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WASHINGTON WATCH: Combining The Political And Economic Power Of African Americans, Latinos (VIDEO)

Here on “Washington Watch,” we have consistently focused on the importance of there being a black-brown coalition as this nation becomes more majority minority, and so today we’re talking with Crystal High, editor-in-chief of Politic365.com; and Viviana Hurtado, founder and editor-in-chief of TheWiseLatinaClub.com, as relates to black women, Hispanic women being able to form coalitions to be able to grow.

 

MR. MARTIN:  Here on “Washington Watch,” we have consistently focused on the importance of there being a black-brown coalition as this nation becomes more majority minority, and so today we’re talking with Crystal High, editor-in-chief of Politic365.com; and Viviana Hurtado, founder and editor-in-chief of TheWiseLatinaClub.com, as relates to black women, Hispanic women being able to form coalitions to be able to grow.

Folks, welcome to the show.

MS. CRYSTAL HIGH:  Thanks.

MS. VIVIANA HURTADO:  Thanks for having us.

MR. MARTIN:  You know, one of the things we’ve done, as I talked about … is really … look, it doesn’t make any sense to have African-Americans and Hispanics – the two largest minority groups in this country – constantly, in essence, being at odds or separated when you have so many things that are like-minded.

But I think we’ve got to have African-Americans and Latinos saying, “Wait a minute.  What is happening” – first of all, our neighborhoods are changing.  You have the black district in Los Angeles that has been the seat of black power since the 1960s.  It’s is now 80 percent Hispanic.  They likely are going to have a Hispanic representative.  Same thing … in Harlem.  Congressman Charlie Rangel is likely going to be the last African-American representing Harlem as a member of Congress.

That’s what’s happening politically, but I think in so many other areas, the ability for blacks and Hispanics to say, “Hey, since we’re becoming so much larger, if we were able to walk in together – as opposed to somebody say[ing], ‘We’ll give y’all a piece, give y’all a piece,’ [and] it’s all fine.  That changes the game in a whole different way.

MS. HIGH:  Right, and dollars don’t lie – right?  So, if you talk –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MS. HIGH:  — about kind of a combined impact of 2 – what is it – billion, trillion dollars –

MR. MARTIN:  No – yeah.  [An] e- —

MS. HIGH:  you know, like $2 trillion –

MR. MARTIN:  — excess of –

MS. HIGH:  — dollars –

MR. MARTIN:  — $2 trillion.

MS. HIGH:  — right.  So, it’s like how do we leverage that spending power – right – so it’s about almost that pocketbook kind of protest – you know, taking your dollars and reinvesting back into our businesses?  You know, I always say one of the most … good-news, bad-news stories for communities of color in this country was, frankly, desegregation; because it took us away from our own businesses.  And so when you have black and brown women, men creating entrepreneurial opportunities, if they’re hiring from the communities, they’re creating a business outlet, it’s about … creating that pipeline back in to say, “Oh!  Let me support that business,” and, “Here’s why it’s important to support that business.”

So, it’s not just the act of becoming business owners.  It’s not just the act of just making the value proposition for why our businesses matter, but we have to do some real work in our communities around changing our mentalities so that we can say, “It is valuable that I patronize these services.”  “It’s valuable that I support these businesses.”

MR. MARTIN:  Viviana, is also part of that educating people to understand that African-Americans and Latinos are not in competition with one another when, in fact, we actually in many ways are playing on the exact, same team?

MS. HURTADO:  And that’s actually been a very big challenge in the past.  I think certainly 2012 seemed to be a big watershed year as far as shedding some of those old, you know, views and stereotypes that our communities were directly competing.  And as one person once said to me, “Why is it that we fight each other for, really, nothing but crumbs that are being thrown from the adult table?”

Why don’t we, you know, get ourselves invited to the adult table?  And if no one invites us, well, then, show up with your own chair.  Right?

MS. HIGH:  Right.

MS. HURTADO:  I think, though, one thing that’s going to be really interesting, though, is along the lines of ownership and supporting your own businesses.  The African-American community has been much more successful than the Latino community.  Our media spaces, for example, are much newer than, for example, “Ebony” or “Jet” magazine that have decades under their belt.  These are the growing pains that you’re seeing of a new community.

And by the way, when I say “new” community, I don’t mean new, because we know that Latinos have been in this country since before it was the United States of America.  Think about somebody like Secretary Salazar, whose family has been here for five generations – or, for – excuse me – for 500 years.  But I am talking about being a political player, and that’s what we’re witnessing right now with the rise of the Latino community – is the rise of a political player that is going to have a significant impact and transform America.

It’ll be really interesting to see if we’re able to measure political and social representation and bump it up to the level of our demographic growth, as well as our $1 trillion buying power.  That is something that’s playing out right now – a drama that’s playing out as we speak.

MR. MARTIN:  I think it’s going to come down to money.  I mean at the end of the day, when Latinos and African-Americans both come to the conclusion that we can keep nibbling around the edges and having these separate conversations, but dollars will drive it.  And when all of a sudden these groups begin to tell white America, “Look, you can no longer dictate the terms of this arrangement,” and it’s not a question – to your point – about, “oh, here’re some crumbs,” now it’s to the point of, no, no, no.  We actually want a huge chunk of the pie.  Not crumbs; a huge chunk, when that conversation happens.

But that’s why I think we have to be able to break down those barriers, break down those stereotypes, those observations and say, “Look, we are actually in this together,” because in many of our communities, we’re actually living next to each other.

OFF CAMERA:  Right.

MR. MARTIN:   I mean there are growing communities in cities across America where you have African-Americans and Hispanics who are in the same community, and I’m saying you might as benefit and talk to each other while you’re there.

MS. HIGH:  Well, it’s about finding, like, that socioeconomic rationale for working together – right – because a lot of times we’ll create almost superficial barriers like, “Oh, well, I’m black.  You’re Hispanic.  Our experiences are so different, so we can’t get together.”

Like, “No, no, no.  We both in the ’hood!”  [Chuckles.]  You know?  So, what can we do together to get out of this situation?  What is it that needs to be done in order to leverage a better opportunity?  That’s where we have to start focusing.

MR. MARTIN:  Final thoughts.

MS. HURTADO:  I just think that it’s important, too, for all of us to realize that, you know, this is our America.  This is our country, too.  And so, yeah, I’m baking, you know, a pie; but, you know, Roland is contributing some eggs.  And you’re contributing some shortening.  And the mainstream is contributing flour.  We’re all in this together, and when all of our communities are – you know, have economic opportunities, and when educational gains are happening; when our communities are civically involved every, single day in school board meetings, town hall meetings, all of us, all of America benefits.

MR. MARTIN:  All right.  We certainly appreciate it.  Thanks a bunch, Crystal, Viviana.

MS. HIGH:  Thank you.

MR. MARTIN:  All right.  Have a good one.

MS. HURTADO:  Thank you, Roland.