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…