Tag: Huffington Post

Bike Helmets?

As you know, this site is devoted to all things Hispanic. But occasionally, I change gears and write about topics that are only tangentially related to Latino culture.

That’s the case with my latest article for the Huffington Post. Basically, it’s all about how Generation X (of which I am a member) has been screwed over so many times that we impervious to life’s injustices. Oh, and I also say something about bike helmets too.

bike-helmet-child

Anyway, here it is.

 


The Critics Rave Again

For my last post of the year, I thought I would share some of my recent fan mail. In general, the people who comment on my articles here, or on the Huffington Post, are either supportive or respectfully disagree. But this is the internet, people. And as such, it is a motherlode of, shall we say, more spirited correspondence as well.

email

Recently, I have received emails telling me to go back to Mexico. My family is from El Salvador, actually, and I’ve been to Mexico just once (about thirty years ago, when I was a kid). But still, if those commentators are so insistent that I go, I am willing to accept their invitation, so long as they pay for the plane ticket to Cancun.

Also, I have been called a traitor to my race. I presume these comments are from my fellow Latinos who don’t like something I wrote, but because the offending passages are never referenced, I have no idea what constitutes the treasonous act. For all I know, it’s because I mentioned that I prefer Foo Fighters over Tito Puente, or admitted that I don’t like guacamole (“Treason!”)

But two commentators went above and beyond. First, there was Jose M., who I’m guessing was using an ironic screen name, because he informed me that “I’m outraged by the blatant bigotry and prejudice endemic within your race. My race is fed up with it.”

Jose M. went on to explain that “My race lives in peaceful communities where you can walk down the street at night without worry that some Latino racist thug is gonna jump out of the bushes and do what comes natural to Hispanics.” I’m not sure what comes natural to Hispanics. Perhaps he meant salsa dancing. In that case, I certainly understand that it would be alarming to be walking in your neighborhood — where crime is absolutely nonexistent — and have a Latino jump out of the bushes and start shaking to the beat. Yeah, pretty scary.

In any case, Jose M. reminded me that “illegal alien sex offenders, rapists, drug dealers, and murderers (mi rasa) are flooding this country,” and closed with a simple “Viva Caucasians! My Race!”

Then there was Pete G., who wrote to kindly inform me that “Hispanics are without a doubt the most exclusionary and racist bunch of bigots living on this planet.” To prove that he himself was neither a racist nor a bigot — nope, not him — Pete G. then pointed out that “Hispanics are running like hell from their own kind to live with Whites” because they are trying to “find a civilized culture.”

He then said I should “own up to the ​racist drivel you vomit,” and asked, “Why is America being overrun with Hispanic gringos?”

Of course, “Hispanic gringo” is contradictory, and I’m unaware of America being overrun by this mythical, oxymoronic animal. But maybe I missed the report on Fox News.

In any case, keep those comments and emails coming, and thanks for reading!

 


White Heat

The intersection of race and privilege is an ominous crossroads.

It pops up whenever a white person says something like, “People have made jokes about my Irish ancestry, and I never get offended. So what’s with all these Latinos getting upset about wetback jokes?”

If you’ve said something like this and fail to see the problem, I’m not sure I can help you. But let me just point out that the inability — indeed, the outright refusal — to see the world though anyone else’s eyes is a hallmark of privilege.

white-privilege

In America, the concept of privilege is closely related to race. White privilege is even its own catchphrase and subset of cultural angst.

Recently, my friend Hector Luis Alamo wrote a piece for Latino Rebels in which he stated that “resentment towards whites runs deep in Latino communities.” He went on to list the reasons for this resentment, including the fact that “Latinos in America aren’t granted nearly as many tools and opportunities as whites.”

This is all true, of course, but it doesn’t stop there.

Over at Huffington Post, César Vargas stated that white privilege seeps into the Latino community itself. He implied that Latinos who are lighter in skin (like me) receive benefits that darker-skinned Hispanics do not. Vargas wrote that the “Latino representation in the States seems to be a microcosm of the racial and social disparity in Latin America” and that “white Hispanics [are] ill-equipped to speak for the rest of us.”

About this time, we all start getting a bit uncomfortable with these ideas.

After all, we’re not talking about some Klan member shouting that whites are the master race. We’re referring to good, sincere white people — and even light-skinned Latinos — who enjoy an easier life by virtue of their skin tone, and who are repulsed at the very idea of bigotry.

But white privilege is a powerful and quite real thing. It sneaks up on its recipients in ways that they may not even recognize.

For example, many studies have shown that people are more likely to help individuals who resemble them. Ergo, whites in positions of power are more likely to mentor and guide their fellow whites, regardless of their actual talents or abilities.

And of course, if you’re a white cop who shoots an unarmed black kid under the most suspicious of circumstances, literally hundreds of thousands of people will rush to your defense. And they will most likely be white.

What does all this mean? Well, at the very least, it should mean that if you’ve benefitted from white privilege, give thanks for your lucky genes, and strive to make America a place where such randomness doesn’t prop up our entire social structure.

And if someone makes a joke about you being Irish, don’t think it lets you off the hook.

 


A Curveball

So this is a first. I’ve co-written a post.

Up to this point, every article under my name has been created, written, rewritten, agonized over, and ultimately put online via the Fanatic and no one else.

However, I had the opportunity to collaborate with the very talented Louis Pagan, and I didn’t want to pass it up. The result of our efforts can be found on the Huffington Post. Please click here to see the article.

And another thing: I realized that I never linked to my new profile on Being Latino magazine. So you can check that out as well by clicking here.

In any case, this collaboration thing is pretty cool. With hope, I’ll be working more with Louis and/or other writers soon.

Of course, that destroys my whole sullen-loner vibe, but we all have to make sacrifices.


Shout It Out Loud

So my old friends at the Huffington Post have started a new section — one that I will probably be contributing to on a regular basis.

It’s called LatinoVoices, and it debuted today. My first article for it can be found here.

When I started this website, just a few years ago, it seemed that the only outlets for writing about Hispanic culture were my blog, the sites of a few other Latino writers, and stray manifestos that angry Latinos would hurl onto your lawn.

But now we have our own section and everything. Latino voices are indeed getting louder every day.

So go ahead and check out HuffPo’s new section. And be sure to comment early and often.


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.


A Quick Clarification… Modification… Whatever

First off, let me thank Latino Evolution for the comment on my post “I Should Have Went Samurai…”

Second, as I may have mentioned – here on this blog, all over cyberspace, and in the street to passing strangers – the Fanatic is now on the Huffington Post.

Because I want to get my writing in order (ie, what ran on the site, what ran on Huffington, what can run on both of them, etc), I will be cutting back, very slightly, on new posts while I try to get everything in sync. This means that I’ll probably update this site twice a week instead of the three-plus posts I have been sending out. Otherwise, there are no major upheavals on the horizon.

I know this will provoke crying, wailing, and a great gnashing of teeth with those who demand thrice weekly posts. But despite your anguished pleas and vows that you can’t go on, I have hope that you will persevere.

Thanks again for all your support.


The Fanatic Sells Out!

The rumors are true. I can now be found at the Huffington Post.

I’m very pleased with this development, even though it has meant the revelation of my true identity, which until now has been shrouded in myth and legend. It turns out, however, that you can discover my real name and even see what I look like by clicking here to read my initial post for Huffington. And so one more secret internet alias is rendered obsolete – alas.

The first post for Huffington is a reprint of my original post for this blog, but it’s just as relevant as it was all those many eons past (ok, three months ago) that I wrote it.

Check it out and give me a Buzz Up vote (which increases the likelihood that the editors will continue to ask me to contribute) and sign up to get email alerts or become a fan… it’s a very odd thing, I just realized, to ask people to become your fan, but that’s what blogging has reduced me to.

Also, as much as I appreciate your comments on this site, I would appreciate it even more if you respond to the Huffington pieces. My hope is that you’ll overwhelm the site with so much praise that the Huffington servers crash, and the editors shake their fists in rage while screaming, “Damn you, Hispanic Fanatic!”

I think we can all agree that this would be a pretty cool scenario.

Short of that, just check out the Huffington Post. I’ll still maintain this site, but I’ll give the editors first crack at new stuff.

By the way, I can also be found at TC Daily. So there’s lots of ways to find out who’ve I’ve pissed off recently.

Thanks in advance for your support.


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