June 9, 2016

How latinos are hurt by just talking about blacks and whites

The Review has argued for years that race is a racist concept not created by science but out of prejudice and so we try to use the term ethnic where possible. Nearly totally lost in discussions on the topic is how over-simplifying race actually works against a better functioning society because the more complex we see things, the less likely we are to rely on cliches. And as this article notes, one of the victims of oversimplification is latino culture. 

Creative Time Report 

Roberto Lovato - The black-white binary keeps Latino voices out of public discourse and erases important stories from our history—and it’s time to move on.

Black Lives Matters mobilizations in the United States include brown bodies, brown bodies marching, brown bodies protesting and brown bodies bearing witness. This solidarity makes sense, especially as blacks and Latinos in the United States also have a shared past—from the mid-1800s through the 1920s, mobs in the West and Southwest murdered thousands of Mexicans, many of whom were hung from the same trees as African-Americans. And today Latinos often live in the same neighborhoods as black people....

And yet at a national level the black-white binary—the widespread idea that race relations in the United States involve only these two groups—reduces the country’s 55 million Latinos to nonentities, left out of national conversations about anything except immigration and the frenzied pursuit of the “Hispanic vote.” Little national attention is paid to police shootings of unarmed Latinos, even though police in the United States kill Latinos at a higher rate than they kill whites—and the tallies are growing....

The problem of unacknowledged police violence and the deaths of brown bodies is only the most immediate and violent effect of the black-white binary. Latino lives do not register in most of the nation’s majority institutions—including the media, which systematically erase Latinos from both Saturday Night Live and the Sunday political shows; philanthropic entities, which allocate about 1 percent of their collective giving to Latino organizations; and major literary prizes can’t seem to see Latino literary brilliance west of the Appalachians.

By focusing on Latinos only in the context of immigration, the media reinforce the deeply held notion that Latinos are foreign and hostile.


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