|Most American’s and certainly all GOP candidates don’t seem to have a clear understanding of who comprises the growing Hispanic population.|
My parents were obviously products of an earlier prejudiced era. On one hand, they insisted I study Spanish in high school because they believed way back in the 1960’s that eventually the whole country was going to be over-taken by Spanish-speaking peoples. In the same breath as they listened to their ‘West Side Story’ 33 1/3 LP (a collaboration by Bernstein and Sondheim – both Jews) cautioning me that Hispanic people were knife-wielding spitfires who would pick my pocket as fast as they could slit my throat.
To my knowledge my parents had never met any Hispanics during that period of our lives in the 1960’s – nevertheless I was told to be cautious of all Puerto Ricans. When my parents settled for a while in Florida, all the nice neighbors who helped them-out doing neighborly things like carrying-in groceries or dusting them off after a senior trip ‘n fall – were Hispanics who displayed no discernible danger signs. Mom and dad’s original preconceptions had to be reassessed.
When I went off to college I finally met Hispanics on my own. Not only did I find them to be an attractive and stylish people, but nary a one of them carried a switchblade. Perhaps because I, myself am a member of a stereotyped minority, I’ve always been suspicious of hand-me-down opinions where prejudice is concerned.
I’m disgusted by talk of electrified fences with alligator moats, and Hispanic people being profiled to a point where even legal Hispanic citizens are leery of sending their children to school for fear of harassment or deportations of distant family members. This nation has got to grow-up, and live-up to our own forefather’s commitments to ”Liberty and justice for all.” We are a nation comprised of immigrants and ancestors thereof. There’s a nice little piece engraved at the base of the Statue of Liberty that can help clear-up this matter for all doubters.
I remember back after the 911 attacks, dimwitted rednecks harassed and beat-up a Hindu man running his own gas station because one person wearing a cloth-wrap on his head was interchangeable with another in the eyes of the ignorant. The same dynamic is at play now with regard to American Hispanics who can come from a variety of places – Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, South America. The typical slack-jawed American flag-waver doesn’t pick-up on the subtleties of national or regional origin and how that does not automatically condemn a person as being “bad” or “threatening.” It does us no good to demonize any group, be they black, white, Muslim, Hispanic or come-what-may. I am a gay man, and in simple terms the rainbow flag represents the gay-bond that transcends all colors crossing every racial, ethnic and religious boundary – we’re all gay women and men. And yes, there ARE gay Muslims and I’ve met them.
Maybe my attitude about Hispanics was formed because the first ones I met (and dated) while first out living on my own were gay men – which immediately meant they were tall, dark and handsome with great style and passion. While the GOP is busy focusing-in on who or what group to demonize next, perhaps they should have a little chat with their own semi-ostracized ‘Log Cabin Queens’ and notice how race, color and creed are far less of a barrier among people when they’re united with common purpose.