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What it Means to be a Latino Journalist

Great story today on being a Latino Journalist. Good work by Ruben Navarrette Jr. at the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The call brought to mind a lunch I had about five years ago with a veteran columnist in Washington. It was right before I started this column, and the veteran offered some advice -- and then offered his sympathies.

"It must be very difficult," he said, "to constantly feel as if you have to serve a constituency."

What he meant was that, as a Latino columnist, I must feel as though I have to advance the views of Latino organizations and Latino elected officials, both of which, in his experience, tended to lean to the left.

Actually, I responded, if there is a constituency (and I'm not sure there is), I'm not sure I'm up to the task of serving it. Latino leaders and I disagree on immigration enforcement, bilingual education, affirmative action, capital punishment, school vouchers and privatizing Social Security. And that's just for starters.

Besides, the most demanding constituencies out there aren't ethnic or racial, but ideological. The far left and the far right seem to agree on only one thing: They want 100 percent of the population to agree with them 100 percent of the time. Ideologues don't read columns for information so they know what to think as much as for affirmation of what they already believe.

This doesn't have a thing to do with being Latino. It has to do with being human and living in an era when the politics are all-or-nothing.

Which is not to say that Latino journalists don't bring a unique and valuable perspective to reporting on the news and offering commentary. It's often the case that they do, and the profession -- and, by extension, the country -- is better for it.

Their ethnicity doesn't completely define them. At least it shouldn't. But like one's social class, educational background or a small town upbringing, it's something that helps form the lens through which they see the issues of the day.

Their ethnicity doesn't completely define them. At least it shouldn't. But like one's social class, educational background or a small town upbringing, it's something that helps form the lens through which they see the issues of the day.
Read the rest here.


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