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Mitt Romney is not being Latino

Recently, Latinos were greeted with a sense of hope. Despite our presence in North America predating the thirteen British colonies, or the fact that we’re the largest minority in the country, Latinos in the United States have yet to achieve that great symbol of American power – the presidency. Catholics have Kennedy, African-Americans have Obama, and we have…nobody (tear). And yet, recently the Latino blogosphere has been heating up with news that we just might have our first Latino president. No, Bill Richardson hasn’t decided to get some charisma. They say our future ethnic hero could be (drum roll) Mitt Romney. But wait, hold on, before you get an aneurism trying to figure out how someone who said that undocumented immigrants should, “leave and get in line,” could possibly be Latino, have faith, because there is good news, Mitt Romney is not actually Latino.

Let’s looks some facts about Mitt Romney’s supposed Mexican ancestry

  • Mitt Romney was born in the U.S.
  • While it’s true that Romney’s father George was born in Mexico, near the U.S. border, his parents were of American ancestry.
  • George Romney’s grandparents immigrated to Mexico to join a Mormon colony and avoid prosecution for polygamy.
  • Members of the Mormon colony didn’t intermarry with the locals.
  • George Romney and his parents returned to the United States during the Mexican Revolution
  • Mitt Romney does not have any of the Latino cultural traits that mark us as a distinct ethnic group

So there you have it. Mitt Romney’s father had the genetic accident of being born in Mexico. That is all. If my parents had lived in a New Yorker community in Uzbekistan, practiced only New Yorker traditions (being in a rush all the time, knowing where the best pizzerias are, being better than you), and then came back to New York and gave birth to me, it probably wouldn’t make me Uzbek.

Before we all start cooing the next time his Spanish-speaking son narrates another campaign ad, and he reminds the right audience that his father was born in Mexico, let’s remember the truth. I’m not telling how to vote in this upcoming election, and if you vote for Romney, that’s fine. If you’re looking to elect the first Latino president, you may have to wait a bit. Mitt Romney isn’t Latino.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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