At a time when U.S. Hispanics are desperately in need of a voice in the national news, the rest of America continues to define the Latino identity. Unfortunately for Hispanics, this means that our concerns are ignored, our perspectives are not heard and our community finds it challenging to create and sustain any momentum. U.S. Hispanics are weakening because no one is defending our voice at a national level or translating the real issues in ways that connect culturally and cultivate an objective dialogue. In others words, the real stories that represent what Hispanics are thinking but not saying are not being told. Hispanics are eagerly awaiting the day to have their own Al Sharpton voice and a seat at the table to objectively address issues and translate them for the rest of America - who can also benefit from greater understanding and comprehension of the issues.
Hispanics are just as much to blame as anyone for their identity crisis and lack of a voice in the national news. We are a community divided, and must break down unnecessary barriers to unite. Hispanics are viewed by many as a community with too many agendas to protect. Though our intentions are in the right place, we are a community fueled by non-profit representation that protects and advocates for many important issues (but unfortunately creates division within our community).
How can Latinos advance if we continue to create microcosm clusters within our already fragmented community? How can we expect the rest of America to trust our ability to lead when we (Hispanics) have not yet proven that we can lead ourselves within our own community? This is certainly seems to support Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's perspective when he did not select Marco Rubio as his VP running mate.
U.S. Hispanics must stop merely adding to the noise by advocating to protect multiple agendas that the rest of America doesn't understand. Hispanics in America have a "brand problem" that fuels their identity crisis. Think about it. If non-Hispanics don't really know what Latinos stand for and/or our capabilities, how can we expect them to effectively represent our identity - to help revive our reputation and help give our voice a legitimate platform.
At a time when Hispanics must establish themselves as influential leaders who impact business, political and societal conversations, we continue to diminish our genuine and purposeful intentions by our self-inflicted actions that make it easy for non-Hispanics to marginalize our voice - and more difficult for politicians, corporate leaders and academics to take us seriously.
Hispanics are in desperate need of a voice on the national stage that is objective, decisive and is able to translate the needs of Latinos in America to debate and negotiate with key policy makers, academics and business leaders. This person should not be a politician, rich business owner, paid for hire talent or non-profit voice. It must be an individual that understands the way Hispanics think, act and innovate in order to fuel economic growth and U.S. global competitiveness. An individual that has lived the stereotypical Hispanic family lifestyle and that has used their cultural roots to find success and significance. Our national voice must be represented by an individual who has a vested interest in the advancement of the Hispanic community and who will be 100% committed regardless of the obstacles or set-backs. With our national voice, we must genuinely desire to make a difference by inspiring hope and addressing the realities of our complex community with a bit of tough-love.
The 2012 Presidential election is a defining moment for Hispanics in America. If Hispanics are not properly represented in the media, we are at risk of losing our identity, our language and our children's future. This election is also a historical moment for all minority groups, as the changing face of America continues to be met with tremendous resistance. If this resistance continues, there will be much to lose by everyone - and nobody wins.
Getting America back on track requires us all to embrace diversity, its fresh faces, voices and perspectives. As such, Hispanics must embrace the diversity that lies within our own community - and begin to seek and stand by a voice to help elevate our respectability and open doors of opportunity for the future of our children so they can confidently pursue the American dream, too.
"Respect our voice to earn our trust and our vote." This has been the message from Latino voters in 2012. As passionate as we are in expressing our point of view to those who want our vote - it's time to be equally as diligent to challenge ourselves to support a voice, regardless of their mother country of origin.
In the end, the one who assumes this role (the Hispanic Al Sharpton Voice) must be extremely courageous and able to deflect the hyper-levels of criticism that goes with this major responsibility. Let's make the path easier and excite someone out there to lead and protect our voice. It will only help us all - Hispanic and non-Hispanic - in the long run.
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