Don't patronize Hispanics, Republicans

This isn’t just a Republican problem. Democrats do this too, relating to Latinos as if we’re primarily poor, immigrant or both. It doesn’t work anymore, if it ever did. And although the anti-immigrant rhetoric spouted by Tom Tancredo and others was offensive to Hispanics and projected a “We don’t want you here” image for the GOP, the fact is that it was offensive to a lot of other people, too…

Obama’s campaign message to Hispanics, though delivered largely in Spanish through his campaign Web site, was patronizing. In the summary of issues for his Latino Blueprint for Change, Obama talked about a narrow group of issues that, in my view, are important to only a small percentage of Latinos.

For example, on education, his message focused largely on English as a second language and in-state tuition for undocumented students. On immigration, he tried to counter the Republicans. On jobs and the economy, he highlighted the minimum wage.

These issues, which may have been important to a majority of Hispanics when Cesar Chavez was leading striking farm workers, are not at the top of the list for Hispanics today.

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