In my last post I wrote about my trip to Los Angeles to work on a Hallmark Movie of the week, called Meddling Mom, which, incidentally, will be shown Mother's Day, 2013. While I was there, I auditioned and tested for a maid and nanny role respectively. I didn't get the gig, and as much as I would have loved to score another lucrative network TV job, deep down inside, I felt a sigh of relief at not having to portray a stereotype. Why do I still feel like this after all these years? Is it just my pride, ego, ambition? I clean my own home and I'm very good at it. I am a neat freak. I actually clean up after myself when I leave hotel rooms. I know I would be great playing a maid. The late, wonderful Lupe Ontiveros often played and perfected those roles with intelligence, grace, and integrity.
I've been told many times, however, I'm different. I don't always fit the stereotype.
I see an attempt and desire to cash in on the growing Hispanic market by Hollywood, but they don't quite get us, or understand the nuances within the Latino culture, yet.
This brings me to this past election and how the Hispanics helped President Obama get re-elected. I was one of the many who voted for Obama, because in my opinion, his accomplishments are many, despite obstructions at every road, and he has always presented himself as truly caring, highly intelligent, very evolved and deeply concerned about the planet and America's infrastructure.
It may come as a surprise that I was once a Republican. I grew up with a very loving first generation Cuban father who became a Republican once we moved to South Florida from the Bronx, NY in the mid '60s. I know they voted for Kennedy, because I will never forget their deep sadness and loss when he was assassinated. But somehow, we became Republicans once we moved to Dade County, although I suspect my Puerto Rican mother secretly voted as a Democrat. It could be that my father was trying to assimilate into the Cuban politics that still have a stronghold on Miami. I voted for Reagan in his first term just because my father did. When I finally left home, attended college, became an actress, and began to travel and see the world, my view point slowly changed and evolved. I had become a Democrat and I could no longer accept my father's politics. I began to see the human condition differently than my folks. I found myself in European circles, fighting and arguing in President Clinton's defense.
For the most part, Hispanics, when they do get out and vote, have leaned Democratic. If Clinton hadn't become involved in the Elian Gonzalez case, that might have helped Gore win the then-divided Cuban-Americans in Dade County. Although I still believe, wholeheartedly, the election in 2000 was stolen from Gore in Florida.
Hispanics are a hardworking, intricate group, and they want to assimilate and adapt to the American ideal. My folks were middle class. They worked very hard, paid their taxes, got their small pensions and were proud of their humble but significant accomplishments.
When the Republicans chose a man who subtly but publicly denigrated the huge and growing population of these hard workers, how could they expect to have won their votes; or did they just ignore our intelligence, passion, and hope for the future of their children?!
As in any ethnic group, some Hispanics are religious, some are not. We are maids, nannies, nurses, teachers, gardeners, police officers, dental hygienists, entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, and professional athletes. We also come in all sizes, colors and temperaments.
I aspire to the likes of PBS anchor Maria Hinojosa, conductor Gustavo Dudamel, UFW labor union founder Dolores Huerta, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomajor, musician Carlos Santana and comedian Louis C.K. (yes, he's Mexican), to name a few.
After listening to pundits, commentators, and journalists in the last few days after the election, I became uneasy with their repetition of how Hispanics are to blame for Mitt Romney's overwhelming loss. Are the Republicans secretly gathering their dwindling outdated, narrow-minded, broken-down forces to try and avenge their loss by passing even more strict immigration laws for Hispanics? When are the Republicans going to embrace the ever-growing Hispanic people and their rich culture and interests with sincerity, respect, and a genuine concern and not treat them like bastard children they have to take care of? Hispanics are proud and do not enjoy getting handouts. This is why we work hard.
President Obama struck a chord with not only Hispanics but all ethnic minorities, as well as whites, because he understands the human condition on a very deep and personal
level. He never judged, belittled, or underestimated his country and what it stands for in 2012.
I'm looking "Forward" to the next four years and how Obama will leave his legacy and the state of the union. I have hope!