I'm for Obama, but all my girlfriends are for Hillary. As a born and bred Tejana with absolutely no polling experience, I predict that Clinton will take Texas - but not by much.
My beloved state of Texas has a history of racial segregation between whites and blacks, whites and browns - and browns and blacks. I'm from the baby boomer generation, and my peers carry the prejudiced baggage of our parents. Not all - but many. They will never admit it, but it's there in what they don't say and the murmurs...you don't want to hear those words.
My generation of people in the fifties and forties has led separate lives from Blacks. At the MLK March we have every year here, billed as the largest in Texas, latinos and whites were maybe 20% of the thousands of black marchers on the city's eastside - now turning browner with immigrants and middle-class blacks leaving for the suburbs. Remember, latinos are easily 60% of the city's population, and I think blacks constitute approximately 7%. You call this togetherness? I call it the Alamo.
Rudy Rosales, Ph.D, a professor of political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) told me months ago that "this country would never elect a black man." Rosales considers himself a progressive, and his wife, Rosa Rosales, is the national director of LULAC, who has substantial ties and much to gain from Hillary's political machine. That's not a bad thing, it's just our history - so far.
I want Obama to win. And this is something that's been bothering me because I've always admired La Hillary. Why do I want a black man to win over Hillary? Why do I feel more at home with him than the white woman? My first childhood friends were black, is that it? Did the name-calling I endured make me sensitive to what my black girlfriend Freda suffered after desegregation? Even after all the sexual harrassment I've felt from the latinos and white men, and even black men in the past?
As the young people say, it's twisted.
I think Obama has more conciencia, though I fear it will be lost as he's influenced by the powers. I'm an idealist, anyone who stood up to the War publicly in 2002 gives me hope. No one in public office I know from Texas stood up so boldly and challenged the War, not with all the military bases we have.
If Obama wants to win Texas, I have this advice - and it comes from all the arguments I've had with las girlfriends about him.
He needs to include Brown in his Black/White dichotomy. And he needs to say it on the national stage, and especially in the debate next week in Austin, Texas. He needs to say it often, loud - and proud. I suspect he means the blackness in brown, but my people here haven't come to that realization yet. My generation in general doesn't trust black leaders, having been forced to fight for a slice of pecan pie that wasn't very good to begin with. We weren't enslaved, it was worse. They married some of us. Then they enslaved us.
Brown is what we cling to, it's what we remember, it's what defines us, even as the definition of white/black/brown continues its melting inside us.
Maybe that's it, I see Obama as a brown woman because he's mixed like me, and he's emotional, like me. He lets his heart do the talking. He's the feminine, while Hillary is trying to be the macha.
Either way, it's history. And I never dreamed this would happen. Not in the Texas I grew up in. And we're planning pillow fights after the debate next week.
credits: Virgen de Guadalupe Velorio, next door to Obama's speech at the Guadalupe Plaza today