Texas State Senator and former candidate for U.S. Senate Roland Guiterrez’s off-the-cuff comments to an attendee at a campaign event in Houston drew back the drapes to let the sun rays shine in on what not enough Americans care to comprehend: that identity politics is a cynical tactic deployed in a game of win-at-all costs even if it means pandering to a person’s most base instincts.

Guiterrez explained the wisdom of supporting his candidacy for the nomination over Texas U.S. Rep. Collin Allred. His argument being essentially that Allred is not, well, “Hispanic.” Mr. Allred is the product of what some would label a “mixed” union but more about that later. For now, Guiterrez’s campaign manager, Sam Robles, and presumably Gutierrez himself are of the mind that the time has come “for Texans to have an opportunity to vote for a candidate that looks like them, talks like them, and has lived their life.”

I imagine Mr. Robles is referring to “Hispanic” Texans, so I have few questions for him: Who or what is a Hispanic? And what does one look and talk and live like?

For starters, Hispanic is a label birthed in the fifties by the Ford Foundation with the support of Marxist operatives such as La Raza and UnidosUS who fomented grievances among Americans of Mexican heritage to create a bloc and then incentivized them to adhere to it for the end goal of coalescing power. Today the “Hispanic” community encompasses Spanish-speaking peoples from the Americas to the Caribbean. But many of these so-called Hispanics (this writer at times included) eschew the label foisted on our personhood—without our consent—for reasons that not only erases our individual cultural heritage but our individual agency as well.

I for one am not a monolith. I can think for myself. And I am certainly not going to jump off the proverbial bridge because LULAC told me it was in its (cough) my (cough) best economic interest to do so.

This is not to say that Spanish-speaking peoples need to insist on being recognized according to their ethnic tribes, whether Cuban, Venezuelan, Colombian, or countless other South and Central Americans, such as Hondurans or Belizeans, or Equatorial Guineans of Central Africa of which there is a sizeable community right here in Houston. The mere thought of mangú and fried cheese topped with smothered red onions will likely always make my mouth water (though not my father’s). Tacos, on the other hand, not so much. No offense intended. It is just that tacos are as foreign a thing in my community as sushi would be to an “Asian” from India. At least in a pre-globalized world.

Still, identity grifters such as LULAC would have us all believe that “Hispanic”—and the other problematic label: Latino—is, in fact, a discrete group when it works to advance its agenda as Mr. Guiterrez illustrated. During a not-so-long-ago candidate forum for Houston City Council, two candidates were denied inclusion in a panel hosted by the organization. After candidates were called to the debate stage, two among them were told to exit the stage because, as the moderator pointedly stated, “This is for Hispanics only.” Utilizing random genetic mutations as qualifications for office—or anything for that matter—only serves to divide along the lines of convenience for propagating contrived division. We are a better nation if we embrace the Latin notion of E pluribus unum and teach our children, especially, genuine diversity.

In June of last year, the same organization chose to sensationalize a situation that developed from what is best described as a failure of communication. The actions of administrators for Humble Independent School District to follow long-established rules of decorum at the Summer Creek High School commencement were turned into an opportunity to advance identity politics. Students who chose to wear distinguishing stoles at graduation became pawns for LULAC’s agenda. Their leadership invented a “Brown Lives Matter” movement among the students, inviting them to adopt a divisive racialized identity.

Teaching formative minds that the trials and rewards of daily life are determined by skin color benefits only the hustlers who grow rich and powerful by promoting racialized mythology. The academic achievements of the students are proof enough that hard work (emphasis Guiterrez’s) and discipline are what earn rewards, such as winning elections. The ensuing press conference featured a LULAC leader accusing Humble ISD of erasing the Latino/Hispanic identity when in fact it is groups such as LULAC that erase the identities of multitudes each time it groups discrete cultures into a useful monolith.

Now to get back to Allred and whether he is the one to beat Sen. Ted Cruz. Whether he can or not remains to be seen. For now, though, he is the one favored by democrats to unseat the incumbent for reasons in which identity politics are no doubt at play. With a Wikipedia entry on his early life and education stating, “His father is Black and his mother white,” one can only presume the implication is each parent is a member of a separate group or as some might say race. But are they?

Did we not descend from the same ancestors? Even before Noah got off the boat with his sons and daughters-in-law were they not descendants of the first man and woman? Today we think of ourselves in terms of black and white thanks in large part to our politicians, pollsters, and pressers—and quite frankly, government. But this is a gross misunderstanding of the origin of humankind perpetuated by our education system and which we have come to accept as scientific fact. This is not to say that an amateur biologist deliberately manipulated us into a false theory about the origin of man. He just did not have the benefit of modern-day genetics that we have today. At some point, however, we have to acknowledge the truth about our shared ancestry if we are to survive as a nation.

In the audio recording, State Sen. Guiterrez implied that Sen. Cruz is stealing votes with his last name. Perhaps he is attempting to foment disdain for Sen. Cruz for being or choosing to be a “white” male perpetrating a fraud. I can’t say that I have ever heard Sen. Rafael “Ted” Cruz (whose father was born and raised in Cuba) claim a “Hispanic” or Cuban or “white” identity for that matter, and that is okay. One’s cultural heritage is not and should never be wielded as a shield or a sword.

We are a better nation when we embrace diversity in the light of the motto of the United States: “Out of Many, One.”

I, for one, pray that more of my fellow Americans would choose to be more like Sen. Cruz et al and put God and country first.

This is a commentary published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@texasscorecard.com.

Fe Bencosme

Fe Bencosme is the author of You Are Not Your Race: Embracing Our Shared Humanity in a Chaotic Age (Lioncrest 2021). She is an advocate for a colorblind society from her homebase in Houston.


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