I watched it, and along with some other big mouths on the bilingual webosphere, I feel it focused too narrowly on Latinos in dire straights. I would have called the two-part series “Some Latinos in America.”
For reaction, you can watch the comic Mike Robles in this blistering and funny video speaking out about the series.
“Fifty-one million Latinos in America and this is the best you can do?” he asks.
Julio Varela, a Boston-based writer and marketer, asked for success stories on his blog to counter the depressing stuff. He got a lot of them. Here is an open letter to Soledad O’Brien by Nydia Teter (imagine the mail Soledad is getting!) and you can follow the tweets by searching #latinoinamerica. Also, here are some thoughts by prominent Latinos in America.
To me, the series focused too heavily on those at the very top and those at the very bottom — Willy Chirino versus 15-year-old illegal immigrant facing deportation.
The millions of Latinos in the middle? Not made for prime time TV news, apparently.
Now, I may be one of the few Cuban-Americans who likes CNN (they call it the Castro News Network in Miami), and I met with one of the show’s producers this past winter when he was here during Nashville’s English-Only vote. He was a very, very nice man, so I hope he forgives me my opinion.
So, while the racial and ethnic divide going on in Shenandoah, Pa. got highlighted on CNN, the story of Nashvillians resoundingly coming together to beat back a regressive (yes, that is my opinion) policy, didn’t get a second of play. In voting against an English-only government, Nashville showed the country that division must not always overshadow a changing community. It would have been nice to show viewers that people of all creeds worked their butts off to make sure Nashville voted against the caca resolution aimed so clearly against newly-arrived Latinos. CNN had footage.
Now, I am not being dismissive of the hard issues CNN covered. I care about the effects of illegal immigration and I care about Latinos new to this country who are struggling. My money is where my mouth is on that. I volunteer my time with, and give my charitable dollars to, a local non-profit who works solely with the Latino community in Middle Tennessee.
But, when you say “Latino in America,” the reality is that we’re not all struggling, and we haven’t all overcome something gigantic. We don’t wear fruit on our heads. We’re just average people whose roots extend to another country, people who pay their mortgage, raise their kids in the suburbs of Middle America, maybe speak a little Spanglish, and for some fluke of genetics are really, really good at shaking our colita when salsa plays.
The tongue-wagging online and on Twitter was about that…too many average, acculturated Latinos who didn’t see themselves reflected in something titled “Latino in America.”
But damn, how do you even really begin to capture it?