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Blacks and Latinos/Hispanics :
Coalition or a Collision

February 1, 2007  Commentary Archives. The Latino/Hispanic immigration explosion in
America has quickly changed the  landscape of many low income neighborhoods.
The  census data shows that by 2050 this group will be a dominant minority. In the
low income neighborhoods of America. It will be a battle for space and jobs between
Blacks and Latinos.

Can the 'hood absorb this fast growing influx of Latinos without a rise in the level of
animosity between Blacks and Latinos?

Can Blacks and Latinos look back and draw on the experiences of "The Rainbow
Coalition"? Or is what some perceive to be the failure of that coalition going to hinder
any reconciliation. But this begs the question. Can Blacks and Latinos/Hispanics,
afford not to.

The Genesis of the Rainbow Coalition

The genesis of the "Rainbow Coalition" was in Chicago. Black and Latino politicians
and activist came together, and elected the now deceased Mayor, Harold Washington
with some 50 percent of the Latino vote. Defeating the legendary Richard Daley's
political machine.

We would soon see the coalition's effort duplicated in New York and Philadelphia.

Coalition on the Move

When Jessie Jackson took the Rainbow Coalition on the road for a presidential bid,
this effort was coupled with a big push in registering low income Blacks and Latinos.
It was through this focus on voter registration of minorities that gave rise to coalition
successes.

One of the high points of the coalition, was the New York 1994 president primary.
Jessie Jackson received  more votes than Michael Dukakis.

Despite their successes, the coalition between Blacks and Latinos soon fell apart.
Was it for a lack of integration, passion, respect, trust, whatever?
 

As Latinos put it." Blacks didn't treat us as equal partners." In Chicago with the death
of Mayor Harold Washington the Latino activists would switch their allegiance to the
son of former Mayor Richard Daley in his successful bid to become Chicago's mayor.
 

In New York's 1993 mayoral race, David Dinkins would lose enough of the Latino vote
to give Rudolph Giuliani a narrow win. It must also be noted that Dinkins was widely
criticize for his handling of a murder in Brooklyn's Crown Heights section of a Hasidic
Jew by a Black man. During what is referred to as the "Three-day Riot."
 

In Philadelphia Wilson Goode lost some of the Latino vote in a split vote giving Ed
Rendell a victory. Here again the fire-bombing of the "Move" compound weighed
heavily on Goode's reelection bid.

Did Blacks and Latinos squander a golden opportunity to find common ground? Or was this just the natural course of things. Given the historic tentative nature of their relationship.

A Battle of Cultures

It always stresses me to see the ingrained ignorance that hinders minority people --
even those of good conscience --  from freeing ourselves of the shackles of whatever
masters that are keeping us at odds with one another.

Not the least of which, is our distrust of one another. The results of a poor
understanding of one another. For that matter, a refusal to accept one another for
who we are.

The failure of Americans to see why a person of mixed race would see themselves as
neither Black nor white, is as a result of a uniquely American form of racism.
 

If a person of mixed race or culture says they're are not Black, then the thinking is,
that they aspire to be white, or at worst, they're rejecting their Black heritage. In some cases this is certainly true, but making general judgments is unfortunate.

Refusing to be labeled is a healthy response to the subjugation of us, by our masters,
who used these labels to divide and conquer us. Out of our ignorance of these facts,
we continue to perpetuate these divisive labels.
 

Shouldn't the focus be, that a  person or persons accept us for who we are. Rather than us being animus toward them, because they don't accept our labeling of them.
Just imagine letting that get in the way of a good friendship. Does the golden rule
apply?

There is, to be sure, racial animosity toward Black by some Latinos. Whatever the
reason, racism is a fact of life. But we can miss a whole lot, from being too focused
on it. Not to mention missing out on one of life's great pleasures. People.
 

What Rainbow

During the protest by illegal immigrants over the immigration debate in the House of
Representatives. Black support for illegal immigrant seem to be split between the
Black Leadership and the common man and woman. Black leaders, of course realize
the importance of supporting the greater Latino community. Illegal immigrants
notwithstanding.

It is only natural that the Black person on the street see these over- whelming
numbers of Latinos as a treat to their ability to get a job. African-Americans have
always expressed these feelings over the presence of African, West Indian, and
Latino immigrants, for that matter.
 

Gang Migration

Lately a Black African-American female was killed by two Latino males in an ongoing
conflict between the two groups in Los Angles Harbor Gateway area. This is a
dominantly Latino area which has seen a lot of conflict since the late '90's when
Blacks started moving in.
 

In this same area other headlines read: "African-American shot by a Latino as he
waited to pick up his daughter," Latino male shot in his driveway back in 2006. Last
month," A 14 year-old Black female was shot in the streets because she crossed
over into what Latinos consider their area." This violence is, of course, perceived to
be
gang related. Not the general residents.
 

The Hip Hop Generation

Bakari Kitwana in his book The Hip Hop Generation, explain how prison life is being
 acted out in society. What  experts call "Gang migration."

"As the lines between street gangs and prison gangs blur, so does the distinction
 between prison culture and street culture."
 

This is a topic beyond the scope of this piece. Suffice to say, that the heated prison
battles between Black and Latino inmates finds its way onto America's streets.

Granted that while Bakari was focused on Black youth. It is not a stretch to see the
broader implications of what is going on in the Harbor Gateway area of Los Angeles
and other places across America.
 

Given that Latinos and Blacks have the highest numbers in the inmate  population,
and one of the most violent rivalries. Bakari's has given us something to be
concerned about.
 

Densely Populated.

The 2000 U.S Census Bureau projects that by 2050 the percentage of the American
population that are whites will decline to 55 percent while Latinos will be 25 percent,
Blacks 14 percent, Pacific Islanders (Asians) 8 percent. In places like California
whites are moving out of cities. Experts sees this as a trend across America.

This projection indicates a doubling of the Latino population from 35.6 million in 2000
to 102.6 million in 2050. An increase of almost 70 million.
The Latino population has the lowest median age of any group. According to 2003
figures. The median age for Latinos is 26.7 years, Black Americans the median is
30.6 years, while the median for all U.S as a whole is 39.9 years.

The Battle for Space and Jobs In a previous article entitled "America's Illegal
Immigrant: The catch 22." I mentioned the frustration that Blacks in Florida
expressed over what they deemed the refusal of Latinos to "share" the jobs with
Blacks -- you've heard this before, coming from the Latinos about the "Rainbow
Coalition."

I wrote back then that the government niche jobs Blacks have traditionally relied on
will come under increasing competition from Latino-Americans. Increasing friction
between the two groups..

Blacks and Latino has been living in American cities for a long time. Sometimes
Latino neighborhoods are buffers between that of Blacks and whites. In some cases
mixed or in close proximity to each other, and some intermingling across cultures.
But in my opinion we don't know nearly enough about one another.
 

This will be the moral battle ground for Blacks and Latinos in the coming years.

Blacks and Latinos more than any other group, evident by the burgeoning numbers in
the inmate population, have lost control of our young people to the prison system.
These youths are coming home

Blacks and Hispanic Gang Rivalries Plague Los Angeles

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