Calculated Tactics Will Not Stand

August 18th, 2010 · 5 Comments

Preface: With the net neutrality debate heating up, I was asked if LatinoPoliticsBlog would post this piece by Jorge Bauermeister.

By Jorge Bauermeister

The political world was abuzz this week as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unequivocally stated, “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican.”  Senator Reid’s comment was inarticulate at best and serves as an unfortunate reminder of the all too common practice of inserting race, gender and even fear into American politics. His quote also reminded me of a blog post I wrote in July, Free Press: Shame on You! For those not familiar with Free Press, it’s an organization dedicated to media policy and is a powerful lobbying force in Washington.

In the world of political blogs and 24/7 news coverage, I’m rarely surprised anymore, however after reading a report paid for by Free Press, yes even I was a little shaken.  This wasn’t a slip of the tongue on the campaign trail, it was a well thought out strategy to categorize and influence Americans.  While funded by Free Press the report was composed by the Harmony Institute, a non-profit research institute according to their website.  The goal of the report is to explain how to sway the public on an Internet regulation policy known as Net Neutrality.

While the lengthy report is filled with questionable logic, one section is particularly troublesome especially for those in minority communities.  The report explains that “core supporters” of their policy issues are affluent whites while the group labeled “persuadables” includes African Americans, women, the unmarried and those of a liberal persuasion.  Additional characteristics of “persuadables” include living in the southern region of the US or rural areas and having a low income.  What’s equally disturbing is the patronizing tone throughout the entire report.  I am dismayed at the sponsors of any report that can so easily talk down to others and label people as “targets” without any thought to the repercussions of lumping people together based on skin color, gender or circumstance.  Haven’t we been taught that our individuality is what makes our country unique?  Isn’t our common thread as Americans the belief that others have the right to think for themselves even if we disagree?

As a Latino American I certainly hope Free Press and Harmony Institute take stock in the thoughtful criticisms of their report.  We must ask ourselves, should race and financial status be part of our political mudslinging for the foreseeable future?  While Senator Reid is certainly taking some heat for his comments, I’ve seen little in the press or blogosphere bringing attention to the alarming Harmony Institute report.  Please tell your friends, fellow bloggers and fellow Americans, this sort of calculated exploitation of women, minorities and the disenfranchised will not stand.

Tags: Civil Rights · Digital Divide · diversity · Media · racism

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anna // Aug 18, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I don’t know why any of this surprises you. You mean white propagandists are racist? You don’t say. All advertisers and pollsters lump all minorities into one group despite differences in education, income, etc.

    Look how hard they push the “Latino” label. We aren’t all the same, but it’s easier for them to manipulate us if we are socliazed into one big group.

    The best way to be free of the influence of advertising/propaganda is to shut off the TV and talk radio. If everyone did that our society would be so much better.

  • 2 Anna // Aug 18, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I was surfing The Harmony Institute’s website, and saw that one of their advisors is the head of a population control group. Why doesn’t that surprise me?

  • 3 RAMON // Aug 19, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Was Senator Reid’s comment so off base? Given the GOP’s hard line stands on immigration, I agree with his comments. I have always thought the same thing. How can any Mexican Americans be Republican? Of course, the GOP claims that it’s position on immigration is against “illegal immigration” and has nothing to do with race or nationality. When was the last time a Republican spoke out against non-Mexican immigrants, legal or not?


  • 4 Chicano future tense // Aug 19, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    LPG hints that maybe??..Harry Reid is an ignorant self-serving politician?.. a patronizing racist fool?
    Damn Right!!
    (I think Harry Reid’s comments reflect prevalent attitudes which both the Democratic and Republican parties have towards Latinos in general.That is,patronizing,dismissive,opportunistic and RACIST!
    This Harmony Institute you refer to in your post seem to me like some whacky liberal outfit who in a fit of messianic “noblesse oblige” are trying desperatetly (and oh so nobly!) to save us all from ourselves because after all they are the all- knowing and wise and the rest of us are just mindless dummies and chusma..right?
    It’s very freaky to see the twisted macabre convergence of liberals and conservatives come together and which results tend to actually restrict,erode or take away our freedoms.
    What’s worse?the conservative right wing lion pounding at the front door or the liberal wolf gently knocking at the back door?..
    This goody -goody(and very wealthy) liberal group the “Harmony Institute” sounds like they are playing out of tune on this one..definitely not in harmony.. to their pals “The Free Press”..
    well,they would be more helpful to us all Pressing pants over at the local dry cleaners…….sheeeeeesh!

  • 5 Anna // Aug 19, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Ramon, I agree with you. I don’t think Reid’s comment was off base at all. I don’t know how any Hispanic person could vote for a party run by Confederates.

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