con LALSA, an opportunity to speak Spanish and talk practice your language skills. I went, even though I know I can't speak Spanish--but I try, and I can understand most of what's being said.

It was awesome! Besides being around a tongue that makes me feel at home, and making me feel nostalgic for the sound of a rolled R, it made me reconsider what it means to be "Latino".

There were at least three people in the room who grew up in South America, but who looked "white"--blonde hair, blue eyes and freckles. Were they not at a LALSA meeting, no one would guess walking down the street they were Latinos.  There were Ecuadorians, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Guatemalans.

I kept thinking about the election and how the "Latin vote" is considered important. And, while I've said it before, I'll say it again--there's no monolithic voting bloc of any race--but it's especially silly to lump together all Latinos as a "bloc". An evangelical Ecuadorian has far less in common with a North-Texas Mexicana than he does with a "values voter" from Colorado Springs. It seems to me the first party to really address us by the demographics within our ethnicity will be the first to gain a large benefit. But, to talk of winning us en masse is to misunderstand us to their detriment.


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