The “ethnic media”

From the Washington’s Voz, the bilingual newspaper in the DC Metropolitan Area.

Now they call us “ethnic media.” They see that “ethnic media” as a ray of hope for the resuscitation of a sharp eye in the so called mainstream Media, which seems to be taken hard blows from every direction.

They call us “ethnic media” and they don’t realize what they are saying. Are the New York Times or the Washington Post “ethnic media?” Is so CNN?

As Washington’s Voz was at the annual conference of the National Council of La Raza, in Philadelphia, where the leaders of the Hispanic community were connecting to find ways to become each time more integrated into the American society -from which we could only be isolated in an artificial manner.

Calling us “ethnic media” brings to bear a myriad of implications: somehow Hispanics, Corean, Chinese, African Americans are ethnic groups, but Anglo-Saxon – i.e. whites – are the norm, they are not an ethnic group; also, it seems that mainstream media is made only by Anglo-Saxons: no Hispanics, no blacks.

When at the conference we were all trying to find out what makes us all just one people, in this case, the American people, we keep seem intended and unintended efforts to divide us.

It’s very interesting how Raúl Yzaguirre always had the clear vision that this is not a matter of having a “Latino” institution but an American institution, because that’s what we are.

Probably they find calling us “ethnic media” a good thing, innocuous, and well intentioned. We should feel honored. Probably they don’t realize the mental racism hidden on that term. From a mere anthropological perspective, it brings back the myth of the bom sauvage, he who is different – and to some such as the Minute Man, the sauvage pure and simple.

It’s important to remember they back then assume that a different system was the lack of system, and that different values meant absence of values. Now, probably they intent to be nice, but we don’t really need niceties. Thank you very much. It’s the mainstream media who needs some help when with all those resources and power, have let the big story slip right out of their hands.

But since there are tons of latinos, blacks, Asians and some Martians making what they call the mainstream media we are just as guilty.

They don’t even has the excuse that we “look” different, because we are so mixed and so diverse that we look like everything and anything.

It’s about time to stop talking about the “Hispanic contributions” because that implies that something existed previously to what the Hispanics has contributed. But history tells us that, indeed, we were here from the start, and before, so there was no American culture previously to the Hispanic incidence, let alone the African American incidence.

The discourse of contributions to a preexistent entity is deferential towards that entity, and is patronizing at best. The new separation of “ethnic media” vs. “media” is a new way of dividing us, and extricating us from a place to where we just belong. We are not guests here. We are building this country as much as anyone else. We are just the Media, and we are just Americans.


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