Dear Jorge Ramos,
For as long as I can remember mis papas y yo have tuned into Noticiero Univision to watch you deliver the news. How far back are we talking about? I’m talking all the way back when you had a full head of brown hair. Remember when you had brown hair?? Through the years I have watched your hair turn from brown to silver-grey, suits and ties change, and wrinkles ever so subtly set around your eyes and brow which denote not only the passage of time but of experience. But what has remained the same is the passion, earnestness, and courage with which you tirelessly fight for our community and keep us abreast of the issues that affect us both in the United States and America Latina. And when I say that you tirelessly fight for our community I mean you only fight for 8.8 million out of the total 55+ million Latinos living in the United States. As you know 8.8 million signifies the number of undocumented Latinos from the roughly total 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. For you our community begins with undocumented Latino immigrants and ends with undocumented Latino immigrants. Many would walk away from you believing that immigration is the single most (and only) important issue for us. Many would believe by listening to you that our success and future hinges on the legal status of 8.8 million Latinos.
I understand that you are defined by the fact that you are an immigrant and journalist. However there isn’t a balance between both identities resulting in a lack of objectivity something critical when informing Latinos as it is important to give them facts not Jorge Ramos’ bias about said facts. In other words, the immigrant has overtaken the journalist. Your interviews and reports are through this myopic lens of Jorge Ramos the immigrant which prevents you from seeing and understanding our community as we are. When you interview politicians you use this immigrant lens to ask politicians questions that are in a context that would only benefit undocumented immigrants be they children or adults instead of our community as a whole. You touch on the importance of education for undocumented youth; jobs for the undocumented; healthcare for the undocumented. All your viewers aren’t undocumented Mr. Ramos. We are more than immigration reform and more than immigrants; we are both American and Latinos. You fail to cater to the political interests and stances of the 25 million Latinos who are eligible to vote. All you do is perpetuate the false dichotomy that Democrat is good and Republican is bad. All you do is falsely equate anti-amnesty to anti-Latino. You talk about how our vote is important for candidates to win the White House and how Latinos are the future. But you only procure and advocate for the advancement of a small minority in our community instead of pressing politicians on other issues that are important to facilitating a future for our community as a whole. Mr. Ramos outside of your world of 11 million, or rather 8.8 million Latinos if you want to get technical, exists 47 million Latinos that are not being represented and no one knows exists.
I take issue with your myopia because you do the 47 million Latinos who reside in the United States legally a massive disservice in not only misinforming them but misrepresenting who they are as a people, their values, and interests as well. You fail to acknowledge the fact that in actuality Latinos have diverse political opinions and many have evolved in their political ideologies to reflect the same interest and concerns the average American has today. In doing this, you contribute to further stereotyping our community as well as limiting and damaging our narrative because anyone that listens to you ends up understanding only 8.8 million of us. How can we collectively succeed as a people if only a small number benefit? Few fully understand who we are as a community and what issues we deeply care about because of influential Latinos such as yourself that ceaselessly fight for a small minority of Latinos and seemingly ignore the remaining Latinos. When politicians only understand a fraction of our community they can’t meet our needs through policies that benefits all of us ultimately limiting our progress. Being that we are entering an election year, I just wanted to remind you that I exist. I’m part of the 47 million Latinos that have no advocate in the news. I’m part of the silent majority finally speaking up. Consciously or not, you work for the benefit of some of us not all of us.
Broaden your world beyond the plight of 11 million undocumented immigrants to understand the plight of 47 million Latinos. It’s time to tell the story of the other 47 million Latinos in order to stay relevant with your audience and evolve with us. I understand that you give a voice to the undocumented because they live in the shadows. At least mainstream media are aware not only of their existence but of the hardships and injustices they face on a daily basis thanks to influential Latinos such as yourself. But what about the other 47 million Latinos? No one knows we are here because we are somehow invisible and erroneously thrown in the shadows too. Want to know what is just as bad as living in the shadows? Being in plain sight and not being acknowledged. Being stereotyped and misunderstood. Not being represented in the media or anywhere let alone have a platform to shape our narrative and tell our story for ourselves. Dreamers and undocumented Latinos have you and the whole of Univision as a platform. They have you interviewing in mainstream English media advocating for their cause and humanizing the face and problems of immigration. What of us the 47 million?
Let’s stop pressing Bernie Sanders about open borders and misconstruing his words. Let’s stop accusing Marco Rubio of anti-Latino policies when in actuality his only fault is having a different opinion about policy than you; not Latinos as a whole just you. Let’s stop accusing Ted Cruz of having a “Latino problem” just because he opposes amnesty and favors doing what is just and fair under U.S. law. Latinos don’t want or like bias. We want facts. We want the truth and the truth isn’t neutrality. It seems that you only interview political candidates that have a Latino surname or that offend our community. Our community has evolved beyond immigration reform. You have said in numerous occasion that deporting Latinos is a sure way to lose the Latino vote. This is false Mr. Ramos. The way politicians lose the Latino vote is by stereotyping the 25 million Latinos who are eligible to vote as people who only care about immigration. To get our vote is not a matter of being pro-amnesty or promising immigration reform but about understanding our needs and values. The most important thing for a politician to understand about Latinos is that they are 100% American and 100% Latino; the first politician that understands this has 90% of the battle won. Republican nominee Dr. Ben Carson would prove to be a strong contender for our vote as he can identify with the spectrum of Latinos and understands people holistically independent of skin color, gender, religion, and other labels used to pit American against American. Fortunately for you, Ben Carson ticks your “not deporting 11 million immigrants and breaking up families” box but more importantly comprehends and empathizes with the struggle of the undocumented. He offers practical and fair solutions to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Carson understands that Latinos want the American Dream and has the capacity to see Latinos beyond immigration and that’s how you win the Latino vote in 2015 Mr. Ramos. Latinos will vote for a candidate that provides a path to achieve the American dream. We will vote for the candidate that speaks to our cultural duality with respect and has a concrete, feasible vision for the future for our community and Ben Carson is our best bet.
Instead of consistently talking about immigration reform with every politician, how about you talk about the two critical factors that have resulted in your professional success? I’m talking about opportunity of employment and education. Your success has nothing to do with immigration reform and everything to do with opportunity of employment and education. Latinos want to know how they and their children can achieve the American Dream just like you and your children. They want access to an affordable education for their children. They want to be small business owners. They care about climate change issues. They want affordable healthcare that doesn’t prevent them from being small business owners. They want to be homeowners. Latinos are woefully underrepresented as employees in the industries where they are the primary economic drivers. Why not press politicians about how they plan to expand employment opportunities in sectors where Latinos are underrepresented? Latinos want the same opportunities afforded to you that have enabled your success.
Mr. Ramos consider how the median age of Latinos is 27 and 18 for U.S. born Latinos. Every year 800,000 of Latinos turn 18 years of age which makes these youths eligible to vote. Eighty-six percent of Latinos reside in the United States legally and 76% of the roughly 25 million Latinos that are eligible to vote are U.S. born while 26% are immigrants that hold U.S. citizenship. Fifty-five percent of Latinos consider themselves bicultural and have become one of the most coveted cohorts by marketers, TV networks, and the like. The unemployment rate for U.S. born Latinos is 10.3%-higher than the unemployment rate of Latino immigrants of 7.2%. The median weekly earnings for U.S. born Latinos working full-time are stagnant and fell 6.4% from 2007-2013. How is immigration relevant to the Latinos who are either born here or already naturalized when they are facing such a high unemployment rate and decreasing wages? Mr. Ramos don’t misinform Latinos by portraying immigration as the most urgent issue when polls and statistics say otherwise. More pressing issues such as education, unemployment, and falling wages are threatening the future of the Latino middle class consequently making them a priority in our agenda. It is imperative for those with influential platforms to understand the new reality of Latino demographics: young, bilingual, U.S. born but strongly connected to their culture. This demographic is composed of the individuals in the position to vote who you are trying to persuade to do right by undocumented immigrants. You’ll be more effective and perhaps even increase Latino voter turnout if you speak a new, inclusive message that acknowledges the existence of the bicultural Latino but more importantly create awareness for the very pressing issues faced by this segment.
You jokingly refer to yourself as a dinosaur because you’ve been giving the news for longer than I have been alive. The only way you’ll become a dinosaur in our community is not by Twitter or Facebook taking your job but rather failing to adapt and evolve with the changing Latino demographics. Latino growth is now fueled by U.S. births rather than by immigration. The face of the average Latino is the bicultural millennial. Are you speaking to this duality? Not really. During the 1980s-2000s you were relevant among Latinos because Latino growth was due to the influx of yearly Latinos immigrating to the United States and having their children born here; Latinos were an immigrant majority. But we have evolved as a community while you have not. You’ve gone from resonating with the majority of Latinos in the 1980s-2000s to only resonating with a small minority of 8.8 million and their affected family members. You’re on your way to becoming Jorge Ramosuarus not because of your age or the fact that you have been a journalist for 30 years but because you are speaking to a minority and not evolving and misrepresenting a majority. You still mean something to this community because we have grown up and grown old with you. However, you are in danger of becoming irrelevant considering that the average Latino is a U.S. born millennial that identifies with his or her culture but you do nothing to connect to or speak to this identity. I know Fusion was created to cater to the millennial audience but even there you still continue primarily depict Latinos in the context of immigration. If you want Fusion to really resonate with Latino millennials, provide fresh, insightful content about issues that we care about or should care about. Use Fusion as a medium that portrays U.S. born Latinos in a different dimension. There is Latino culture and bicultural Latino culture; there’s my parent’s generation who are immigrants and my generation that is shaped by a combination of American culture and Latino culture. Theres a difference and understanding these differences and nuances is the key for Univision to appeal to second generation Latinos and the long-term success of Fusion.
Spanish media is the best place to effect change within our community as English mainstream media looks to Spanish media to see what issues are important to Latinos and how our community is portrayed. English media doesn’t accommodate different Latino narratives apart from the typical immigrant context let alone highlight problems in a context that pertains to us because neither does Spanish media. Mainstream media views us as one-dimensional because you and Univison portray us as one-dimensional. If Spanish media doesn’t portray us as a diverse people with diversity of opinion and interests why should mainstream English media?
Evolve. Diversify. Remember the 47 million.