Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It Takes More than a Hispanic Surname to be Hispanic

One of the questions most frequently posed by readers of the Truth About Kos is whether Markos C. Alberto Moulitsas Zúñiga is Hispanic or not. At this time we have to conclude that, while MAMZ's family is Latino, MAMZ himself is unequivocal not Latino, if you apply Congressman Menendez' test, as he explains it  below.

First, just read this article written by Markos C. Alberto Moulitsas Zúñiga, in which he says unequivically that Hispanics are a "they", not a "we:"

And as I left the ugly reality of racism behind, it struck me that what was such an easy and trivial exercise for me would be impossible for anyone whose skin color or religious persuassion made them the target of bigotry and discrimination. They would never be able to escape who they were. Northern Star Online.
"Being Hispanic for us means much more than having a surname.'' -- New Jersey Rep. Bob Menendez, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

EXECUTIVE SESSION -- (Senate - February 10, 2003)

[Page: S2067]
"Being Hispanic for us means much more than having a surname,'' said New Jersey Rep. Bob Menendez, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. "It means having some relationship with the reality of what it is to live in this country as a Hispanic American.'' Even though Estrada is of Hispanic origin, and even though he lives in this country, Menendez argued, he falls short of being a true Hispanic. ``Mr. Estrada told us that him being Hispanic he sees having absolutely nothing to do with his experience or his role as a federal court judge. That's what he said to us.'' Menendez found that deeply troubling.

( . . . )

Angelo Falcon, an official of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, railed about the "Latino Horatio Alger story that's been concocted'' about Estrada's success and, more generally, about the "concocted, invented Latino imagery'' of Estrada's life.
"As the Latino community becomes larger and larger in the country, as we gain more political influence, as we become more diverse, the issue of what is a Hispanic becomes more problematic,'' Falcon explained. ``It's not good enough to simply say that because of someone's genetics or surname that they should be considered Hispanic." [Page: S2067]
Estrada was not confirmed because, in addition to being a radical right-wing Republican, he just was not truly Hispanic, although the George W. Bush Administration wanted to pass him off as Hispanic.

Compare the histories of Miguel A. Estrada and Markos C. Alberto Moulitsas Zúñiga, apply the Menendez test to MAMZ's actual background and his 1% Latino DailyKos blog, and decide for yourself whether MAMZ is truly Hispanic.

Editor's Note of October:  I have to acknowledge that by having his honeymoon celebration at his family hotel in El Salvador, MAMZ demonstrated that his disavowal of all things Latino is more a political and public relations move in the United States than a Justice Clarence Thomas-like anti-Blackness.  MAMZ finds it more convenient to be white in the United States, and so that's how he presents himself, even though his family, with whom he is intimately involved, is white but Salvadoran.

Does MAMZ embrace Latinos and Hispanics in the United States?  His organizer for Netroots Nation says she "hate[s] using the word diversity" and DailyKos itself has only a one percent readership (see Quantcast statistics in right sidebar) and even less dedicated Latino and Hispanic participation.  MAMZ has a Latino extended family that is emotionally and financially fundamental to him, and he has married a Cuban woman with a Cuban surname (that is reminiscent of a pre-1959 Cuban dictator), but mMAZ clearly finds it more convenient to be an unambiguous white man in the United States, as the quote above indicates.

If you're Latino, don't expect any help or an embrace from MAMZ because of it.  MAMZ has "left the ugly reality of racism behind," (see his college newspaper archives for his statement on the topic) and determined whiteness very clearly delineates the degree to which he can be Latino and still take advantage of being white. 

At the same time, the aristocracy of Latin American countries tends to be of white Spanish (from Spain) heritage, and MAMZ can comfortably relate to this aspect of his heritage, as long as he is not confused in the United States with Latinos and Hispanics and is given the privileges and respect believed to be due to a white man, by virtue of his white skin and male gender.

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