Republican Party, Lisa Garcia Bedoya, Muleshoe discussed on It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders


A minute from NPR. I'm Sam Sanders. This election, Latinos are the second biggest black of voters. If you consider them one big block. The Latino community is extremely diverse, and that makes political outreach Latino voters kind of tricky. Assume well. Latinos all think like me, and I may. We're conservative, pro life. You know, we're Catholic, but that's not the case it off. We're a pretty despairing group that is Victor Lee out from Muleshoe, Texas. He's Republican. He was even mayor of Muleshoe at one point And he has done a lot of outreach to Latino voters for the Republican Party. Victor said that diversity of opinion makes it really hard for anyone to get Latino political outreach for all Latinos, right And he says right now the type of Latino outreach he's seen from both parties. It's pretty bad. They've just dismissed us. You know they've dismissed by and large the Hispanic community. I think what's been egregious is that we've essentially big been ignored. So why does it seem that no one when it comes to talking to Latinos? Gets it right. To get some answers. I called up somebody who studies Latino politics for a living. Lisa Garcia Bedoya, She's a professor and vice provost for graduate studies at UC Berkeley. And she wrote a book that is pretty on point for this conversation. It is called Latino politics. Lisa told me that word Latino. It can mean a lot of different things. So Lisa, I want to start by talking about a recent news event. That reveals a lot about the way politicians successfully and unsuccessfully try to appeal to Latino voters. Talking about the whole Supreme Court nomination process. Before Amy Cockney Barrett was selected by President Trump. There was talk that he might appoint Barbara Lagoa. A Cuban American judge and the thinking from the Republican Party Wass. Well, this might help him get Latino votes. You wrote an entire news. We got bad that said probably it won't and also this kind of thinking. It's kind of offensive. Explain. Well at its core is this idea that if I'm a Latina, and I should say for full disclosure, I'm a Cuban American Latina, so theoretically the type of person that would be most excited about such a nomination. That somehow this woman's ethnic national origin racial identity would trump any policy preferences or policy concerns that I have So the idea that if I disagreed with the president on health care, on education or on his immigration policy that somehow all of that would disappear simply because this woman happens to be a co ethnic A member of my community, and that presumes a level of flatness, right and sort of non content. Tino political attitudes. That is reductive in ways that I think are really problematic that essentially, it's just about your race, and you're not going to think about anything else beyond that. And no one actually votes that way. Not even white. People know, you know it doesn't happen that way. You use a phrase that I love in your op Ed. You call it mariachi politics years ago, we used to call a Hispanic ring. But it's the same kind of idea. What does it mean The idea and I should say Democrats and Republicans have done this now for decades that you're gonna have a rally and you're going to have money at you, man and that that's somehow going to tell Latino voters that you are on their side and that you understand them. It again without any actual content right so that if I hear this song or decent, different numbers, you know he played at the Republican convention when George W. Was on the ballot that somehow that's going to make me ignore what you're actually standing for. You know from from a policy standpoint about education, or about jobs or anything like that, And so it's this. It's this idea that somehow symbolic outreach is all we want. And my first Abba Hannah, who teaches us and UC San Diego Wrote a great book on this, and she showed that Spanish language ads actually have less policy content from all candidates. English language ads right, So this idea that somehow all we care about is that you speak to me in Spanish. I don't actually care about the content of what you're saying and again. It's it's insulting, right and it's It's really reducing us to, you know, tacos and mariachi bands and not Really policy. Yeah, You know, it's it's It's good to hear you say that both sides do this. I will never forget Last campaign cycle when Hillary Clinton had a whole day where she was talking about How she's just like your abuela and everyone was like No man. No, man, We're not doing this exactly. I'll do it. Yes, yes, They all do it. And again. It really is about this idea that We're all the same to write, because not all of us listen to mariachi music. Not all of us Speak Spanish. So there's that layer of it to that. Not just that all we care about his culture, but that we all have the same culture and most Latinos in the US are English first, right? Correct? Yes. And so you know, this gets to another big point that she made in your op ed. And in all of your research and writing, you know when we talk about the quote unquote Latino community or outreach to that community. It's not just one community. It is dozens, if not hundreds of different communities. And you list some of the things that really draw distinctions within this large group in the op Ed. You call them multiple axes of diversity. I like that. What are some of those big dividing lines? Thank you. Well, the first big one is national origin. While it is true that about 60% of Latinos, United States are of Mexican origin, even among Mexicans, depending on which part of Mexico you from that makes a big difference. But the north of the South And then you also have generation. There's some people have been here since the border moved right, and there's some people who just got here last year, and there's everything in between. And then there's Nativity Summer citizens. Some are not citizens. And then there's geography, which is really important that even people of the same national origin depending on where they moved to, they have a very different set of life experiences. One concrete example is ifyou're Puerto Rican, and you ended up in Chicago. Versus Ifyou're Puerto Rican, and you ended up in New York very different relationships of the community's very different history of political engagement. And so even within the same national origin, you have significant differences, depending on where people land how long they've been here and what the opportunity structures are in the place where they landed. Yeah, well, then also one of the things that I find really fast And when we talk about like the Latino community, I think the American assumption is at all Latinos are Brown. But there are white Latinos and there are black Latinos and they're Latinos who speak English and some who speaks Spanish and some of those big Portuguese. Why do you think America is so hell bent on reducing such a diverse group of people to one group? What's that about? Yeah, I think the first thing is to just remember that Latin America Is a product of colonialism, right?.

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