Black <> Brown

Back in the 70’s and 80’s, street hustlers like Jesse Jackson and then Al Sharpton would claim to speak for all non-whites. Hispanics have never considered themselves “black” and they don’t seek to join hands with blacks in political matters. In the 90’s and 2000’s that became even more clear, but black leaders held onto the fantasy. I’m not sure why, maybe it is just comforting in some way. Charlie Rangel certainly knows this is nonsense, but it lingers on for some reason. The NY Times has a story on the coming election which has more magical thinking.

The confidential memo from a former pollster for President Obama contained a blunt warning for Democrats. Written this month with an eye toward Election Day, it predicted “crushing Democratic losses across the country” if the party did not do more to get black voters to the polls.

“African-American surge voters came out in force in 2008 and 2012, but they are not well positioned to do so again in 2014,” Cornell Belcher, the pollster, wrote in the memo, dated Oct. 1. “In fact, over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.”

Mr. Belcher’s assessment points to an urgent imperative for Democrats: To keep Republicans from taking control of the Senate, as many are predicting, they need black voters in at least four key states. Yet the one politician guaranteed to generate enthusiasm among African Americans is the same man many Democratic candidates want to avoid: Mr. Obama.

Now, Democrats are deploying other prominent black elected officials and other surrogates, buttressed by sophisticated voter targeting efforts, to stoke black turnout. At the White House, the president is waging an under-the-radar campaign, recording video advertisements, radio interviews and telephone calls specifically targeting his loyal African-American base.

“Anybody who looks at the data realizes that if the black vote, and the brown vote, doesn’t turn out, we can’t win. It’s just that simple,” said Representative Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, referring to African-American and Latino voters. “If we don’t turn out, we cannot hold the Senate.”

One of the dirty little secrets that no one wants to admit is Hispanics are not particularly fond of blacks. They don’t look at Ms. Fudge as anything other than a voice of American blacks. Further, there’s no such thing as Hispanic. Puerto Ricans don’t like Dominicans or Mexicans. Central Americans don’t identify with Mexicans. Brazilians and South Americans don’t buy into the whole brown business at all. A century ago WASP’s saw all Catholics as the same. Italians were even counted as black, along with Jews. My mid-century it was fairly obvious that Italians were not Irish and both were leaving the ghetto and joining the WASP society of middle-class America.

That’s likely the path for most Hispanics. Cubans have done that in Miami. Mexicans will be a mixed bag as Mexico is a mixed culture. Central Americans are a tougher call, but we seem to be getting the more hardy and adventurous ones. I’m not saying they are natural conservatives or any of that nonsense. It’s just that brown ain’t black. Hispanics will splinter into the class structure of America, while blacks seem destined to remain in the Liberal Democratic ghetto.




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el baboso
6 years ago

Most Latinos self-identify as “white” in the Census. Most of my Mexican friends (I grew up in So Cal) whose ancestors came here before the borders were opened, are pretty darn conservative. At one point I worked with all of the female (they are all female, BTW), Mexican Congress People from So Cal. They are all Labor Democrats with strong union backing… the new Irish as you point out. If like the Irish after WWII, we could just get them to value education as much as they value working with their hands, they’ll do OK.

6 years ago

One variable with Hispanics is the evangelicals. There are a lot of Pentecostal and Charismatic Hispanic Christians who don’t buy into the liberal death culture. I think the same is starting to trend upward with blacks.
The old black Church folks identify with the Civil Rights movement but there are younger black Christians who are more Biblically and family oriented.