So much for Hispanic Heritage Month

My niece and nephew sang “La Bamba” last week as part of their school’s Hispanic Heritage Month festivities and that may have been the highlight for 2011’s commemoration of Latinos.

Truth is, life isn’t so hot for many people of Hispanic descent in the U.S. Over six million Hispanic children are currently living in poverty, which is reprehensible this day and age. Alabama is coming down hard on illegal immigrants, which is causing a mass yet quiet exodus.

And the cherry on this sundae comes from the governor of my “current state” (in all aspects and implications of that phrase). In a bid to not only acquire the Republican nomination for president but to set a record for verbal diarrhea Rick Perry has pledged to send our battle-weary troops into a sovereign nation in an effort to kill off the baddies within the drug cartels. I don’t have the time or blog space to discuss the millions of reasons why this is a bad idea. But let’s just say that even a pacifist like me knows that poking at that wasp’s nest is a horrible folly.

In terms of Hispanic Heritage Month I’m not keen on the general image that’s emerging from these recent articles; it’s too easy to connect the dots and come up with the conclusion/solution that  poor/illegal/drug cartel Hispanics are a nuisance that must be confronted by military intervention. The media is really highlighting the “panic” in Hispanic.

In no way do I want to minimize the severity of poverty among Hispanic families, the issue of immigration, or the drug wars. They are an unfortunate reality for many Americans, including non-Latinos. But as far as a PR campaign, the Hispanic community could benefit from some good news. Or at least, something that shows the advantages of having Hispanics in the U.S. Let’s start with Sofia Vergara and her efforts with bilingual education. And for all you Spanish-speakers out there, here’s an example of cultural exchange between the U.S. and Chile from one of my favorite TV shows. I’m open to further suggestions.

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