So did you watch the GOP debate last night? I didn’t, but I could have told you that Donald Trump was going to say some dumb, racist stuff. If you’re unfamiliar with Operation Wetback, no worries. It was just a small U.S. military operation that involved rounding up Mexicans — some American citizens — like cattle and shipping them south of the border. Kudos to Ohio Governor John Kasich who at least has some sense. History repeating itself? Only if we let it.
As if Donald Trump’s bombastic antics couldn’t get any worse, he’s also suggesting that people boycott Starbucks since their cups no longer have Frosty the Snowman on them. Hey, that’s cool; we in America have the right to protest anything we so chose. You would just think that at a time when Black people at the University of Missouri are literally having their lives threaten just for going to school there, there would be other things to protest.
Speaking of boycotts, many of those in the Latino community did not watch Saturday Night Live this past weekend. But apparently others did; SNL’s rating were some of the highest they’ve had in years. This is important to note because television companies care about their ratings, not your feelings. However, it is also important to note that out of the many social movements that have stuck in the recent past (#BlackLivesMatter, etc.), and particularly from the lessons that I learned from the The Autobiography of Malcolm X, that if you want something, you better make some noise.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) November 11, 2015
The University of Missouri football team and other concerned students, perhaps a few hundred, just took down their university president and chancellor. And whether people agree with this or not, it happened, and we can expect these trends to continue. The people are demanding better these days. And considering this, I’m willing to bet that 54 million Latinos can take down Trump (and perhaps more).
Truth be told, I could have told you that Trump’s Saturday Night Live wasn’t going to be funny; the guy is just not funny. Bill Murray is funny. Eddie Murphy is funny. Chris Farley was funny. Donald Trump’s laughs come from him being a stern ass, and while the for-show insolence may cause a reaction, it’s far from lasting entertainment. He’s a businessman, I’ll give him that, not a comedian, entertainer or artist — which goes to show how low NBC was willing to stoop just for good ratings. Controversy sells, but it usually comes with a price.
And this price was marked as an expense to Latinos. Many Latinos spoke out against Donald Trump hosting Saturday Night Live and were displeased with Lorne Michaels’ decision to allow Trump to host. And while some may find this trivial, consider that it was important enough for several hundred people to protest outside of NBC Studios during the show. Consider also that every major Latino organization from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Council of La Raza and the National Hispanic Media Coalition said: Enough! #RacismIsntFunny. The community banded together, never retreating from the fight, which is honorable.
— Salon.com (@Salon) November 11, 2015
But, what now? Saturday Night Live has come and gone and Trump is still on the election warpath. If Donald Trump has truly awoken the “sleeping giant,” where does it go from here? Does it stagger and mope about or does it focus with swift and decisive action? I’m going with the latter. And if you’re interested in joining, here’s a 10-point plan that we as organizers can draw from for our next move:
“Su voto es su voz.” The best thing we can do to trump Trump and any racist rhetoric is to vote for anyone else. If voter trends change, you can rest assure that the politicians will take wind. The sad part is, if voter turnout isn’t strong, the politicians will claim “the people have spoken,” which truly isn’t the case. If you notice right now, Trump often uses “the polls” to assert his dominance. However, if he fails miserably with our vote, then we will have the last laugh. Everyone talks about “the Latino vote,” but I also want to call upon our Indigenous and Black brothers and sisters, in addition to any other supporters, to vote for anyone but Trump in 2016. It is our right to vote — your vote matters — and if we all make a statement in the election, our political prominence will be claimed. If we can’t vote and participate in the political process, how can we run for office? Representation matters.
Drawing from point one, our unity is stronger than ever. Think about this: Many non-Mexican Latinos in the United States continually reiterate that they’re not Mexican. Trump made many Latinos declare “We’re all Mexican.” People were even subtly cheering for “El Chapo” Guzman to take action against Trump, overlooking his violent cartel involvement. Fingers alone are fragile, but united and clinched make a fist. We are that force. But we have to believe it and put differences aside. Nothing upsets me more than seeing bright, progressive Latinos beef. We have to do better, and if we don’t, we’re no better than the bigots. And this can’t work unless we do it together. Ask yourself what’s greater: your pride, or your people?
If your vote is your voice, then your dollar is your action. See, this has to be calculated; in one breath we’re asking you to make noise, and in another we’re asking you to withhold it. Like the NBC Universal point regarding their ratings, it seems that many corporations only care about our dollars. And if this is the case, which is arguable, we still have to hold these companies accountable. All of the companies, including those that ran ads on Saturday Night Live, have to do better by our communities and the people they claim to serve. With 54 million Latinos and aggressively counting, our buying power is well over $1.7 trillion annually. If we want to flex our muscle, we need to stop supporting products that are upheld by racist cronies and exploitative business practices. Again, if profits drop after some racist shit goes down… watch these corporations tone change. Many Latinos are now pledging not to watch Saturday Night Live or NBC for that matter. Let’s see what SNL decides to do as a result.
Again, with so many asking for Trump to be dumped from Saturday Night Live, only to fall upon deaf ears, it is evident that big money turned its back on Latinos. Ask yourself: when is the last time you saw such a unified voice against a person or thing? Latinos can’t agree on a quinceañera cake but it was nearly a universal sweep against Trump. Since NBC Universal went ahead with their plans, I am calling upon you to reject Black Friday this year. Forget the malls; remember when the holidays used to be about family? Now the corporations are making sales associates work on Thanksgiving Day. We don’t have to accept this. Let’s hit these companies where it hurts: their revenue. Who’s in control here: the producer or the consumer? Our dollars are powerful. Economic withdrawal was one of Dr. Martin Luther King’s pillars. This year Minister Louis Farrakhan asked people to redistribute their pain of all of the police brutality killings through an economic withdrawal. If we’re serious, we’ll do the same. #NotOneDime is happening this year on Black Friday. Let’s spend the time with our families and purchase from our own. So not only are we going to stop buying and watching their product, we’re also going to dismantle their beloved corporate-constructed holidays in one sweeping blow. Who’s with it?
- Demand Withdrawal of Sponsors
Some are now focusing their displeasure with Trump and Saturday Night Live by turning their attention to the companies who advertised on SNL. Notice the trends in this list with money. Some may find this attention-turning to be petty or even frivolous. When Trump initially made his comments about Mexicans being “rapists” and “murderers,” companies like Univision and Macy’s quickly distanced themselves. For better or for worse, these organizations did not want to be associated with bigoted sentiments. But deeper, ask yourself: where is everyone else? If they’re silent, are they racist also? We need a list of those who are supporting Trump with their dollars — from his campaign to those who ran advertisements with Saturday Night Live. Again, we’re demanding more.
- Be Heard
If you demand more, you’ll get more. We need to fight — like hell. As you can see, this fight isn’t going away. We have to continue speaking out; our voices are louder. There are going to be detractors, haters and naysayers, but, alas, they don’t matter. This doesn’t need anyone else’s approval, either. They didn’t care about us back then and they still don’t now. All negative sentiments are unwelcomed and will be rejected. Either you support this movement or move to the side. If silence implies consent, I’m going to need you to make noise. We will not be silenced, and this doesn’t have to come off as brash or disrespectful, either. The point is we need to push out hateful rhetoric with love and acceptance. We are louder.
- Take Action
Consider the Black Lives Matter movement’s die-ins, traffic stoppages and speech interruptions. Suddenly these actions don’t seem so radical, do they? When you want something bad enough, you’re willing to step outside of the box — particularly when the old way isn’t working. You know what’s funny? Say about 10 years ago it was taboo to be racist; today it’s becoming the new norm. People are more flagrant with it than ever, and it’s lauded and underpinned by those closeted xenophobes. This is all the more reason why we need to organize, in whatever fashion that we can — whether it be in digital space or at your location organizing union. Just do something. This isn’t a White versus Black thing, or a Latino versus White people thing; this is for humanity. If we let this hateful rhetoric continue, we will have all failed. This isn’t what the United States is about. And without your action, we are failing to realize this. It’s bigger than dollars, ratings and even the presidency. Do something, anything, to help your fellow brothers in need. The future of the country depends on it.
- Be Conscious
Stay woke, as they say. Look, we have to take a step back and see beyond the savvy lies, pretty illusions and pretentious words. All of the sharing of ideas in digital media space helps; some are tired of it, but it creates awareness. There’s never been a better time in history of the United States to be Latino. But we need to realize our full capacity and power within this country, and it happens through consciousness. I remember when I was in college and I got to catch up and hang around some older family members and friends; with them I was typically raised to a higher level of importance. I think the collective sentiment was that since I was educated, I was better than most, since previous generations in my community were not able to capitalize on higher education and that knowledge is valued in our community. Whether that was true or not, I have the responsibility to influence those around my circle and sphere to do better. We have to think more constructively if we want what’s best for our communities, our culture, and our families. Think about it: what do we want our legacy to be? Do we have a legacy? What is going to define this generation? There are factors that are moving behind the scenes that play off of our inaction; we play into stereotypes by remaining unaware and oblivious. Through these very writings, I want you to say: “I get it.” We have to help each other reach a higher level of consciousness, and we do this by sharing ideas. Today, you can get a college education right from your phone. Elevate yourself, and watch your world open up.
- Reject Pandering
Look, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s sick and tired of the pandering — or “Hispandering,” as its been dubbed. Some of the political outreach to win the Latino vote is nothing short of a spit in the face. If I hear another political ad in Spanish, I might puke; these ads are hypocritical because the practice doesn’t correlate to the words. Time after time, I see these efforts and realize people just don’t get it. We don’t have to accept these ads or any other form of pandering. Sorry, Larry David’s “racist” bit fell short, too. I hope he wasn’t really paid $5,000 for that stunt. I know some vatos from the westside of San Antonio that will do more for less, but that’s another subject. With too many other pandering moments to recall, I’ll leave you with this list. (Thanks, Julio!)
- Find your own reason
Lastly, I’m not going to pretend that I have all of the answers. I don’t. However, I will ask you to find your own reason to resist this Trump Show; it’s gone on long enough. With so many things to fight for — whether it be climate change, police brutality, or fair access to education — find the correlation of these struggles. Why is it that we still have to dispute this bullshit in 2015? We’re better than this. What’s going to be the future of this country? Only what we allow. Your active participation is welcome and encouraged.
Maximo Anguiano is a progressive Latino, provocateur, and agent of change. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @blurbsmithblots.