In the 1960s, Jesse Jackson made the widely accepted term of “colored people” as a pejorative. Instead anyone who looked remotely Negro — or had a smidgeon of sub-Saharan African ancestry in their past were to be henceforth known as African Americans – even those whose ancestors were brought to the Caribbean two to four hundred years ago, like my Jamaican daughter.
In terms of most immigrants from around the world, we call them Irish Americans or Chinese Americans. But our political culture does not recognize Liberian Americans or Nigerian Americans. We do not commonly use descriptions such as Haitian Americans or Jamaican Americans.
Joe Biden got a backlash for saying that Hispanics are very diverse – intimating that Blacks are not. He was right. For political purposes, we deal with Black Americans as if they are one huge monolithic group with one common set of political interests. Thanks to Jackson, we have – for all intents and (political) purposes – erased all the national, ethnic and cultural differences – and even diversity of opinion.
This was also done – to a lesser degree — to the highly diversified cultures that span the Spanish-speaking world. No more Mexican Americans or Peruvian Americans. Only Hispanics or Latinos – or even worse, that gender cancelling term Latinx. (I wonder why we do not yet have Blackx. Ooops! I should not have suggested the term.)
In recent years, those proffering the divisive and idiotic political correctness concepts have further crushed ethnic diversity into two humongous interest groups. White folk and people-of-color – embracing every one who is not white.
The Spanish-speaking community presents a unique problem. To the politically (in)correct, if you hail from a Latin nation, you are automatically a person of color even though most Spanish-speaking people are considered to be white – or at least not Black. In fact, the U.S. Census recognizes a special category for “non-white” Hispanics – those who descended from African slaves. Even after 10 generations of living in the Americas, however, the left still sees those folks as African Americans.
Having had many years of intimate interaction with the Spanish-speaking communities in America, I can say with confidence that a LOT of them hate the terms Hispanic and Latino. They want to be known as Mexican Americans or Puerto Americans (who are actually real Americans by virtue of citizenship) – or just plain Americans.
It was widely reported that Trump did much better with the Hispanic communities than his Republican predecessors, but none of the media analysts touched upon what might be the real reason. It just may be that they do not consider themselves as an amorphous group within a larger amorphous group. And even worse, the left seems to view the African American subculture to be the politically dominant.
Despite the fact that the Spanish-speaking communities represent the largest minority group in America – 26 percent of the population compared to 13 percent Black — their presence and interests are arguably subordinated to the black African community. Within the Democratic Party and the liberal media, black African personalities and issues dominate. We see that in the platforms being provided to Blacks by such networks as CNN and MSNBC – with Black personalities holding many of the high viewership slots on the daily schedule – folks like Don Lemon, Joy Reid and Al Sharpton.
The number of black African contributors, panelists and guests tend to outnumber Spanish-speaking individuals. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that those individuals myopically dwell on African black issues – whereas Latino media personality are seen in general reporting roles.
The Spanish-speaking communities – like many Asian ethnic groups – do not see themselves or their issues as being synonymous with the African American policy agenda. In many ways, they feel more like unconsidered distant cousins in the newly assembled people-of-color family.
This undercurrent manifested itself in examples of Latino opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement, and especially Black Lives Matter, Inc. –the controversial formal corporate structure behind the movement.
In many ways, the Black and Spanish-speaking communities are not philosophically or politically compatible. Hispanics tend to be more conservative. More overtly patriotic. Less dependent on government largess. Stronger family units. Less likely to see Caucasians – as a group – the enemy of their interests.
I would appear that those with Hispanic American ancestry increasingly see the Republican Party as the best political vehicle to represent their perspectives and interests. That could be the disassembling backlash against the left’s concept of social, cultural and political homogenization known as people-of-color. We can only hope.
So, there ‘tis.