Tag: demonization

Help Is (Not) on the Way

I’ve never been in therapy. I don’t say this as a boast, just as a simple acknowledgement of luck.

You see, I’m fortunate in that I’ve haven’t been afflicted with depression or addiction or any of the myriad issues that arise when brain chemicals go all kabloowy. Nor have any of my personal traumas been so severe that I had to address the PTSD of it all.

But as we all know, many people aren’t so lucky. It’s estimated that around one in five Americans suffers from mental illness at some point in their lives.

And now comes news that for Latino youth, the numbers are on the rise. A recent study showed that “an alarming rise in the psychiatric hospitalizations of Latino children and young adults in California, even compared to the youth of other ethnicities.”

Between 2007 and 2014, the rate of mental health hospitalizations of young Latinos (age 21 and younger) jumped 86 percent.

upward-graph

Why is this?

Well, researchers believe that “a number of social issues play a part in the trend, including the recession, separation and disintegration of families, and the trauma of escaping the violence in their home countries.”

In addition, a “lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate psychiatric services available” means that young Hispanics often don’t get help addressing their festering problems, with the result that they eventually blossom into full-fledged crises that require hospitalization.

Also, one has to wonder if being constantly demonized gets under the skin of young Latinos. But this very fact — that so much of America despises Hispanics — provides another reason why this issue is unlikely to get better any time soon.

It’s a vicious, and rather sick, circle.


Wishing and Waiting

I’ve edited over 100 books, from thriller novels to dense histories to self-help diatribes. Only a few of those books have lodged in my memory.

Among them was a manual written by a prepper. If you don’t know this term, it refers to someone who makes active plans to survive a catastrophic disaster, typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies, and/or by creating some kind of well-protected shelter.

Preppers anticipate calamities ranging from a worldwide economic collapse to a military coup d’état to a Katrina-style cataclysm to, well, just about anything big and scary.

The book was well-written, and the author was intelligent and polite. And even if I found his worldview to be a bit, shall we say, paranoid, it would be incorrect to write him and his peers off as lunatics.

After all, if there’s ever an extinction-level asteroid impact or a zombie attack, then preppers will have the last laugh.

 

o-ASTEROID-IMPACT-facebook

But what struck me about the author’s mindset wasn’t his fear-based attention to detail and insistence that sooner or later, all the shit will hit all the fans.

No, it was my realization that at a certain point, he was no longer preparing for a worst-case disaster. He was actively hoping for it.

You see, if his doomsday predictions never materialize, he has wasted a great deal of time, money, and effort for absolutely nothing. Indeed, he will have squandered a solid chunk of his life, while pinning his very self-identity on nonsense.

So a lot of preppers aren’t just waiting for end times. They are counting on catastrophe to justify their life’s work, even if this wish is subconscious.

How does this relate to the current political climate?

Well, look no further than the renewed demonization of immigrants and, by extension, all Latinos.

We have major political candidates (who shall not be named) who imply hordes of Hispanics are swarming into this country for the express purpose of raping and murdering Americans — that is, when they’re not pumping out “anchor babies” and stealing jobs.

Of course, fear-based campaigning — especially among conservatives — has a long and effective history.

 

And it’s tempting to dismiss GOP shrieking as a side effect of the party’s reliance on religious fervor and apocalyptic thinking. Keep in mind that about 20 percent of Republicans honestly believe that Obama is the antichrist.

But while building upon those ignoble foundations, this new conservative mindset amounts to something else.

You see, those on the right wing who despise Latinos (and there are many) aren’t just motivated by personal gain. They are true believers, who sincerely think America is doomed if Hispanics continue to increase their political, cultural, and demographic influence. To this contingent, the “browning” of America is the beginning of its end.

 

But what if this never happens? What if recent Latino immigrants become an integral and beneficial part of American society, just as so many other immigrant classes have?

 

In that case, a lot of conservative leaders have wasted a great deal of energy on nothing. Their predictions have failed to come true. And all that screaming and ranting and raving added up to nada.

Nobody wants to see his or her life’s work rendered irrelevant, or worse, dismissed as histrionic, wrong-headed idiocy.

To prevent that, many conservatives have morphed into extreme preppers, warning everyone of the coming Armageddon, while secretly hoping that it will arrive right on time to prove them correct.

The good news for right-wing preppers is that they have an inexplicable degree of influence in this country. So instead of working to prevent the coming apocalypse, they can help to usher it in, via self-fulfilling prophecies and overt policy decisions.

For example, Latinos have lower graduation rates than other ethnicities, so rather than improve public education, right-wing preppers try to gut it.

 

Hispanics have higher rates of poverty, so rather than balance the playing field, right-wing preppers reinforce an economic system that is rigged for the upper classes.

 

Latinos have limited socioeconomic power, so rather then look at institutional barriers, right-wing preppers deny that racism even exists.

Yes, there’s lots of ways to ensure that we get the America that some conservatives envision — the future that they supposedly fear but are weirdly attracted to at the same time.

Fortunately for me, I’ve made back-up plans. You see, I’ve recently built this secret bunker stocked with guns and water, and when the time comes…

Never mind, I’ve said too much.


Parallel Lines

I have not written about the Ferguson situation to this point. It’s not because I am indifferent. It’s because I didn’t think I had much to add on the topic.

ferguson_day_6_picture_44

I mean, so many people have addressed the black-white racial divide, our flawed justice system, the increasing militarization of the police, the obliviousness of white conservatives regarding racial injustice, and the fact that an unarmed minority teenager is more likely to be demonized than a white teen who actually murders people.

That covers a lot of ground.

So let me just point out what few people have mentioned, which is that Latino teens have more in common with Michael Brown than a lot of Hispanic parents would like to admit.

You see, “the deaths of Hispanics at the hands of law enforcement officers literally stretch across the country — from California to Oklahoma to New York City.”

Yes, a majority of Latinos agree “that Brown’s killing raised important racial issues, [but] only 18% of Latinos said that they were following the Ferguson news closely.”

Perhaps Hispanics just find the parallels too disturbing to think about. Or maybe Latinos are exhausted from fighting for basic rights all the time, and want to let our African American brethren handle this issue, under the assumption that it’s more of their problem anyway.

But of course, it’s everyone’s problem.

As we all know, “being Latino in some places is enough to be pulled over under the guise of a minor traffic stop and be asked to prove American citizenship.”

And that should be enough — along with the appeal of basic human decency — to pay more attention to the turmoil in Missouri.


A Fair Question

Like all Americans, nothing makes me happier than arguing about emotionally loaded, extremely volatile political issues that have no clear solutions. Yes, that’s why I write about immigration so much.

However, I now realized that I haven’t been fair. I’ve simply assumed that racism — directed toward Latinos — is a primary motivating factor in the debate. But is this true?

To continue reading this post, please click here.


Postmortem

Once again, thanks to Ankhesen Mie for her always insightful comments. Building off that last post, and reneging on my claim that I would not go further into the results of last week’s midterm elections, I have to add one small snowball to the avalanche of analysis that is still cascading down the internet.

As I wrote previously, the GOP gambled that by firing up their base, they would be the big winners on November 2. One of the ways they did this was by appealing to the fears of older white voters. As Speaker Boehner can tell you, this strategy worked.

However, my pals at the Huffington Post have pointed out something that I also noticed. The GOP approach may have backfired more than celebrating Republicans would care to admit.

This is because, despite their success at reclaiming the House, “their hopes of controlling the Senate as well were stymied by a firewall of Latino voters who were outraged by Republican demonization of Latino immigrants.”

Yes, although Republicans coasted to victory nationwide, some of the most virulent conservatives in Senate races failed to capitalize. For example, in Nevada, Sharron Angle — a woman who never saw a race-baiting ad she didn’t like — lost to the embattled Harry Reid. His margin of victory can be attributed to the fact that he earned “a whopping 90 percent” of the Hispanic vote, which “was up from 12 percent of the electorate in the 2006 midterms to 15 percent in 2010.”

Similarly, in Colorado, Illinois, and my current home state of California, Latinos were the difference in high-profile Senate and governor races. It appears, therefore, that more than a few Hispanics were mobilized to vote against politicians they saw as actively hostile to them.

Again, I’m not saying that all Republicans are racists. But it’s clear that Hispanics heard the rhetoric that conservatives employed in this election and didn’t see it “as a difference about a policy or issue. It directly offended the Latino community’s sense of identity, pride and self-worth.”

Now, it’s true that many Latino Republicans won elections last week, a sign that at least some Hispanics are OK with the GOP label. However, it’s also true that in eight key states, “Latinos overall voted for Democrats over Republicans by approximately 75 percent to 25 percent — a 3 to 1 margin.”

In sum, the short-term benefits for Republicans may not have been worth it. This is because Hispanics (and you know this fact already) are the nation’s fastest-growing demographic, and “as the Latino population continues to grow, it will rapidly become impossible to put together an electoral majority … with that kind of Hispanic opposition.”

Of course, Republicans aren’t so dumb or oblivious that they haven’t noticed this development. Their hope, of course, is that by the time the next election comes around, Hispanics will have forgotten that much of the GOP message this time was based on lambasting Latinos. Party leaders are assuming that Hispanics will lapse into amnesia when casting their votes.

This is not crazy. After all, it’s apparently what happened to everyone else in the country last Tuesday.


  • Barrio Imbroglio (An Abraxas Hernandez Mystery Book 1)
  • Calendar

    September 2017
    M T W T F S S
    « Aug    
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    252627282930  
  • Share this Blog

    Bookmark and Share
  • Copyright © 1996-2010 Hispanic Fanatic. All rights reserved.
    Theme by ACM | Powered by WordPress