Hispandering? Serving the Hispanic Community Should Be Heartfelt

It was mid-July of last year when I first walked into the OU Web Communications office to discuss a potential position that would be devoted to work with the Latino community. Like any other interview, we discussed my qualifications, job expectations and so forth.

Yet, I clearly recall that somewhere along the conversation…I asked: “Why are you doing this, in Spanish?”

The answer was responded in our last blog, but it is worth mentioning again:

To better serve the Hispanic community. Expecting nothing in return.

And I can’t help to emphasize this last sentence.

Let me confess that it is one of my biggest pet peeves when people or businesses try to capitalize from minority groups through political propaganda.

With another presidential election approaching this year, candidates from both parties have gone beyond to get the Latino vote.

Democratic party candidate Hillary Clinton has used: “La Hillary”, “Tu Hillary” and “your Abuela (grandma) to attract Hispanics at the polls. Meanwhile, Republican party Jeb Bush did a full ad in Spanish to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Both candidates were target of criticism for “Hispandering”.

NPR’s reporter Shereen Marisol Meraji explained this portmanteau on her article:

““Hispandering” is a mashup of “Hispanic” and “pandering” that means faking interest in Hispanic issues and culture for self-serving reasons.”

As a result of an evident political strategy, skepticism has grown in Latino communities.

Consciously or unconsciously, Latinos know that they are not the first on the list.

Having said that, immigration, economy, health…any issue that could improve the Latinos’ quality of life is priority for them, and it is key to get their acceptance.

When the well-being of a minority group is genuinely prioritized, the support of those groups could be longevous.

According to CNN en Español’s analysis, Latinos will make up 9.9% of total voters in the upcoming elections.

While registration could be yet again low among Latinos, the question for many remains: What will be the Latino voter turnout this time?

Oblivious of asking: What are they doing to deserve my vote?



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