By David Conde
As the political parties begin to engage for the 2020 national elections, there appears to be what may be considered, a perplexing circumstance to many that sees at least one third of Latinos still in the Republican column. This is no doubt a challenge to Democrats that are used to seeing up to 90% support from the African American community.
A national study has documented the group at the core of this tendency to be Latino evangelicals and veterans. This however, does not tell the whole story as the other two thirds can also be in play depending on the social and political circumstance.
The fundamentalist and evangelical movements have captured a large segment of the Latino population because it represents a true alternative that replaces the traditional Catholic hierarchical system with an individual and direct relationship to God. You would think that a more individually empowered worship leads to a more Liberal political attitude that permits thinking beyond the confines of traditional religious structures.
But that is not the case in America as Protestantism with evangelical tendencies are at the heart of its religious tradition. Latinos captured into that realm find themselves managed by powerful structures based on literal reading of the Bible.
So, one third of Latinos have replaced their Catholic conservative system with a Protestant one with an added understanding around the notion that God can use evil and evil people in the process of doing his will. That is why it does not bother these Latino evangelicals to politically support evil people because in the grand scheme of Heaven, they are doing God’s will.
Things can get even more complicated with Latinos, especially Latino immigrants, because the notion of hierarchical social relationships is till very strong. In this system, authority tends to flow vertically in a process that provides support for those perceived to be above one in family, social, industry and political relationships in return for protection of interests.
Latinos after World War II wanted to break with that way of thinking as they sought to create group pressure based on the empowerment of individuals. In this circumstance, people that saw themselves as key to transforming our society made Cesar Chavez and his farm worker organization powerful and successful.
The Chicano Movement especially, in the cities of America, sought to establish a new order designed to break destructive stereotypes and create identity based on history, culture, language, the land and a context in which the individual could have and take the opportunity to prosper.
To be sure, it is in the Latino heritage to be Conservative but with a Liberal bent that insists on the creation of structural space in the mainstream of American life.
There is no substitute for Latino leadership in a country that so desperately needs direction. That direction will not necessarily come from one political persuasion or another.
The reason why two thirds of Latinos are in the Democratic Party today is because Republicans have decided that this community represents an existential political threat to Conservatives. President Reagan had it right when he said that in their hearts Latinos are Conservative. However, Latinos are a long way from putting their stamp on the country and thus having something to “conserve.”
Until that moment comes, Latinos will be mostly operating in the Liberal mode that shapes the future of the United States. In the final analysis however, whether Liberal or Conservative, Latinos will be following their own political star in search of greatness.
By Dr. Kathleen Allen (Dr. Allen will be a part of the 2019 Lideramos Webinar Series – Stay TUNED!)
Nature banks on diversity. It is one of Nature’s design principles. Nature’s purpose is to create conditions conducive to the life of future generations.
As ecosystems move from monocultures to diverse species and plant life, they become more resilient and can recover faster from disruptions in their environment. That is why nature banks on diversity. It helps ecosystems become more resilient and helps nature achieve its purpose.
It is interesting that we understand this relationship between resilience and diversification when we think of investment strategies. As we diversify our financial portfolios, our investments are more resilient. An example in nature is a prairie that produces food at multiple times of the summer. This kind of ecosystem is more resilient to a hail storm than a neighboring corn or soybean field. The corn can be wiped out by hail and not recover because is a monocrop. A prairie can be damaged but the diverse plant life will still flourish and provide nutrients to the species that feed off it.
We Need Frame Diversity Differently in Our Organizations
Most of our organizations that want to support diversity and celebrate diverse people and points of view are trying to help people become more tolerant, open, and accepting. Nature would ask a different question and perhaps approach diversity initiatives a different way.
If we learned a lesson from nature about diversity, we might ask “what are the risks of homogeneity?” instead of how we become more welcoming to diversity. By understanding the risks to the ecosystem or organization in homogeneity, we might approach diversity as a critical business strategy to remain relevant in the future. In nature, ecological systems grow more diverse as they evolve. This helps species develop food webs to sustain their nutrients. If one species or food source collapses, others in their food web will continue to supply nutrients so the species survives.
Becoming More Diverse is a Natural Result of Evolution
Instead of asking how can we become more diverse, we should be asking what is stopping our natural evolution as an organization? Nature is a living system. The increasing diversity is how it adapts to growing complexity and evolution. If our organizations are struggling with diversity, it might help us to look for ways we are stopping the evolution of our organization and what are the risks of that behavior to the future ability for our organization to thrive?
Taylor and Wacker wrote a book titled The 500-Year Delta: What Happens After What Comes Next (1997). In their book, they talk about institutional diversity as a critical dimension of organizations that want to thrive in the future. Their argument is that if your organization is filled with white men, they won’t see needs that emerge from the perspective and experience of women, or Latinos, or other ethnic groups. The innovations that are driven by seeing an unmet need means that people who experience that need will see it first and respond to it first. They will be first in the marketplace, not an organization whose primary focus is on the unmet needs of people just like them.
As our world continues to connect across a global economy, we hamstring our organization’s evolution when we are a monoculture, i.e. an organization led predominately by people who look the same.
Dr. Kathleen E. Allen writes a blog on leadership and organizations that describes a new paradigm of leadership that is based on lessons from nature and living systems. She is the author of Leading from the Roots: Nature Inspired Leadership Lessons for Today’s World (2018) and President of Allen and Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in leadership, innovation, and organizational change. You can sign up for her blog on her website: www.kathleenallen.net
By Juana Bordas
Way back in 1919 the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) adopted the song “Lift every voice and sing” as the Black national anthem. Since that time, the song has inspired hope and faith because despite past trials and tribulations, Black people survived and are now thriving: “The rising sun of a new day begun.” “Lift every voice and sing” has been a source of pride and solidarity for Black people for almost 100 years.
Latinos were only declared a minority from the 1980 census on. We are in still in the identity formation stage. The adoption of a national anthem that speaks to our uniqueness and common experiences would serve as a source of unity, pride, and bring deeper meaning to what it means to be Latino. But what song could bring the vast Latino diversity together?
In the 1960’s when the humble farm workers marched with César Chávez advocating for decent wages and working conditions, they sang De Colores. A traditional and beloved song, thought to have been brought over from Spain in the 16th century, De Colores literally means ‘of many colors’.
The song celebrates the incredible beauty of life’s diversity – the multicolored birds, the radiant flowers, and the luminescent rainbow. The chorus says that just as life by its very nature is so colorful, so too great love embraces people of many colors.
This song resonates with our Latino soul because we are De Colores. The many colors of humanity are right across the family dinner table. Our diversity is rooted in our mixed racial, cultural, and historical heritage.
Latinos are not a race. Much like the Jewish community, Latinos are an ethnic or cultural group bound together by the Spanish language, a shared history and heritage, a revered spiritual tradition, and common values that stem from both our Spanish and indigenous roots.
Latinos are a rich culture of synthesis and fusion that celebrate de colores – the radiant rainbow of humanity. Our love for diversity is also apparent in our bienvenido or welcoming spirit. And in what I call the Latino golden rule: Mi Casa es su Casa. These dynamics fashion a culture that is exquisitely diverse, inclusive, and celebrates people’s uniqueness. Furthermore since Latinos are a culture not a race and culture is leaned people can become Latino by Affinity or Corazón.
This moment in history when the Latino community is coming of age is also the time when our multicultural nation and global community is rapidly emerging. Leaders must ensure that people of different races, ages, nations, sexual orientations, religions and cultures work and live peacefully together.
Embracing the spirit of De Colores offers a pathway to accomplish this – to integrate our kaleidoscope society and welcome the gifts of all people.
Yes! The emergence of a De Colores America will be a defining characteristic of the 21st century. Because of our inherent diversity, Latinos will be at the headwaters of this transformation.
We will be a model for building the multicultural society. We can show people how celebrating De Colores – brings beauty, vitality, joy and grace to life.
For this reason, I believe De Colores should be the Hispanic national anthem.
The above text are excerpts from “The Power of Latino Leadership” by Juana Bordas
Juana Bordas is the president of Mestiza Leadership International. She is an activist, author, and diversity aficionada.