Friday, February 08, 2008

Man Eegee's Guide to Meaningful Latino Outreach

Consider this free advice to any lurking campaign operatives. And yes, this even includes the legions of Dogcatcher Chief of Staff's CIA operatives that sit and refresh their browser every few minutes to see what nugget of wisdom I've shared with the world.

Man Eegee's Guide to Meaningful Latino Outreach

Numero Uno, if you will (that first part was spanish; never ever under any circumstance should you refer to it as speaking mexican or beaner). Numero Uno: if you have no clue what a vihuela is - then you are not allowed to hire a mariachi group for one of your rallies. Sorry, it's just the way it is. I'm a purist.

Numero Two: this one is offered in the spirit of bipartisanship, I mean, bilateralship, umm....bilingual. ship. It's also your math lesson of the day: Reaching out to Latino/Latina voters sinking a ton of money into spanish-speaking media. That certainly helps, especially when it's during the latest episode of Guerra de los Sexos, but though we might look foreign, most of us consume our news and info in English. Especially the younger crowd. It's called code switching for the educated folks, we call it pocho, my mom calls it being a coconut.

Numero Tres: my nana may have popped an artery that time I took my negra girlfriend home to meet the familia*, but things have changed. Again, especially with the younger crowd. I credit Hip Hop music for bringing together the Black and Brown. The world underestimates at its peril the power that P Diddy holds over us all. Timbaland, too. A Kennedy endorsement's got nuthin' over these musical producer masterminds.

Numero Quatro: sure the stormtroopers raided Barrio Viejo and took half our families away, but immigration is not a Latino/Latina issue. At least, we didn't make it that way. No, we see all these new reglas coming about and think, "Oye, I thought you always had to show forms of ID at a border entrance. How come they always busted out with that magnifying glass to inspect my license, social security card and Blockbuster membership?" The rest of you are barely catching up to the scrutiny we've always enjoyed (minus the palito with the mirror at the end of it that shows the greasy undercarriage of our ride. That one's still reserved for us.)

Numero Cinco: You'd be smart not to ask a puertorriqueña or cubano or guatemalteco yada yada yada what part of Mexico they're from. In fact, don't even ask that of Mexicans, because that look of shock on your face isn't very flattering when we tell you, "ummm, San Bernadino?"

Numero Seis: Photo ops with guacamole blotted all over the side of your birria-filled mouth at the taqueria stand isn't going to help win our support. The same goes with that patch of white sugar on the tip of your nose after biting into a pupusa. We might be impressed by your judgment to stay far away from a Chipotle for your latest press conference, but that doesn't mean we'll vote for you. Unless you're offering free food, then all bets are off the table.

Numero Siete: our schools are usually Centros de Asbestos y Mold - get to work on the why of that, and we'll march in the streets for you, too. We need something to do now that Tomás Tancredo and Diego Hunter are out of the race.

Numero Ocho: until we see sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads deployed in the Great Lakes to ward off the invading hordes of drug traffickers, that wall better not get built in our yards.

Numero Nueve: Ranchera Culture is alive and well in parts of the U.S. Try visiting us out in the middle of nowhere, sometime. You can skip the 'clearing brush' bit to maintain a safe distance from anything George W. Bush related. And don't worry, all the whispers you hear about those little towns being dangerous are all a front to keep out any newcomers who try to change the routine we've held for centuries. Oliver Stone can kiss our nalgas, however.

Numero Dies: The most important one, and probably the only relevant thing you'll read in this post. Learn the word Plática and practice it. Use your boca, if you must; but even better to do it with your ears.

*Never happened. My nana was/is a saint...though she did throw a phone at my tata once. Whatever he did, he never did it again. Believe me.

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