THE BLOG
08/17/2011 02:09 am ET Updated Oct 14, 2011

Should There Be a HuffPost Latino?

There it was. An email from Arianna Huffington herself. I opened it and read rapidly. She was inviting me to contribute to HuffPo Latino, a new section launching on the Huffington Post. You may think this akin to looking a gift horse in the mouth, but my first reaction was, "Does this mean I can't continue to write posts for The Huffington Post?" Which of course started me wondering, should there be a HuffPost Latino?

Now don't get me wrong. I'm a very proud Latina, but the reality is that I don't visit other media outlets that have stuck Latino on the end of their names. Not because I don't think they're quality experiences, I just don't think to visit them. Besides the Huffington Post, I frequent The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. Yet, truth be told, I'm often frustrated by the lack of Latino voices on these sites. There are very few Latinos working for these news outlets and even fewer writing for them.

So shouldn't a section of The Huffington Post dedicated to Latino voices and issues make me happy? It may be a step in the right direction, but I worry that a section that highlights our voices, might also corral our voices and distance us from where I believe we belong: in mainstream media.

Hispanics are 16% of the population, but if you took a look at mainstream media you'd never guess it. For years I thought I was related to Edward James Olmos because he was the only brown guy I ever saw on television and in movies. I found no solace in Univision because Spanish speaking blonde women in skimpy outfits only made me feel worse about my brown skin and gringa accent. I discovered that I am part of the most neglected group of Latinos -- born in the U.S. and English-dominant.

We are the second generation (and third and fourth) and nobody knows how to reach us. I learned this first hand when I ran a venture-backed digital media and marketing company focused on the Hispanic market. The experience taught me that while advertisers want to reach Hispanic consumers, they don't know how. (Hell, they don't even know what to call us, see my post Do You Call Them Hispanics or Latinos? and for some really interesting reading, check out the comments!).

Even though 50% of U.S. Hispanics are English-dominant, the prevailing advertising attitude was to advertise in Spanish. When I would point out the importance of connecting with English speaking U.S. Hispanics, most advertisers responded with, "Aren't they captured by our advertising on mainstream media?"

This, if you use my own story as anecdotal evidence, is true. I am captured by mainstream media. Except when I'm not. When I long for something that resonates on a more emotional level, as a brown gal I am usually out of luck.

I don't feel emotionally connected to a lot of what shows up in mainstream media, because so little of it includes me or addresses me. But, unfortunately, this lack of connection doesn't drive me to Latino-focused websites.

So will HuffPost Latino fill the void? I have hope for it. Maybe collecting our voices in one section will empower them. What do you think?