Meet Bryan Fischer, the November 2012 #NoMames Award Recipient

Guess Bryan Fischer didn't get the memo about last week's election and why the GOP is hurting in its quest to gain more favor from U.S. Latino voters.

Just watch this. Seriously, just watch it. It is only about 1 minute long, and we say #NoMames. Hey, Bryan Fischer, you know why you have no clue about U.S. Latinos? Because you are a "pendejo by nature."

Yes, he said it, and it case you want to read about what he said, you can check out the original post. Here is just a snippet:

On Friday's program, Fischer said that America never had a problem with immigration when the bulk of the immigrants came from Europe because they shared our heritage, values, and worldview. But recently, most immigration has been coming from non-European third-world countries where people do not possess the Protestant Work Ethic and expect the government to take care of them.

In fact, said Fischer, Hispanics do not vote Democratic because of the issue of immigration but rather because "they are socialists by nature" who want open borders simply so that they can bring in their families to "benefit from the plunder of the wealth of the United States."

As Fischer sees it, there is nothing the Republican can do to ever woo Hispanics away from the Democratic Party … and that is "one of the reasons why we've got to clamp down on immigration."

We can't, we just can't. Yes, people, this is part of America. And for those who want to know who Bryan Fischer is, he is the director of (wait for it), the American Family Association, also now known as the Pendejo Party.

The Problem With Pew Polls About Being Latino (or Hispanic) in America: Too Many Labels

We are told that the US Latino (or Hispanic) (or Mexican-PuertoRican-Cuban-Colombian-Dominican-Salvadorean-CostaRican-Honduran-Guatemalan-Nicaraguan-Panamanian-Venezuelan-Bolivian-Peruvian-Ecuadorian-Paraguayan-Uruguayan-Argentinian-Chilean-Spanish-Belizian-with-a-shout-out-to-Brazilian) population, estimated to be around 50 million people, is at an "identify" crossroads.

We are told that in a hodgepodge of countries, cultures, new arrivals, old arrivals, first-generation families, families that have lived in the US for decades, those who have lived here for centuries, bilinguals, monolinguals, Spanish-only speakers, English-only speakers, Spanglish speakers and anyone else whom we have forgotten, the conventional wisdom is that this growing demographic needs to be defined and defined quickly.

We must figure ourselves out soon! We must boxed ourselves and be labeled, so that we fit nicely into whatever vision of America is being crafted in the 21st century.

We are told that these 50 million people are hard to figure out, that the rest of America doesn't understand them. Why do you 50 million whatever-you-want-to-call-yourselves people have to be different?

So then we are told that in order to finally reach some consensus about who the 50 million truly are, questions must be asked.

And this week, the Pew Hispanic Center (we are wondering if they are changing their name now, just like we might need to change ours), asked some of those questions in a sweeping poll that tries to define US Latinos/Hispanics and the other nationalities we listed in our first paragraph. And now the problems and distractions begin.

The results have become the talk of the media this week.

Latinos don't want to be called Hispanics!

Hispanics don't want to be called Latinos!

Mexicans identify themselves with being Mexican!

Puerto Ricans will always say Puerto Ricans! The generalizations go on and on and on.

And there lies the distraction.

Because the type of information Pew spewed out (yes, we have always wanted to use the verb "spewed" next to "Pew") did very little to what the BIG GOAL is now for the 50 million: true unity and true political power. (If indeed those are the goals that US Latinos/Hispanis truly want, which we think they do.)

Can you imagine what would happen if people just ignored the labels about who they are and just say, hey, the issues that pertain to me as a US Latino/Hispanic living in Miami, actually have a lot more in common with the US Latino/Hispanic living in San Diego?

Can you imagine if we can actually maintain a deep pride of who we are and where we come from, BUT are also deeply interested in someone else who comes from different country but shares the same linguistic (Spanish) history as you? Or that when you both talked, you would find out that both of you are fully bilingual and bicultural and actually have a more common background that you had originally thought?

That is what the Pew poll should be discussing. Not the differences, but the commonalities. So while others spend time reflecting on the “big identity crisis” of US Latino/Hispanics, we would like to focus on some similarities and explore how we can use them to create a better path for dialogue, true unity, and real political power among the 50 million. So, we won't rehash everything that Pew spewed. We chose to focus one a few takeaways: 

Respondents do, however, express a strong, shared connection to the Spanish language. More than eight-in-ten (82%) Latino adults say they speak Spanish, and nearly all (95%) say it is important for future generations to continue to do so. The survey finds that, regardless of where they were born, large majorities of Latinos say that life in the U.S. is better than in their family’s country of origin. Also, nearly nine-in-ten (87%) say it is important for immigrant Hispanics to learn English in order to succeed in the U.S.

OUR TAKE: Anyone who thinks Spanish is going away in the United States or that people who want to reach out to the 50 million without having a better sense of the linguistic and cultural nuances of Spanish, better start taking Rosetta Stone courses. The Spanish language is a key uniting part of what it is to be part of the 50 million, whatever we become once this “identity quest” ends.

The survey finds that, regardless of where they were born, large majorities of Latinos say that life in the U.S. is better than in their family’s country of origin. Also, nearly nine-in-ten (87%) say it is important for immigrant Hispanics to learn English in order to succeed in the U.S.

OUR TAKE: This one is key: Just because one learns and understands and uses Spanish, it doesn't mean that English should be ignored. That is the biggest mistake that the non-50 million makes. They hear a part of the 50 million talking Spanish, and they have nightmares of a reconquista. They fear change, when in fact, the vast majority of the 50 million also see value in learning English to succeed in this country. Is being bilingual not a noble goal?

Most Hispanics do not see a shared common culture among U.S. Hispanics. Nearly seven-in-ten (69%) say Hispanics in the U.S. have many different cultures, while 29% say Hispanics in the U.S. share a common culture.

OUR TAKE: This is perhaps this silliest question ever asked. Can anyone in this country even define what a "common culture" is? American Idol, Jersey Shore, and apple pie? Results and findings like these are just dangerous when seen from the outside because they segregate different cultures (and countries) and pit them against each other. We got more work to do, people, about finding commonality that will ultimately transfer to the end goal. Furthermore, this Pew finding also suggests that having many different cultures is not a good thing, when in fact, we think it is.

Latinos are split on whether they see themselves as a typical American. Nearly half (47%) say they are a typical American, while another 47% say they are very different from the typical American. Foreign-born Hispanics are less likely than native-born Hispanics to say they are a typical American—34% versus 66%.

OUR TAKE: Another dangerous question with findings that will just be skewed by those who don't understand the 50 million. What is a typical American in the 21st century? What does that even mean? Findings like these only perpetuate the fact that the 50 million are being viewed as different and that a vast majority of the 50 million also see themselves as different. The poll is creating division and distraction. The tactic is clear: Let us, dear Latinos and Hispanics, debate this identity issue amongst ourselves while the rest of America just sits and stares, perplexed and confused, yet also making sure that it still has all the political power.

You see, this is very simple: the United States is more diverse, and those 50 million who form a part of that diversity, are complex and not monolithic. Sure, there will be many who hold up this Pew study and focus on the findings that will confirm their shorts-sighted beliefs all along: that US Latino/Hispanics are "different."

That is the part that scares us. And it is why there has never been a greater time to actually get the 50 million to put away all its labels and start focusing on the real issue here: we can no longer allow Pew surveys and identity questions define us. We must remember where we came from, celebrate our roots, but also forge ahead by continuing to know more and more about the 50 million.

Because in the end, we, the 50 million, AND the rest of America will all be thinking that Latinos/Hispanics are "different," when in fact the 50 million are more like other Americans who believe in a diverse land, where diverging points of views are respected and celebrated. If we choose to use the label Latino in some places (like this page) or Hispanic in other places, so be it. We use Latino because we want to and it defines us (it speaks to who we are), but that doesn’t mean that we will turn away those who might use different labels (or no labels at all). Yes, we do come from different countries, but we all live in one right now. We must strive for ways to build up the notion that living in one country peacefully and without ignorance is a very achievable goal.

Enough with the analysis of identity labels. It is time to forge ahead. Who’s in?

PS And no, our new web page name is not going to be Mexican-PuertoRican-Cuban-Colombian-Dominican-Salvadorean-CostaRican-Honduran-Guatemalan-Nicaraguan-Panamanian-Venezuelan-Bolivian-Peruvian-Ecuadorian-Paraguayan-Uruguayan-Argentinian-Chilean-Spanish-Belizian-with-a-shout-out-to-BrazilianRebels.com. We say Latino Rebels because it is what unites us with many, it is what defines US, but we would never impose our point of view on someone else. We will still be doing what we do. We don't need a poll or survey to confirm that.

The Latino Rebels Manifesto

We would like to take the opportunity to clarify a few misunderstandings about Latinos and specifically, the Latino Rebels. We’re not hard to figure out. In fact, we’re just like you. Except for one thing: we’re bicultural. We have one foot in each place: the United States and our origin of ancestry.

The group of Latino Rebels represents the most progressive of Latinos. We're making waves and taking names. Take for instance, the Latino Rebels who are online 24/7. What do you think we’re doing? Just playing on Facebook? “Not I,” said the cat. We are building bridges, communicating, writing, reading and educating ourselves about the world in which we live. We are making it happen for ourselves because, let’s face it, mainstream media doesn’t cut it like we can and who’s to say we don’t control the internet at this point.

A lot of what we find on mainstream media is sugar coated or stereotyped. They find it easier to put on a sombrero on it and call it Mexican than to find out that Mexicans don’t wear the hats on a daily basis. We’re not only Spanish speakers and we’re not just English speaking Latinos either (which is what 2nd and 3rd generation has come to mean). A large chunk of us are, in fact, bilingual and damn good at it. We are proud of our culture, especially our language.

Spanish is spoken by a half billion people by world estimates and the “dumbing down” of American media does all it can to trap Latinos (and especially English-only speakers) in a media loop that is full of inaccurate propaganda and biases—sometimes even against their own people, as evidenced in the contemporary Republican sphere of politics.

There have been studies done on us, facts and figures have been posted and the fact of the matter is, we live in an accented world. Yes, that’s right. We speak English and then say, “Boricua” when referring to someone of Puerto Rican heritage. We can roll our Rs and say our names loud and proud the RIGHT way. We feel a connection with our heritage because that’s what we are, that’s our history and is what makes us unique and different. Giving up our mother tongue is surrendering our history.

When we connect with Spanish-only speakers in, at times, parts of our nation and throughout the world, we are encouraging the breaking down of national and ethnic barriers so that our hearts and minds can exchange ideas in a larger world scope. Thus, Latino assimilationists who favor the colonial language of the United Kingdom versus that of España are doing the same as the rest of America: refusing to learn another language—and not just any other language—but the cultural language of our unique colonial history, brilliant and tragic. Speaking Spanish has become a radical act in today’s heightened xenophobic pre-presidential frenzy, and that gives us even more cojones to prove it.

We’re not stupid. Just because some of us may speak with an accent, doesn’t mean we’re dumb or don’t understand you. In fact, it means that we’re intelligent, that we speak another language; that we’re BILINGUAL. Don’t hate.

“Can you anglicize that?” NO!

We look different, we act different and we listen to different music. But what you don’t realize is we grew up here. We listen to the Smiths, Morrissey, Depeche Mode, Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra, and the Temptations yet, we can’t stand mainstream Latino music because it’s played out and it falls into one genre. We talk to our parents or grandparents in Spanish and can express ourselves in English. We can tell you off in either one though, don’t doubt that. We watch Spanish movies without subtitles and get excited to hear particular words from other countries like, “Vale,” "Pana," "Chamo," Ché," “Joder” and “Tío.”

A part of us wants to say that people are jealous that we Latinos can hold on so tightly to our roots. We know exactly where we come from and how we got here. We know our stories and for some reason, those who don’t, find us strangely peculiar and too attached to our ancestry.

Let’s have a chance to speak the truth for a second though: Even though we graduate from state schools and Ivy League schools, a lot of us came from gang-infested neighborhoods. Just because we knew them doesn’t mean we were one. That was the first steps in critical thinking and precaution. In reality, those of us who did come from those particular situations embrace the fact that it happened to us. We emerge tougher, we emerge as the generation of rebeldes, out to tell you all that we made it and we’re going strong.

While there are many that want to rid our generation of negative stereotypes, including the Rebels, we remember where we come from. We came from the streets, we were discriminated against, we were held to where society’s standards held us and we use all of that to our advantage.

If there’s anything Latinos know, it’s the consumer market and it’s the internet. There have been reports to explore all of these different facets of our lifestyle and guess what: We’re not cheap! In fact, we look for quality over quantity and that goes for videos, marketing arrangements and more. We can see right through you and we know when you’re BSing us. We know what we need because we live it every day. Don’t underestimate the experts.

The bridges that we have built and continue to build are strong and rooted. We find correlations and relationships with each other. Just because I’m Mexican doesn’t mean I can’t listen to salsa on Saturday mornings. Just because I’m Peruvian doesn’t mean I can’t be a kick ass bilingual spoken word poet. Just because I’m Boricua doesn’t mean I can’t love Café Tacuba. Because what Latino Rebels is bringing to the table is a multifaceted conglomerate of real relationships built on similarities and not the fact that we’re different.

We’re educating each other on our realities, explaining inside jokes and becoming stronger every day we communicate among ourselves and with the rest of our fans and readerships on all of our platforms.

Coming from Latin America, speaking Spanish and eating particular foods are traditions within our worlds but in no way does it limit our capabilities or experience in the United States. We’re as brown as brown can get both by skin color and by blood. Yet, we can all honor the flag of the United States and maintain respect for where we live and how this geographical location has allowed us to prosper.

We become angry when we are not heard, especially because we’re screaming loud and clear. We work with you, walk down the street with you, send our kids to the same school, are just as wealthy, have our own businesses, graduated from the same universities and still, we’re looked at a little sideways.

We’re placed in one big pot of BROWN, with no distinction and no respect. In no way will we silence ourselves or what we stand for. We will not dumb ourselves down and stoop to the levels at which we are treated, but we will exceed your expectations.

This is our reality. This is why we have to make our voices heard. No one will do it for us. It will come to the day in which you will either fight us or join us and we’re all more than willing to accept you with open arms.

Ron Paul Opposes DREAM Act, But Says Latinos Have Become “Scapegoats”

The current quartet of mainstream GOP presidential candidates are all against the current version of the DREAM Act, now that Ron Paul has spoken out the proposed bill, which is supported by 91% of US Latino voters, according to a recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center.

Paul's decision to not support the DREAM Act is an economic one. That is what he told Latinos in Politics, Nevada's oldest Latino political group. This is what Univision News' Jordan Fabian reported from the site's Tumblr page on February 2:

“I can’t endorse [it] because there is a lot of money involved. And you know there are a lot of subsidies in there between the billions of dollars.”

Both Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney both support a military-only version of a DREAM Act-type bill, even though at one point Romney was against the DREAM Act altogether. Paul's comments and position are a bit curious since during the same speech with the Nevada group, he said:

“I believe Hispanics have been used as scapegoats, to say, they’re the problem instead of being a symptom maybe of a problem with the welfare state. In Nazi Germany they had to have scapegoats to blame and they turned on the Jews.

“Now there’s a lot of antagonism and resentment turned just automatically on immigrants. You say, no not immigrants, it’s just illegal immigrants. I do believe in legal immigration. I want to have a provision to obey those laws. You have to understand this in the context of the economy.”

 

The Latinization of Newt Gingrich: Don’t Believe the Hype

With recent news that a Latino GOP group has endorsed Newt Gingrich for the Republican nomination as the race heads down to Florida (where the demographic US Latino voter is complex and not monolithic), the Latinization of Gingrich is moving in full force. Before Latino Republicans jump on the Gingrich Train, a more detailed discussion of his record should be considered. Here are just a few issues that they might want to consider:

 

Gingrich Supports Controversial South Carolina Immigration Law

and Will Address “Birth Tourism” if Elected

We ran that piece in December and it is a theme that Gingrich repeated during the last GOP Debate last Thursday. In addition, even though Gingrich might be perceived as the most "moderate" of GOP candidates when it comes to immigration reform, his stance to stop the federal lawsuits towards Arizona, South Carolina, and Alabama immigration laws seems to send a double message. As Gingrich said in December:

Gingrich told a gathering of business and community leaders that on the day he’s inaugurated, he will sign an executive order dropping lawsuits against South Carolina, Alabama and Arizona “because I think the federal government should be stopping illegal immigration, not stopping the states from enforcing the laws.”

Gingrich also said U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from Seneca, will introduce a measure, possibly as a constitutional amendment, to address “birth tourism,” referring to people who come to the U.S. on a tourist visa to have children, who then can be considered Americans.

“That’s clearly not what the 14th Amendment (to the U.S. Constitution) implied, and I think it’s inaccurate to interpret that way,” Gingrich said, referring to the provision that persons born or naturalized in the United States are U.S. citizens.

A spokesman confirmed Graham is examining two approaches, including a constitutional amendment. The other would seek a new Supreme Court interpretation of a century-old case.

Another story that we reported in November, 2011 is also an issue that Latino Republicans should consider.

 

Gingrich’s 2007 Comment About Spanish

as the “Language of Living in a Ghetto” Resurfaces

Last Thursday at the GOP debate, Gingrich's push for moderate immigration reform was also mixed with his call to make English the official language of the United States. In a country that many think will become the LARGEST Spanish-speaking country in the world by 2050, Gingrich's seems to be missing the point. His stance on language and culture reeks of neo-nativism. Instead of promoting diversity and change, and respecting Spanish-speaking US Latino voters (side note: Gingrich needs a better translator), Gingrich is basically saying that they don't matter because they don't speak English. That is not the way to gain votes, Mr. Speaker.

We did reach out to Somos Republicans for this piece to ask why they would continue to endorse Gingrich. We asked them three questions on their Facebook wall, but as of this post getting published, we have received no comment from them. We seriously question an organization that claims to support candidates that speak against Arizona, South Carolina, and Alabama laws, especially when the candidate they are endorsing has already gone on record twice to say that he supports those laws.

President Obama on GOP Debates: “We’ll Just Run Those in a Loop on Univision and Telemundo”

In a roundtable session for selected members of the US Latino media this week, President Obama acknowledged that the current tone of recent GOP debates is helping the President's 2012 reelection bid.

As reported on Univision News, President Obama discussed how best he could win the Latino vote next year. Even with unprecendented support for his 2008 victory from US Latinos, the President has lost some of the Latino electoral love the last few years, especially in the area of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). President Obama had promised in 2008 that he would make CIR a top priority of his Administration. Currently, the idea of a new CIR law passing in Congress is but a pipe dream.

Add to the fact that current GOP candidates won't even mention CIR at the risk of being labeled a "Amnestyialist" and their immigration rhetoric has turned off many Latino voters who were seriously looking for an alternative to President Obama, it is clear that the US Latino vote is still very much up for grabs—so much so, that this growing group could be the difference maker in 2012.

“I don’t think it requires us to go negative in the sense of us running a bunch of ads that are false, or character assassinations,” Obama told Univision News. “It will be based on facts … We may just run clips of the Republican debates verbatim. We won’t even comment on them, we’ll just run those in a loop on Univision and Telemundo, and people can make up their own minds.”

Obama's comments seem a bit strange to us, since it speaks to a lack of understanding of the complex US Latino vote. The President showed a little lack of education when it comes to US Latinos, so we would like to offer him a few points:

  • Latinos actually watch other channels besides Univision and Telemundo. They actually watch English-language shows and read English-language newspapers, too. In fact, you would think the President would kind of gotten that, given the fact that Univision News is Univision's English-language news site.
  • Replace "Univision and Telemundo" with "BET" and replace Obama with, well, any GOP candidate. Do you think a comment like that would not have been pounced upon by the mainstream media for its suggestion of being stereotypical and insensitive? Why does the President not face the same criticism?

So, Mr. President, we understand what you were trying to say, but the next time, remember that of the estimated 54 million US Latinos, not all of us speak Spanish, not all of us are bilingual, and not all of us speak English. It might be better to remind yourself that the US Latino is complex and not monolithic. Kind of like the rest of the United States.

Our Readers Respond to Latino Self-Hate

We asked a very simple question to our Facebook and Twitter followers today, after we came across some accounts on Twitter of Latino profiles that questioned our positions on immigration (we believe that this country HAS to have a more humane and economically real policy that keeps our borders secure but makes the path to citizenship more manageable). The question we posed: why are a small minority of Latinos self-haters? That is, why are they programmed to reject their background and culture in the name of mainstream acceptance?

While we have our own opinions, we will let our readers provide their very though-provoking answers: 

inferirity complex

there are a percentage of every ethnic group which can be called self haters. What about all the Latinos who really think they are Europeans (sangre Espanas)

they're posers, maybe they want someone to convince them it's ok to be LATINO, or maybe they're just stoopod. go figure

Self haters? Sorry I could interpreter that in many ways. Like hate on themselves or other Latino cultures.

Residual Catholic guilt.

they forgot where they came from, and they don't recognize the struggles of the Latin Community, nor do they recognize how far we've come, they are embarrassed and believe what the powers tell them

Like Mexican-Americans that call ppl wetbacks? That drives me nuts…. I think being a citizen gives some a superiority complex

I went through it as an immigrant at the age of nine. In my experience, it had to do with wanting to fit in and assimilate to a new environment. We moved to Miami in the early 80's from Colombia. I don't think I have to explain the weight/consequences/kids being kids that came with that.

Yes i agree. It's pathetic & sad to be honest. I don't understand, on a small level yes but a deeper level i don't get it. I guess that's for some ethnic psychiatrist to figure out.

To me, that's like sticking your head in the sand. I have relatives like that. Especially if you live in the South or Southwest. Like I said in my novel, A Three-Turtle Summer, if you've got one drop of brown blood in you, you're brown. And if you're Catholic too, give it up and move to Clevelend!

In the end, no matter whether a Latino will employ classic symptoms of self-hate, the fact remains: in mainstream America, you are just as brown as the rest of us. Want proof? Go live in Alabama right now, and we guarantee you that any Spanish surname will get you questioned.

Best to stop self-hating and stop harrassing those Latinos who feel differently. This country provides EVERYONE an opportunity to succeed, but we believe that no one individual can do it by himself or herself. Keep the self-hate at home, no worries, we will forgive you.