The Latina Condition: Solidarity is Not for All.
By: Irene Sanchez
The Southwest Political Report
Latinas are not a homogenous group. According to the report “Fulfilling America’s Future”, Latinas are 1 in 5 women in the United States. Out of the group as a whole those of Mexican decent account for 64 percent with Puerto Ricans at 9 percent and Central Americans at 9 percent.
For a very long time I was conflicted and had wondered is Latina even a word I can use? If it isnt’ for me, who can use it and why? If 64 percent of those who fit into this term also share a background similar to mine, can it still be a term I use? I have wondered this since I first heard the term. I knew Hispanics was a dirty word growing up as a young Chicana in Los Angeles and later the IE, but Latina confused me. I first heard Latina a lot more when I went to community college, but decided I wanted to use the term to signify solidarity with those who were not of Mexican decent, but never if it seemed far reaching because I will not compromise my values of social justice to fit in.
Latinas for Trump proves and reaffirms that with certain groups I would never fit and don’t want to, but it doesn’t take looking that far right for to realize this. When I see other groups of self proclaimed conscious Latinas also reinforcing meritocracy, and their undying love and promotion of “money culture”, consumption, and white capitalist patriarchal culture, I do not fit in with them and don’t want to. I realize I am who I am and there is history behind it-soy Chicana- this is why for the longest time I didn’t call myself Latina. I began to use the word Latina to signify solidarity with a group that is large, but do I really want to be in solidarity with Latinas for Trump or those who promote this individualistic bootstraps mentality? No. I don’t.
Following the election, Latinas for Trump c0-founder Denise Galvez was interviewed on PBS for All Things Considered. here is an excerpt from her interview:
“MARTIN: So to people who say that they feel threatened by him and demeaned by him, what do you say?
GALVEZ: I say that they have been fed a load of bull and just like everything that was reported in the news that turned out to be untrue, they need to re-examine their thoughts of Donald Trump and look into his history and go ahead and talk to people who actually know him and, you know, can give you personal anecdotes of their, you know, personal relations. There’s tons of it all over the internet. I mean, you know, go beyond those 30-second soundbites that, you know, that MSNBC repeated over and over again.”
Galvez who is of Cuban decent along with her co-founder, Ileana Garcia-thinks that those who are against Trump is because we can not think or don’t know how to think critically. When in reality they are ignoring the history behind the anti-Mexican comments he based his campaign on and the facts that anti-Mexican sentiment in this country is real and has been real since Manifest Destiny and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
In this interview from Latina Magazine in August, in an article titled “Meet the Founders of Latinas for Trump” we are being told to understand them, to listen to their perspectives, but why would I want to listen to the opinions of anyone that would condone what Trump does and promote and why would Latina magazine give them the space to do this? I understand the opinions and beliefs of them too well.
“For Galvez and García, one of the biggest mischaracterizations by the media has been on Trump’s immigration proposals, an issue immensely important to Latinos. They believe that more members of their community would back the candidate if it weren’t for their initial impression of Trump, who launched his campaign by calling Mexicans “rapists” and drug-runners and threatened to deport undocumented immigrants en masse and have Mexico pay to build a wall along the southern border – some stances he has since softened.
“I think that we are responsible for what we say, not how others perceive it. He didn’t word his message correctly, but what he was saying was, ‘who are we going to hold responsible for those who have jumped over illegally, overstayed their visa and become a burden to our economy? Why is it that 11 million undocumented immigrants became more important than law-abiding citizens?’ He didn’t say it the right way, and liberal media played the racist card from the beginning. And when you offend someone from the get-go, it’s difficult to get past that,” García said.”
Latinas for Trump believe everyone else is mistaken. Trump meant what he said different then calling Mexicans drug dealers and rapists and bad hombres. How are undocumented people going to be held “accountable” from the Latinas for Trump perspective? Do I really need to take a moment to reflect on this? This interview to me and any other excuse to “Meet Latinas for Trump” or Latinas who support facism or Latinas who support “money culture” is like Trevor Noah giving Tomi Lahren cupcakes recently. I don’t need it sugar coated or to look to racists and facists for guidance so I can better understand their views or to be told I am mistaken on not understanding their perspectives. So what do these popular media and platforms targeting the broad Latinx community mostly do? They do what mass media has always done-where the goal is let’s make it consumable, make it “spicy”, make it “sexy” in only certain ways, make it “beautiful” in only certain ways (white & thin & abled bodied) as they attempt to humanize what can’t be humanized. The same people they seek for us to listen to are the same people who are supporting registries for Muslims, anti-Mexican sentiments, deportations and violence against immigrant people more broadly. Why must we listen to these people who threaten our lives? Why must they be given platforms to spew their hateful rhetoric and perpetuate it? I am not in solidarity with them.
The history of different immigrant groups in the U.S. and how they can attain citizenship in this sense can’t be ignored and the ways in which citizenship is granted. Who is determined to be an acceptable immigrant and who isn’t then? In the Latina article where we meet the founders of Latina for Trump it comes as no surprise then that the co-founders are Cuban Americans.
“García, like Galvez, is Cuban-American, and the level of condemnation she received when opening up about her support of Trump reminded her of stories she heard from her parents about censorship on the island.
“Never have I felt so demonized because of my choice for a candidate, so censured, bullied and persecuted. I could not fathom that because I only heard those stories from my parents, who left Cuba to avoid those kinds of things,” she said.”
The death of Fidel Castro recently brought a national spotlight on the Cuban American community in Miami. Photos of them celebrating in the streets of Miami and holding signs of “Make America Great Again” and “Make Cuba Great Again” were seen in mass. Miami and larger South Florida, a place where a lot of Spanish language media corporations are centered and where terms like Latina are defined, mass produced, packaged and sold to us via the TV screen and radio agai-were celebrating only a certain narrative, the same one they always do, one that leaves out the vast majority of us lumped into this term. Again we were told to listen to the Cuban American community in Miami just like we are told to meet Latinas for Trump, but why? I noticed on my own newsfeed people looking for critiques, analysis and people’s views/stance and the response from these figures was that we should just listen to the Cuban Americans right now on the death of Fidel Castro-don’t take a stance, just listen. Again we are told let’s “Meet Latinas for Trump”.
An article titled “Hispanic media are covering this crazy election like never before” in Ocotber 2016 from the Miami Herald states:
“The bilingual community in South Florida is probably the best representative of how informed Hispanics around the U.S. are,” he says. “They are extremely well-versed in issues you would have to explain in-depth in other parts of the country, whether you’re talking about the desaparecidos in Iguala or the peace deal in Colombia. That depth of knowledge shows how wrong the misconception some have that the Spanish-speaking audience only cares about immigration.
The bilingual community in South Florida is supposed to best represent “Hispanics” in the U.S. and particulary when it comes to Latina issues we are supposed to believe that the this population is superior and more educated than anyone else who is Latinx because they don’t care about immigration in the same ways that the southwest does. This is the mentality that is pushed and has been pushed-that other groups are less than and always will be. That is what allows a Latina for Trump to support anti-immigrant policies. That South Florida speaks for all of us.
They forgot the Southwest and it was on purpose.
We have marched. We have spoken. We will continue to fight just like we did since Treaty of Guadalupe, since mining strikes, deportations and raids against all our community, just like we did since labor strikes from the fields to the streets, Zoot Suit Riots, from walkouts, racist propositions, to the election of Trump in 2016. We have resisted and will continue to.
Solidarity to the Latinas and Latinx people who believe in a more just tomorrow and continue to fight for it today.
Photo: Getty Images