Navani Knows: The Latino Vote

Who are Latinos voting for this election?? That seems to be the question of the hour. I mean both Democrats and Republicans are desperately trying to sway us because of our growing numbers. We do make the difference this year. So who will have us in their back pocket? Que se yo! There is no easy answer to that.

The problem is politicians like to group people of color in one neat little box. It makes their lives easier. But that isn’t very accurate. What I do know about Latinos is that we all do NOT fit into one box, nor do we care to! That’s the sorpresa we have for both Washington and advertisers alike. Anyone trying to market to us has their work cut out for them. People like to assume things about us too often. For instance, they assume we gather all our info in Spanish, so they spend all their time and money pushing out messages in Spanish, yet 70 percent of take in our information in English! Whoopsie Daisy.

When it comes to politics we are just as scattered. While many assume that we are full-fledged democrats with immigration at the top of our list or worries, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Many of us are republicans who are concerned about our tax breaks, others democrats that worry about healthcare. How about all of us are worrying about the economy right about now! But it goes even deeper than that, just because we check off a box on our ballot, doesn’t mean we want to be labeled that either. We just don’t like to be categorized in ANY way. I know many Latino republicans who are not voting republican this year, a ha. There just are no rules to the game of being Latino and maybe that is what McCain and Obama need to learn.  Stop using research reports dated from 2006 as your guide because we have changed drastically since that time!

I Think Rosario Dawson said it best when she spoke at “The 2008 Latino Vote: Challenges, Opportunities, and Influence” panel this week:

Latinos think of themselves as Americans. They don’t want to be excluded from the American dream in any way. Therefore, American issues need to be the ones to triumph in this election, not politics. The population of this country should be represented in the politics….  The “Latino mainstream” is never going to be summed up on one block. We don’t fit into any box. Our issues change as we evolve.

That’s right Washington, we actually think like “Americans,” what a concept! See you at the polls…

Navani Knows Tacky Journalism

So I woke up this morning to watch the news and get the weather forecast for the day and was greeted with this image:

Now, I am not sure if I am just more sensitive while wiping the cold out of my eye or what, but I was immediately outraged. As you see the cover is depicting Obama as a Flag burning Muslim, knocking knuckles with his seemingly militant Angela Davis styled wife. While the New Yorker is well known for its satire, I think this cover crosses the line.

Ironically enough, this is one topic both Obama and John McCain’s campaign parties can agree on – they too feel it is inappropriate.

Obama spokesperson Bill Burton commented: “The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”

The McCain campaign immediately e-mailed a similar statement from Tucker Bounds saying:We completely agree with the Obama campaign, it’s tasteless and offensive.”

The press release for the New Yorker said this about the July 21st cover:

“On the cover of the July 21, 2008, issue of The New Yorker, in ‘The Politics of Fear,’ artist Barry Blitt satirizes the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the presidential election to derail Barack Obama’s campaign.”

I completely understand that the New Yorker is a smart, witty publication known for its satire, but the problem arises when people don’t understand the intended message. That is what I fear will happen here when anyone outside of the Upper West Side, or New York City for that matter, picks up the issue. Many will not get it, especially since there is no caption outlining the fact that this is a joke based on collecting every distorted cliché rumor about Obama to make fun of them all. I sure didn’t. Maybe that’s because I am an Obama supporter, and simply don’t care to see these clichés in any form, which I think many other supporters will say too. And those who oppose him will just use this for non-humorous purposes and throw it way out of context.

In the end, a funny joke delivered poorly is just a bad joke. The same goes for cover art.