The Latino Vote, Writing, and Pride

Posted: November 8, 2012 in From Student to Teacher
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After reading dozens of other blogs on Word Press, I have come to understand something about myself.  I am simply not capable of writing the polite, soft-spoken content that I see so often.  Writers whose content is about education in particular are fascinating because while the topic might be a hotly contested one (isn’t everything in education that way?) but their words are delivered so gracefully, so eerily mild, that I have been examining myself.  Granted, my style is my style, but it goes deeper than that for me.

For example, let’s discuss politically corrupt, slimy, ambitious, glory-seeking superintendents of any given school system.  I can’t find enough adjectives to adequately describe the general experiences I have had with superintendents.  None of them are pretty, wrapped in a Martha Stewart taupe tone-on-tone industrial wrapping paper, with an elegantly simple and understated silk ribbon. No, that’s not for me.  But another writer might describe someone like Beverly Hall, former superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, who is probably still running from Errol Davis, in the following manner:

“Former Superintendent Beverly Hall, accused of fabricating data, creating a network of terror among her staff and the teachers in her system, is certainly a blight on the citizens of Atlanta Public Schools.”

I graduated from high school at 16 and went straight into an excellent private college.  I spent those undergraduate years sitting in dingy back rooms of Irish pubs debating everything under the stars.  The “discussion” if you would call it that, were often heated, warring in the air with the thick cigarette smoke, beer would slosh on beards or slap someone in the face.  This was living!

For me, a spade is just a spade.  A jerk is a jerk.  Let’s just put it on the counter.  This always reminds me of an advertisement I love.  I think it is for Geico Car Insurance.  It features a drill sergeant who is a therapist and his patient is crying.  The sergeant tears him to pieces for being a wuss.  He calls him a “jackwagon.”  It’s funny.  I found the commercial.

Perhaps it’s the Latina in me that feels so passionate about issues that matter.  I am so thankful to be Puerto Rican.  I love the beauty of my country of origin.  I love the beaches, the smell of coconuts, the simple and generous nature of the people.  I love that my blood is an amalgamation of proud Taino Indias, strong and enduring African blood, and the sophisticated forward thinking minds of Europeans.  I am strong and proud and a tremendous asset to America.  Puerto Rican women are some of the most beautiful women in the world.  We are educated, diverse and accepting of all peoples.  We are hard workers, ambitious, and progressive.  Finally, we adapt well to our environment.

Okay, enough of that.

The word Latino has been tossed around quite a bit in the past few days with the re-election of Barack Obama.  Many analysts have reported that the influence of the Latino vote helped the Obama campaign in surprising ways, helping to propel him above Romney.  Unfortunately, the ignorance of so many millions of Americans always rears its ugly head when comments like these are made by experts.  The assumptions are that Latino equates to immigrant.  The fact is, American equates to immigrant.  Everybody was an immigrant to this nation, and we ALL know the only group that was native to this land.  So many uneducated and uninformed people think brown skin means a person is Mexican and therefore illegal.  Perhaps that’s why the Republicans underestimated the strength of the Latino vote.  I don’t know.  But I do know this:

People of Hispanic descent, Latinos, are all over this country, and have been for generations.  They are citizens.  They outnumber every other race and ethnicity in this land, and their time is arriving swifter than people think.  Latinos know that Obama isn’t perfect.  But he’s a man who understands deep-rooted, generational bigotry and has felt it at one time or another on a personal level.  He may be a politician, but the Latinos in this country have a better chance to survive — no — THRIVE, under the leadership of a man like Obama, than a man who has never known adversity, never had anything other than a upper crust, white bread, entitled life.

It must be the hot Latin blood coursing through my veins that doesn’t allow me to play in the Namby Pamby playpen with the other happy and mild-mannered children.  But when it comes to education, we can all sit around blogging about how jacked up the system is, or we can lay down some truths and when the time comes to fight, we will have dispensed with the pleasantries and chitchat and get to work laying a new foundation, that is not built on fluff.


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