No one really talks about it, certainly no one in the mainstream, but it’s midway through 2023 and Latinos-at-large are seemingly stuck wandering aimlessly and without any kind of direction.
For years now Latinos have been pushed and pulled and assimilated into one political movement to the next, whether they approve or not, and there’s no one pushing back. Worse, most of us don’t seem to really care all that much, despite what people claim online.
No one is afraid of Latinos. We are, politically, a paper tiger at best.
You can mock us, make fun of our culture, rob us, lie about us, pass unjust laws and lock us up, cage our kids, traffic our women and children and treat us as less human than human and the worst you will receive in return is an angry Tweet.
We don’t have any kind of centralized organization, no leaders and no way to defend ourselves when attacked. For all the buying power we have we lack the organization to turn it into any kind of serious boycott.
When we are attacked, we simply take it and move on. We smile, we laugh, we curse and we shrug our shoulders when they mock us. Our de facto defense is to maybe whine about it on social media and then quickly forget about it.
Years of this phenomenon has resulted in mass confusion, disorganization, a loss of pride, history and worst of all, a loss of self. I would argue this is by design.
Alas, in 2023 we scarcely even know who we are any more. This is more true for the youth than it is the elders.
The mere mention of ‘La Raza’ used to strike fear in the hearts of politicians but these days all it does is cause people to question if using certain words is “inclusive” enough or if it hurts someone’s feelings.
Various groups of all stripes and colors now claim to speak for us, all laying claim to our unwavering support/our culture and history, all while knowing they never have to deliver.
Other groups openly denigrate us without fear of reprisal because there is none to be feared. As I’ve written about before, it’s open season on Raza and they know it.
We are, in a sense, lost.
We have been lost for some time but it’s more apparent now than ever, especially with younger people. Our very identity is up for grabs and yet no one is sounding the alarm.
There are no marches, no movements, no walkouts, no causa. We simply fold and allow whatever flavor of the month is popular to roll us into whatever they’re selling, be it rewriting our history, erasing our language or selling us into political slavery.
Recently, I wrote about how Raza should not automatically allow the Democratic party to take our support for granted. Predictably, this was met with accusations of supporting the Republican party, or encouraging Latinos to switch to the GOP.
My point was that neither party should assume that Latinos support them and that both should be bending over backwards to earn the vote. Of course, at this point, people are so dug in to their political alliances it matters little what politicians say or do anymore.
Recently, I noticed a political movement online that gave me pause. It’s called “Lexit.” It is modeled after “Brexit,” which was the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union. Lexit means Latino “exit” or withdraw from the Democratic party.
It only takes a minute to discover that Lexit movement is just a thinly veiled cover for the Republican party. And while Lexit sometimes rightfully criticizes the Democratic platform on certain issues, it immediately tries to funnel followers to the GOP.
It is beyond bizarre to watch Latinos support these kinds of organizations but as I said, we are ripe for the picking these days and anything is possible because we have lost our identity.
The progress that La Raza has made over the decades is all but eroded away in terms of leadership, independence and identity. We are co-opted by others almost daily now.
For all the talk about decolonization online, we are, in fact, experiencing colonization all over again, only this time, instead of Europeans, it’s corporations, special interest groups and politicians with dollar signs in their eyes.
This dilemma, which is not new, is what made the politics of the Chicano Movement so appealing because at least back then we put the establishment on notice that we would not support it. Fast forward to now and it’s almost like that era never happened.
Of course, that’s all ancient history but the lessons remain for those who care to study them. As the saying goes, if you do not stand for something you will fall for anything and that certainly seems to be the case for Latinos in 2023.