“White Latino” Leaders: A Foregone Conclusion or Mischaracterization of Latino Society

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Law, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2012-03-20 02:15Z by Steven

“White Latino” Leaders: A Foregone Conclusion or Mischaracterization of Latino Society

The Modern American
Volume 3, Issue 2 (Summer-Fall, 2007)
Article 11
pages 62-65

Eric M. Gutierrez

Am I white? My personal inquiry into race begins with a school picture of a six-year-old boy. My dark brown hair, parted to one side, falls impishly over half-cocked eyebrows. My eyes, more almond-shaped than oval, are a murky blue with green speckles. My nose, a thicker version of the traditional aquiline Roman contour, fades into a tiny bulbous tip. My smile, close-mouthed and askance. My skin, white, even with a faded summer tan.

If I am white, whether I have claimed it or not, has it afforded me the privileges of a racial hierarchy skewed towards the dominant white culture? Moreover, has my apparent skin color placed me in a leadership role in the Latino community based merely on society’s perception of what that race is? Will that perception imply that I will turn my back on the Latino community that raised me, opting instead for the spoils of an influential white power structure?

In this article I consider the arguments presented by Ian Haney López in his essay entitled “White Latinos” and analyze the validity of his statements on white Latino community leaders. I examine and challenge López’s assertions regarding the characterization of Latino leaders, generally; and his description of an emerging Latino culture identified as “Mexican Americans,” the “Brown Race,” and the “New Whites,” specifically.

The most crucial assertion by López is that white Latino leaders are the most prevalent and influential in Latino society and that by emphasizing their whiteness as a key component of their identity, they facilitate the mistreatment of Latinos and buttress social inequality. Although I agree with many of López’s assertions about white Latino leaders, I believe the aforementioned assertion is a mischaracterization of Latino leadership and neglects to consider the cultural values from which these leaders arise…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,