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The Huffington Post’s Latino Voices Knows Which Latinos Are The Good Ones

The United States is a strange place. On the one hand, it was built on the mainstream ideology that people should have the opportunity to pursue their dreams without being persecuted so long as they don’t break laws or infringe on another’s right to do the same. On the other, much of the country exists in a bland, corporate-friendly, business casual uniformity that has wrenched any semblance of culture from the mainstream. The number one beer in the U.S. is Bud Light. The top restaurant in the U.S. is Subway. The success of these big companies depends on standardizing production so people can mindlessly consume their products.

So what makes the United States–a country that is by-and-large more comfortable with Taco Bell than abuelita’s authentic home cooking– so appealing to Latinos? Maybe the answer lies in an article that recently appeared on the Huffington Post’s Latino Voices. The article alludes to the “American Dream” and the Latino place in said Dream. It argues that Latinos are too rich a culture and too diverse to be grouped and placed into an easily defined box. And then proceeds to back up this claim by putting a group of Latinos into an easy to define list titled, Year in Review: The Most Latino Latinos.

Wait, what?

Sorry, guys. You’re not "Latino Latinos." Try learning how to hit a baseball.

How can this list espouse the idea of celebrating Latinos from all walks of life while simultaneously telling us that some Latinos aren’t Latino enough by indicating that there exists some Latinos who carry the noble quality of being “The Most Latino Latinos?” The title alone is enough to evoke memories of when people questioned whether or not Obama was black enough. Black enough for what, exactly? Hanging out with Tom Sawyer? I would like to see the Huffington Post’s Year In Review: The Blackest Blacks; or Year In Review: The Whitest Whites.

We didn’t make the list either!

So while the title of the article is problematic, there’s another aspect to consider. Like Subway or Bud Light, the appeal of this Latino list exists in how easy it is to mindlessly consume. Because their article is meant to be a quick round-up of people, it must be quick in making its point, and so it adds nothing of any substance to the conversation it’s trying to start. When discussions on race are winnowed down to a blurb-sized collection of “Latino Latinos,” it’s only a matter of time before Latino Voices becomes mental junk-food of the Taco Bell variety.

If you want to make a list celebrating Latinos who have simultaneously held onto their cultural identity while assimilating into hesitant society, please go ahead. But no matter how politely you try to justify your reasons for doing so, please don’t make this into a contest. The last thing any group of people need is another arbitrary hierarchy to exist within.

[Huffington Post]

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