The Missing Latino Voice

Every author in the El Paso News has their reasons for writing. My fundamental reason is the lack of Latino voices, especially Mexican ones. Do not get me wrong, there are plenty of Mexican authors producing excellent works. Unfortunately many are in Spanish leaving a large segment of readers out. The most important place where the Latino voice is silent is in American politics.

There are plenty of voices speaking on Latino issues in English but many, if not most are Anglo-centric leaving the Latino voice silent.

The narrative for Latino politics, especially Mexican ones is missing.

There are some who will argue otherwise but the controversy over American Dirt poignantly supports my argument. The issue with American Dirt is the author’s lack of expressing the Mexican-centric reality. Instead, the author distorted the issue of immigration through the optics of the Anglo narrative.

When a killer came to El Paso to kill Mexicans, the national narrative devolved away from someone targeting Mexicans to kill towards the national issue of gun control.

Why?

Because the national narrative was led by individuals like Bob Moore, formally of the El Paso Times and others like Debbie Nathan. There is nothing wrong with Moore or Nathan writing about the El Paso murders. Or, Jeanine Cummins writing American Dirt because their voices are just as important on the issues.

But where are the Diario, TeleMundo or Univison journalists? Yes, it is important to have Spanish language voices, imperative even. But the national dialog important to Latinos and Mexicans is being conducted in English.

Therein lies the reason why border security, immigration and other Latino issues are distorted.

We are letting others speak for us.

As Latinos we are to blame. It is us, that need to take control of our destiny and insert our voices into the narrative.

We, as Latinos, need to speak up.

My personal hope for El Paso News is that it becomes an incubator for the future English language Latino writers who speak up for Latinos.

I purposely chose the word Latino to describe the voice that is needed because, in my opinion, Latino is not a skin color or national origin, but rather a state of mind.

To be clear, borderlanders, like Moore and Nathan, Beto O’Rourke and many others are as Latino as I am because they encompass the large rainbow that is the Latino culture. They each represent a perspective of the larger whole and their voices are an important part of the discussion.

What is missing is the Mexican-centric voice.

This is where we need to step up our game.