2016 Presidential Election, Both Parties Exclude Afro-Latino Voters In The Hispanic Vote

By Lechelle Barron

Univision Democratic Debate Moderators

When the moderators Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas of Univision, and Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post, asked Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton, specific questions about the concerns of Hispanic voters in regards to immigration reform at the Univision Democratic Debate on March 9, the views of Afro-Hispanic voters were excluded in the debate.

“The lack of diversity among the moderators at the Univision Democratic Presidential Debate reflects the often narrow assumptions of [email protected] being perceived and visualized in a narrow depiction, by providing diversity on the moderating team, there could have been a greater reach of engaging more [email protected] of different backgrounds. It could have also diversified the types of questions that were presented to the candidates by providing intentional topics on diversity, essential for full representation in a democratic system,” said Casilla-Reynoso, Director of Operations and Administration for the AfroLatin@ Forum.

“If there was a representation of [email protected] of different phenotypes, then it could have debunked the narrative often reinforced in media of the typical White Hispanic representing the whole swath of diverse colors and perspectives within the Latin@ spectrum. It could have also provided a sense of different kinds of [email protected] seeing themselves in these positions of power by providing visibility beyond what is traditionally construed as the typical Latin@. There is an important need to have greater representation in these discussions that impact [email protected] in the United States and around the world. However, the general nature of approaching the Latin@ representation from a largely monolithic position often discredits the voices of the diverse Latin@ spectrum, and particularly of [email protected] in the United States, it is imperative that [email protected] be represented on the full scale of the different faces of [email protected] in the United States,” she adds.

Presidential Candidates

“No ideas of Donald Trump would fit any of the needs of the Afro-Latin@ community, I know the same could be said for Hillary Clinton. It is important for [email protected] to explicitly make known that immigration is one of the main problems that our community deals with and I think this point needs to be made to both parties, I think when the DP (Democratic Party) talks about immigration reform and stopping the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), they are addressing issues that affect [email protected] here and people of African descent in Latin America. The progressive side of the party during Bernie Sanders’ campaign is aware of more issues, such as issues between the community and the police, lowering the price of prescription drugs, fair pay for women and increasing the minimum wage,” said Perea, Director of Programs and Communications for the AfroLatin@ Forum.

“There are other issues such as increased criminalization and increased policing that affect [email protected], these are important points to show how black people are treated and that includes [email protected] so we have a more expansive view of blackness. Segmenting the problem by saying “we need to look at how African-Americans and police are interacting” or “we need to look at how [email protected] and immigration officers interact” fails to showcase a larger issue that is at stake, that of white supremacy and racism specifically the abuse of power by the authorities to defend the racist structure in this country. “I think that Spanish-Language media has failed to fully comprehend and represent the totality of the Latin@ experience. There are many issues that affect the Afro-Latin@ community and should be highlighted by the Spanish-Language media, but these issues are routinely ignored in Spanish-Language TV, I think that we have to address issues that include the Afro-Latin@ voice in both “camps”,” he added.

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About Lechelle Barron

Lechelle Barron is a West Philadelphia based freelance journalist specialized in issues that affect the Afro-Hispanic community in the United States and in Latin America. Her articles have been featured in the Colombian Ebony Magazine Revista Ébano Latinoamérica, and Alaska Magazine. The inspiration behind Lechelle’s work as a journalist is to tell the stories about the people and communities whose voices are often unheard in the mainstream media, and to produce journalism that is relatable to both the Hispanic and African-American communities. Lechelle is a graduated from Arcadia University with a Bachelor's Degree in Print Communications.

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