Originally posted here
I've been asked that question often in my life, as if being Latino and not a liberal was a crime. As if only white people had the freedom to stray from liberal ideology.
First Sen. Hillary Clinton's Presidential campaign spread the offensive and far fetched rumor that Latinos were less likely to vote for a black candidate for President
, loosely basing such a ridiculous idea on tensions between Mexican/Chicano gangs and African-American gangs in Los Angeles. Now, the media has chosen to embrace a more truthful assumption about the Latino vote in this country: that many Latinos vote conservatively.
This assumption is based mostly (and solidly) on how much of the Latino vote George W. Bush won in 2000 and 2004. But I think some people-namely white liberals-are often shocked that a Latino can be anything but a blindly loyal Democrat. A lot of black people are also surprised to find out I do not subscribe to liberalism. I'm surprised why more black Americans aren't conservative.
At the risk of using sweeping generalizations, I don't think that most people would doubt that blacks and Latinos are people of faith. Latinos pray almost as many times a day as Muslims, and blacks are the only people I know whose voice mail greetings are most likely to tell callers to have "a blessed day." Like the Christian Right and the Republicans who pander to that voting bloc, Latinos and blacks invoke God into their personal lives on a daily basis, and not just when they take the Lord's name into vain, either.
Liberals, on the other hand, are widely regarded as being secular and atheist. Most white college professors are both liberal and secular to the point where they actually look down on people who believe in God. Most white liberals couldn't care less that the right wing segment of American media label them as Godless and blame them for everything from the overblown "war on Christmas" to an alleged opposition to school prayer...but Latinos care.
While white liberals may enjoy depicting the evangelical Christian community in the U.S. as one operated solely by stereotypical angry white males, most within the mainstream evangelical community know that Latinos make an enormous contribution
to their efforts. Given the large numbers that Latinos as well as African-Americans make to this country's evangelical community, it would seem ridiculous to believe the stereotypical depiction of evangelical Christians as "angry white men". Do Caucasians still think all Latinos are Roman Catholic?The mass voluntary conversion of Latinos from Catholicism to Protestantism (especially the more evangelical sects) is nothing new, and it did not all take place in the United States.
Like my father, I was raised Protestant (he in the Pentecostal Church, me in the Reformed Church) after his father converted from Catholicism in his native Puerto Rico because he believed Jesus Christ told him to do so in a dream. My mother was raised Roman Catholic, but after she completed her Confirmation was never forced to attend services by her atheist father or her mother, who practiced a mix of Santeria and Spiritism
. Talk about religious diversity!
Latinos, at least the ones who can vote, are also more supportive of securing our borders than most gringos would expect, another reason for Latinos to not vote Democrat. Most Latinos in this country are not recent immigrants. Chicanos are the descendants of the mestizos (Native Americans mixed with Spaniards) who lived on the land stolen by the United States from Mexico in the 1840s. Many Chicanos/Xicanos are fourth, fifth and sixth-generation Americans and do not have a personal stake in the immigration debate. Some Chicanos have closer ties to various Native American groups in the U.S. (i.e., Navajo, Pueblo, etc.) than to Mexicans.
Cubans can immigrate to the U.S. more easily than Mexicans and other Latin Americans because of Washington's cold-shoulder policy with Cuba and its communist regime. So they don't have any personal stake in the immigration debate, either. Neither do Puerto Ricans, whose homeland is a U.S. colony and have enjoyed U.S. citizenship since 1917.
So when the Republicans talk about securing the U.S. border, many Latino voters listen carefully, because it may be them who their bosses may replace with illegals who will work under harsher conditions for less money. Latinos, who make up the smallest number of college graduates in this country, are the ones most likely to be replaced by illegal workers.
While many Latino voters may personally know someone who is undocumented, I'm not sure how personal a stake they may have in any kind of government crackdown on illegal immigration. It is fairly safe to say, however, that Latinos are far more sympathetic to illegal immigrants than non-Latinos. But expecting all Latinos to be pro-illegal immigration makes as much sense as assuming all Latinos are immigrants.
Republican support of school vouchers may be another reason Latinos tend to vote conservative. While many self-appointed black leaders and other puppets of the left preach the wonders of our broken public school system, many Latino families have long since given up on public schools and put whatever they can together to send their children to private schools. For example, in the New York City county of the Bronx with its heavily Latino population, high crime rates and low property values, you are very likely to see Latino children in Catholic school uniforms during the weekdays. The Bronx is home to some of the most dangerous public schools in the city, most of which have devolved into holding pens for juvenile delinquents who disturb the children who are there to learn.
Black Republicans and black conservatives are hard to find, often because those who are become pariahs in their own community. I'm not sure how Republicans became the official enemy of black people given that slavery was ended by a Republican President and that Republican Congressmembers signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was actually opposed by Southern Democrats, into federal law.
The history of the relationship between the black community and the Democratic Party has been one of broken promises and failed policies. Now that the Dems have begun paying attention to Latinos, they have already fed us a string of soon-to-be-broken promises similar to the ones that have been fed to African-Americans.
How can a Latino be conservative? How can I not be?