According to many within the community, there is a lack of Latin-American pride in the Unites States.
In the 20th century, the premise of cultural pride was the foundation behind African-American marches led by leaders like Stokely Carmichael, whose public displays with Martin Luther King promoted not only cultural pride, but the changing of laws across the land for the betterment and equality of Black people. In the 21st century, what has followed is more than a rehashing of the latter. Hispanics, however, are having difficulty becoming not only U.S citizens—but also being included in the debate of justice. With a lack of inclusion for Hispanics in political, social, economic, and cultural realms, pride is inevitably lost.
That claim is advanced by Samuel Huntington here. In that commentary, Huntington acknowledges that America would not be what it is had it not been for its 17th and 18th century settlers. Yet, today’s America fails to see how it rejects the influx of Hispanic immigrants, even excluding them in ways that cannot necessarily be measured. Huntington falls into the same trap as most writers attacking the Hispanic issue do: he fails to address American-born Hispanics who experience the trickling backlash from their first generation parents, and how they adopt the Anglo-English speaking identities in exchange for their cultural roots.
Author five-fifths recently published an article highlighting how the war on drugs affected races differently, given that race and poverty were not synonymous. Because of systematic flaws and institutional foundations the author writes, “America’s programs on poverty differently affect whites and blacks, given statistics to determine social mobility over time.” This in turn is manifesting similarly for Hispanics. Such bills and programs like the 1965 Voting Rights Act are put in place to affect certain individuals. However, it was not until 1975, after non-English-speakers testified against the discrimination they faced at the polls, that Congress expanded the U.S Voting Rights Act to require language assistance at polling stations.
Pride is easily defined as a feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by others. And this is the lens through which we are discussing pride, generally, through an Anglo-English-speaking perspective of entitlement and refusal for true reformation of power. Congress immigrant reformations that threaten to criminalize undocumented immigrants affect more than just immigrants, but also the American born off springs who wish not to be treated, or discussed in the same conversation as those who are explicitly made seen as an issue. This logic is the reason why most Hispanic-Americans appropriate other cultures and therefore compromise their pride and Hispanic roots. Its a form of self hatred.
And America’s leading Latin entertainment is a reflection of its cultural preference and priority. According to Billboard, the top selling Latin entertainers in America are Hispanics with European blood: Pitbull, Shakira, Marc Anthony, Juanes, Joe-Jose, and Jennifer Lopez all rank in their most influential listing of Latin artists. This is to say, even as the age of equality grips America’s moral neck, the makeup of its entertaining mainstream is still a reflection of its own European roots. It’s safe to say, at this present moment, Pitbull is arguably the “token Hispanic” for American entertainment, after having consecutive hour long New Year Eve specials on Fox.
These Latin-American entertainers alone don’t give hope nor do they quite work extensively for building Hispanic-American pride. America’s lack of Hispanic-American pride is best understood as a political and social phenomenon by which Hispanics continue to be excluded, imprisoned at a higher rate than any race other than Blacks; and by which they are forced to assimilate into other social norms, and rituals in order to survive. Social mobility for Hispanics is just as difficult for any other minority, and more so, possibly given they have yet to experience a movement grounded on creating awareness towards injustice and uplifting Hispanics culturally and politically.
What is needed in this moment is to come together and ignite a sense of pride whereby Latin news is no longer segregated from American news, and to realize Hispanics are entitled to banning together culturally, politically, and socially in the way the Civil Rights movement once did for other races. We are entitled to be included, in all social, economic, political, and cultural realms. We must give a voice to the Latin-American experience, and create our own images of what we wish to be known, and remembered by.