On June 15, 2012, the President presented his “Dream Act Lite” (as some journalists dubbed it):”To qualify for prosecutorial discretion pursuant to the new policy, illegal immigrants must have entered before the age of 16, resided in the United States at least five years, are now attending or graduated from high school or served honorably in the military, are now 30 or under, and have never been convicted of a serious crime. Having received prosecutorial discretion, they can apply for work authorization.” [Jan Ting: http://www.dailyworld.com/article/20120620/ENTERTAINMENT/206200307.]
As covered virtually everywhere, this ostensibly “right thing to do” was seen as either pandering to “the Hispanic vote” or as too little too late to satisfy the same constituency, one that wants complete amnesty, and in many cases American jobs. See http://clarespark.com/2012/02/09/glee-goes-la-raza/.
This blog is about the lingering ambiguity attached to the term “Hispanic.” Put briefly, this blood and soil term not only ignores class and gender divisions within the “Hispanic” population, even as racist rhetoric, the term “Hispanic” fails to distinguish between (pure blooded) Spaniards (themselves “pure” only in the imagination of those unschooled in the migrations of peoples), Spaniards who have intermarried with other European persons, and the much despised “mestizo”—a mixture of Spanish and indigenous Central or South American natives, with the latter’s history of slavery and continued poverty. For that reason, ersatz “leftists” have insisted that “Hispanic” be retained for those who conquered parts of the Western hemisphere in the late 15 century onward, while describing their prey as “Latinos.”
First, the Hispanics. Some of the most glamorous and “hot” movie stars in earlier Hollywood were seen as nobly Spanish. For instance, Ramon Navarro, whose ancestry was mixed Spanish and Aztec [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramon_Novarro]. Or Rita Hayworth, whose father was Spanish, but whose mother was of Irish descent [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rita_Hayworth].
Ernest Hemingway, even before his conversion to Catholicism, found young matadors to be ideal males who could fight ferocious bulls and face death with equanimity. Later EH found the earthy Spanish peasants irresistible, unless they were anarchists, enemies to the Soviet Communists who were fighting Franco. And EH’s later approval of Fidel Castro was well known.
The President, however, was surely not appealing to anti-Castro Cubans, refugees from Communist Cuba, but to the imagined community of Latinos, who presumably want more from the government, whether it be amnesty (i.e., escape from underdevelopment and other troubles in Mexico and Central America), the renewed control of California and the Southwest (La Raza), or a larger Catholic electorate.
Who among the punditry is asking 1. Are persons of Spanish or mixed descent uniform in their class interests? 2. Are the legal “Latinos” in California sometimes exploiting the cheaper labor of illegals? Are we all living off the labor of exploited workers, of whatever “ethnicity” or “race”? 3. What about displaced black domestics and construction workers? Are the rival black and brown gangs in Los Angeles and elsewhere fighting only over drug turf? 4. Does anyone care whether or not the multicultural curriculum is perpetuating the discredited notion of “race” or “racial character.” In a society where “races” are mixing at an increasing rate, why are outdated bureaucratic labels still seen as relevant? [For a related article tracing the origins of the racialist discourse see http://clarespark.com/2010/04/08/racism-modernity-modernism/.]