"Podemos Con Obama": the US Latino and Barack H. Obama

Though you have likely seen the viral pro-Obama "Yes We Can" video produced by will.i.am (of Black Eyed Peas fame), perhaps you have not yet watched "Podemos Con Obama." Produced by Andres Levin, one of will.i.am's collaborators, it brings together a wide array of Latin musicians to rally the US Latino community to Obama.

Um. Though I could be wrong, I don't think all these artists are actually eligible to vote in the United States (read: I think Paulina Rubio is a citizen of Mexico; I think Alejandro Sanz is a citizen of Spain) which plays into the jingoist fears of the virulent anti-immigration movement in the United States that advertises the threat that the US is losing its sovereignty as Latin America creeps over its borders.

We've heard throughout the Democratic primary that US Latinos are less excited about voting for Obama, though reasons for this are rarely given beyond the vague "he needs to reach out to the community." When Adelfa Callejo, a Dallas-based Clinton supporter and Latino community leader, clarified that this lack of enthusiasm is because he "simply has a problem that he happens to be black," the Clinton campaign denounced these remarks.

However, my strong sense is that urban Latinos, US-born Latinos, and those under 40 would disagree with Callejo.

Simply put, not all US minorities are the same. And not all US-based Latinos are the same. Not only does the Spanish language change from country to country, religion is drastically different (worshipers of the Virgen de Guadelupe in Mexico are different from practitioners of SanterĂ­a in Cuba and pentecostals in the outskirts of Buenos Aires). Race relations in various Latin American countries operate differently than those in the United States, and when immigrants move to the states, these are shifted. For example, Dominicans in Rhode Island are shocked to find that they are considered black, the same color category that they would (negatively) assign to Haitians (Dominicans national identity is based on differentiating the Dominican Republic from Haiti).

Posted in . Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post.


Swedish Greys - a WordPress theme from Nordic Themepark. Converted by LiteThemes.com.