Ancestral heritage does play a huge role in today’s America.
We have learned somewhat how to talk around things and for the most part we are a better people since the early 1970s. But we were generally forced to be better people. We didn’t just wake up one day and say: “Damn. We really screwed those folks. Let’s make amends.” Changes in American attitudes about race and background have not been the best role models.
Mitt Romney himself faces this as approximately 20% of Republicans say that they cannot bring themselves to vote for a Mormon.
So what’s up with one of the largest voting blocks in America: Hispanics and Latinos. One and the same? No. They just all look alike, right?
These terms — Hispanic and Latino — have very different meanings depending upon whom you talk to and where. And I’m talking about the opinion of Hispanics and Latinos themselves. Their opinions are probably as diverse as your opinion is.
As for Hispanic/Latino voters, am very active in the community (mid-Atlantic region). There is no monolithic Hispanic/Latino vote or point of view. Cubans and Puerto Ricans have little in common with central and southern Americans. Many of the central American migrants have nothing to do with Mexicans other than language and see Mexicans as overwhelming their choices. (A local media outlet proudly advertises that they know the Latino community, but that their staff is almost all Mexican — also advertised as such). Many southern Americans see their heritage completely different: Bolivians, Argentines and Uruguayans are often of European heritage; Peruvians are either of Spanish, Asian or native descent, and Columbians are Columbians. (All generalities are bound to get you into trouble so I am apologizing in advance if I mischaracterized your ancestry. It’s complicated — which is my point).
Hispanics and Latinos want to join a group. They are not a group themselves despite what others may think.
If you want the Hispanic and Latino vote then you need to work for it the old fashioned way: tell them how you understand their issues and concerns.