News and views from the award-winning author of the novels The Skinny Years, America Libre, House Divided and Pancho Land

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The depths of ignorance

How out of touch are some mainstream Americans with what it means to be a Latino? An example of the depths of that ignorance was on display March 15th when the pep band at Southern Mississippi University chanted "Where's you green card?" as Angel Rodriguez of Kansas State stepped up to the free throw line during an NCAA tournament game.

Rodriguez is from Puerto Rico, and like all Puerto Ricans, he is a U.S. citizen. He has as much need for a green card as any of the native-born students deriding him.

But in their minds, the equation was simple: Latino equals immigrant.

That alone would be ignorant enough. But to taunt Rodriguez by questioning his status reveals the deep-seated sense that every Hispanic is suspect. In small minds like these, Latinos cannot be "real Americans" -- even when they clearly are.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez