Category Archives: Latinos

Prominent Latinos are Burying Latinx. BIPOC Should Go Too.

To the extent that Latinx ever took off, it was primarily at universities like where I teach. That’s no surprise, as surveys reveal it to be more popular among the young, educated, and Democratic, which practically defines my students.

But it never gained real traction outside of the academic arena–only 2 to 5 percent of Latinos preferred it. For that matter, Hispanic is preferred to Latino by 57 to 37 percent. Many Latinos prefer to identify by national origin. New York has a Dominican but not a Latinx parade for a reason.

Latinx gained traction after the horrendous mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Several transgender and non-binary people injured in the attack preferred Latinx to express their identity over the gendered Latino and Latina. That’s a fine personal expression of their identities. But the progressive elite quickly picked it up as a general gender-neutral and transgender inclusive term, even though Latinx never was adopted by the broader Latino community.

Perhaps Rita Moreno’s character in the remake of One Day at a Time captured it best, when she asked “What the hell is a Latinx? Is it a Cuban Kleenex?”

One can imagine how the imposition of Latinx, which really does not work in Spanish, and was never embraced by the community might grate. Axios reports that Latinx is now being given a very public funeral by prominent Latinos as part of the backlash against the imposition of Latinx:

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ campaign arm, announced last month his congressional staff is not allowed to use “Latinx” in official communications. “When Latino politicos use the term it is largely to appease white rich progressives who think that is the term we use. It is a vicious circle of confirmation bias,” he tweeted.

Days after Gallego’s tweet, Domingo García, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, instructed staff and board members to drop the word “Latinx” from the group’s official communications, NBC Latino’s Suzanne Gamboa reported. “The reality is, there is very little to no support for its use, and it’s sort of seen as something used inside the Beltway or in Ivy League tower settings,” García told NBC News.

The Miami Herald, in an editorial, also denounced the term and urged left-leaning activists to “just drop it” while pointing to polls that the word wasn’t even popular among Latinos. “’Latinx’ has failed to gain buy-in from the people it’s supposed to empower. It’s time to retire it from official use,” the editorial board wrote.

Politics is about reaching people where they are. Hard to see how Democrats reach the Latino community, which appears to be trending Republican at a rate that ought to scare the bejeezus out of them, by using elite argot instead of terms used in everyday conversation.

When transgender people identify as Latinx, that is an authentic expression of their identity. When progressives use it for the entire community, it comes across as elite pretentiousness: I’m part of the enlightened who know better.

Dump BIPOC Too

While we’re at it, progressives should dump BIPOC too.

BIPOC stands for Black Indigenous People of Color. It was created as part of an effort to “center the voices of Black and Indigenous communities” lost in People of Color, especially when Blacks are the major victims of police violence.

In the New York Times Prof. Cynthia Frisby explained that “I think the major purpose of that was for including voices that hadn’t originally been heard that they wanted to include in the narrative, darker skin, blacks and Indigenous groups, so that they could make sure that all the skin shades are being represented.”

It’s hard to see how focusing on two groups is simultaneously more inclusive of all skin shades.

BIPOC has also been attacked for conflating the very different suffering of Black and Indigenous people under colonialism. McGill Prof. Charmaine Nelson told the Times  “To conflate everything in one is to erase, which is the very nature of genocidal practice.”

Far more important than these very academic debates is that the term is simply not widely used by ordinary people. Yet left-wing elites will nonetheless insist on using this elitist argot in the name of respecting people who, as with Latinx, not only don’t use the term but literally have no idea what they are talking about.

Montgomery County climate activist Jim Driscoll sent me an email on December 4th that led with “Over 50 BIPOC and other Montgomery County (MOCO) youth and their allies…”

Unraveling this phrase practically requires math. BIPOC and other youth is presumably the same as BIPOC and White youth since BIPOC nominally includes everyone but White people even as it focuses on Black and Indigenous people. Of course, that also means that BIPOC and White youth could just be written as youth. Adding “their allies” means that both youth and non-youth—people—were there.

I don’t know Jim Driscoll or his intent here. I’m sure it wasn’t to talk down to people. He probably was just doing his best to use what he thought is the correct inclusive terminology among Montgomery progressives as he pressed his climate agenda.

But that’s the problem. When progressives use language like this, intentionally or not, they come across to the average citizen as somewhat ridiculous elitist snobs. It’s not inclusive to use obscure language used primarily among educated elites.

It’s definitely not the way to win supporters–or elections. And it’s a lot more fun to win than to wrap yourself up in moral superiority.


Maryland Latinos Hit Hard by COVID-19

By Adam Pagnucco.

While the COVID-19 crisis has affected virtually everyone in the nation, it has not affected everyone equally. In a project for the Council for Advocacy and Policy Solutions, I analyzed COVID-19 infection rates by Maryland zip code to determine which demographic and economic factors were most associated with the spread of the virus. Many factors had some correlation, but none of the ones I examined had more of a correlation with COVID-19 than the Latino percentage of population.

For each of the more than 400 zip codes in Maryland, I collected the following data:

COVID-19 cases on 6/18/20
Average total income per tax return
Population per square mile
Median age
Percent Hispanic (any race)
Percent white non-Hispanic
Percent black
Percent Asian
Percent of population age 25 and older with less than high school graduate level of education
Percent of population age 25 and older with graduate and/or professional degree
Percent of population age 5 and older who speak a language other than English at home

I then used four techniques to identify correlations between each of these factors and the number of COVID-19 cases per 1,000 residents.

5 category comparison
For each factor, five categories ranging from low to high were measured. For example, for median age, COVID-19 cases per 1,000 residents were estimated for median ages of under 35, 35-39.9, 40-44.9, 45-49.9 and 50 or older.

Correlation coefficient
A correlation coefficient measures the correlation between two variables. A coefficient of 1.0 means that the two are perfectly and positively correlated. A coefficient of -1.0 means that the two are perfectly and negatively correlated. A coefficient of 0.0 means that the two are uncorrelated.

R-squared measures the percentage of variation in one variable explained by the variation of a second variable. An R-squared of 100% means that 100% of the variation in one variable is explained by variation of a second variable. An R-squared of 0% means that 0% of the variation in one variable is explained by variation of a second variable. Unlike the correlation coefficient, R-squared cannot be negative and therefore does not indicate whether the correlation between two variables is positive or negative.

X-Y chart
Each data point is plotted on a chart with the x-axis representing one variable and the y-axis representing another. A line of best fit is also shown summarizing the correlation between the two variables.

Among the factors I studied, none had a stronger correlation with infection rate by zip code than the Hispanic/Latino percentage of the population. The summary table appears below.

As the Hispanic percentage of the population rises, so too does the infection rate. Maryland zip codes in which Hispanics account for 10% or more of the population had infection rates roughly five times greater than zip codes in which Hispanics accounted for less than 1% of the population. Overall, roughly half of the variation in infection rates among Maryland zip codes was explained by Hispanic percentage alone.

The chart below shows the distribution of zip code data points. The vertical axis plots the number of COVID-19 cases per thousand residents as of 6/18/20. The horizontal axis plots the Hispanic percentage of each zip code’s population. The association is not perfectly linear but the trend is plain.

The data do not demonstrate why this association exists. A possible reason might be heavy Latino presence in essential sectors like agriculture, food manufacturing, grocery stores, warehouses and delivery, all of which have heightened risks of virus exposure. Relatively low health insurance coverage exacerbates the issue.

The second highest correlation I found with infection rates was the percent of population age 5 and older who speak a language other than English at home. This factor is closely associated with the Hispanic population percentage.

Many of the other factors I examined had some correlation with infection rates although none of them were quite as strong as percentage Hispanic. This has a clear implication for policy makers: dealing with COVID-19 requires special attention to this demographic. If the virus spreads unchecked in this community, no other community will be safe.

The entire study, including results for other factors, can be found here.


Clinton Campaign Hires Latino Decisions for Polling

This is a smart decision by the Clinton campaign. Latino Decisions is the gold standard for polling Latinos, whose support will be critical if she hopes to secure the Democratic nomination and the Presidency.

The following is by Stephen A. Nuño:

The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign has hired Latino-owned firm Latino Decisions to join the campaign’s polling team, sources told NBC News Latino Wednesday.

The hiring of Latino Decisions brings aboard significant knowledge to the campaign about Latino voters that will continue to build up the outreach efforts of the Clinton campaign into the Latino community.

The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to emails and a call about the hiring.

The Clinton campaign has gone on an unprecedented hiring spree of Latino outreach specialists, such as Amanda Renteria, their National Political Director, and Lorella Praeli, the campaign’s Latino Outreach Director.

The firm’s co-Principles, Matt Barreto and Gary Segura, bring with them a significant amount of academic heft to their polling operation. Barreto is a professor of political science and Chicano Studies at UCLA and Segura is a professor of political science at Stanford University.

Michael Jones-Correa, a professor of political science at Cornell, welcomed the news about Latino Decisions as a step forward for the Clinton team.

“LD provides essential policy relevant public opinion on Latinos in the US today, reflecting the very highest standards and best practices in the public opinion field,” said Jones-Correa.

The addition of a Latino-owned firm to the campaign comes after findings in a study by PowerPAC+ reported by NBC News which highlighted the significantly small number of minority firms hired by Democrats to work on their campaigns as paid consultants. Even though the vast majority of Latinos and African Americans vote for Democrats, about 98 percent of of the $514 million spent by the three national Democratic Party committees in 2012 went to non-minority consultants.

Much of the advocacy work by Latino Decisions has been with groups with deep ties within the Latino community, such as America’s Voice and National Council of La Raza.

Frank Sharry, founder and executive director of America’s Voice, has praised the work of Barreto and Segura.

“Latino Decisions has developed a methodologically-sound, data-driven approach to polling Latino voters. Given that the road to the White House cuts through the Latino community, the Clinton campaign is fortunate – and smart – to have them on board,” said Sharry.