As the curtain comes down on another year, many of us will take some time to sit back and reflect. And as the dawn of a new year approaches, many of us will also attempt to adopt a resolution that will lead to self-improvement, greater happiness, and a better quality of life. As I reflect on the year that was, for the greater Latino community, I have developed my own New Year’s resolution for the community at large, in an effort to forge a greater sense of unity and a more refined public direction. Here is the three-part resolution that I feel all Latinos should consider.
Abandon anti-immigrant rhetoric: As a Latino living in the United States, engaging in and supporting the anti-immigrant narrative represents a hypocrisy of almost biblical proportions. When I examine the immigrant community, I see a fascinating group of dedicated individuals who bring new, refreshing ideas and perspectives to the melting pot that is this country. But, there is a significant group of Latinos in this country who are quite fond of regurgitating a false narrative that accuses these individuals of “invading” this country to “steal our jobs and resources.”
The irony is that this is almost the exact same narrative that has existed for decades with the purpose of fostering hatred against all Latinos, including those who are American citizens (the Mexican repatriation of the 1930’s most easily comes to mind). As Latinos, we must put aside our desire to further alienate and ostracize folks of our own ethnicity if we wish to build a larger and more powerful constituency.
Stop disparaging the poor and disenfranchised: There is a sad tendency in human nature to perceive others’ shortcomings as resulting solely from their own unwillingness to try hard enough. Poverty is ravaging our community at alarming rates, particularly with respect to our youth. Rather than examining this complex social situation with the hopes of finding viable long-term solutions, there are many Latinos who, because of their own egocentric tendencies, would rather disparage the poor and blame them for their own perils. Again, the irony and hypocrisy are palpable, given that this narrative has previously been used against all Latinos and Blacks in an effort to undermine the role of systemic injustice.
Realize you are a part of something wonderful: The global Latino community is nearly 600 million strong across six continents. It is in possession of trillions of dollars worth of financial, cultural, intellectual, social, educational, scientific, political, and organizational capital. Imagine just for a moment the spectacular things we can create if we placed less importance on our petty differences, and concentrated solely on our common vision? There would be no limit to the degree of wealth and equity we as a community can add to this world.
I, for one, remain hopeful and optimistic. If we can collectively assume the civic and moral responsibility for our futures, and pledge to make the world a better place for all, then each passing year will give new meaning to the term “Feliz Año Nuevo.”