A few days ago, I read Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez’s blog, where she addressed the very real possibility that the addition of Governor Sarah Palin to the McCain ticket may attract Latinas who were Hillary supporters and reluctantly became Obama supporters. Then yesterday, I read Ruben Navarrette’s column suggesting that because of Palin, McCain may have a shot at earning more of the Latina vote.
I think that if the superficial appeals to you, then I can definitely see why Sarah Palin would attract Latinas and Latinos who might be sold on just the outward appearance. Governor Palin has straight teeth, an athletic build, dark albeit overly coiffed hair, and big expressive eyes. And then if you feel that her having five kids makes her more family oriented, I can understand why some Latinas feel that Palin’s life is more like theirs. Without analyzing the situation too closely, it seems that Palin would likely appeal to the same people in our communities who invest in custom wheels for an economy car like a Focus or Corolla, instead of throwing the extra money into their 401Ks or children’s college funds.
Appearances matter in our community, as they do in all others, but dare I say that appearances matter more in communities where there aren’t many assets to begin with. If you drive through the barrio, you will likely notice many beauty shops, barber shops, wheels and rim stores, and custom audio shops– all services and items that are not really necessary.
I can see the validity in worrying that the outward appearance of Sarah Palin can be an asset for the McCain ticket. However, I’m hopeful that more Latinos will educate themselves about the issues instead of focusing on superficial beauty. Sarah Palin’s former beauty queen looks or five children should not matter to those who are struggling to keep a roof of their heads or trying to educate their own kids.
Note: Navarrette points out in the linked article that the poll numbers released last week were taken prior to the announcement that Palin would be McCain’s running mate. It would be interesting to see where the Latino electorate is leaning at this juncture, especially after Palin’s first televised interview.