Latinos Not as Unified as Believed

LatinaLista — The common complaint that has always existed within the Latino community is how people afuera (outside) the community think we are all the same.

Just as advertisers and the media are finally getting the message that Latinos are not a monolithic group (Spanish, Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, etc.), we are back at square one trying to get the word out that just because we share roots in a culture that speaks Spanish, we definitely don’t think the same.

Yet, probably evolving from political reasons, when it comes to issues, it is much easier to appear there is Latino strength and clout if the perception is fostered that we are all of the same mind on issues and/or political candidates.

The reality is that Latinos are individuals who don’t cater to political party lines. In fact, one researcher has dubbed Latinos the Purple Voters.

In a University of Central Florida political scientistÂ’s survey, he found something that has been common knowledge all along – Latinos vote for the issues, not the party.

The survey found that Latino voters are most concerned with the war in Iraq and the economy. The same as for non-Hispanic white voters.

The survey found that neither group was particularly concerned with immigration or morals as significant issues.

That kernel of news may surprise everyone who assumes that immigration is the main issue driving Latinos to vote in this election.

However, it’s the “line in the sand” so to speak that illustrates there are two camps of Latinos in the United States – the legal and the undocumented.

Of course, among legal Hispanics are those who are sympathetic to the undocumented. But there are some who share the Republican view that the undocumented have no right to demand rights.

This group got fed up being lumped together with undocumented Latinos and sympathetic Latinos and wanted their voice heard.

So, in May 2006, they formed the group You Don’t Speak for Me. Word now comes that they are forming their first local chapter in San Diego.

According to their press release, the group is joining with the San Diego Minutemen, among others, in showing their opposition to the undocumented.

A curious thing is that the co-founder of the group and the president of the new chapter in San Diego, Claudia Spencer, is herself a naturalized citizen from Mexico.

A quick Google search on her background reveals that she pretty much detests Mexico and its people, and has embraced the United States wholeheartedly to the point where she implies that racism exists in people’s imagination because she never once experienced it.

But as we all know, everyone has their own universe and just because one person doesn’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist for others.

How ironic that this group, so intent on declaring that those Hispanics and undocumented don’t “speak” for them, are doing the same thing that they claim to be fighting against.

By saying that discrimination and racism don’t exist, Spencer and her group are trying to speak for all Latinos as well.

No wonder everyone outside the Latino community has such a hard time realizing that not all Latinos are the same – when there are still some Latinos who confuse personal experience as being representative of the greater community.

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