Mr. President, Hispanic Diversity is Real And Complicated

A diverse crowd on the Oceanside Pier in June. REUTERS/Mike Blake

President Trump stuck his foot-in-his-mouth when he criticized presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s comments that the Hispanic/Latino community is more diverse than the Black community.

“‘What he said is incredible…And I don’t know what’s going on with him, but it’s a very insulting statement he made.”

Trump’s foot-in-mouth is due to his lack of knowledge of the Hispanic community. You see, Biden is right!

“What you [Hispanics] all know, but most [non-Hispanic] people don’t know, unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community, with incredibly different attitudes about different things…”

Biden: “You go to Florida, you find a very different attitude about immigration in certain places than you do when you’re in Arizona,” he continued. “It’s a very different — a very diverse community.”

President Trump doesn’t understand that among the or so Hispanics there isn’t even agreement about the appellations of ethnicity “Hispanic” and “Latino,” or the new “Latinix.”

Trump doesn’t, for example, understand that Cubans have been accustomed to an extraordinary friendly immigration status under the administrations of Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 1 and Bush 2.

Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, on the other hand, stabbed Florida’s Cuban-refugee, now U.S.-citizen population in their collective back.

The Mariel boatlift allowed thousands of Cubans to enter the United States, welcomed by President Jimmy Carter. Limitations on Cubans were mildly imposed with the “wet foot, dry foot” policy that green-lighted Cubans who set foot on a dry Florida beach for legal entry into the United States. That easy entry was halted by pro-Castro President Barack Obama.

Who can forget Obama yucking it up with Cuban dictator Raul Castro at a Havana baseball game? That while political prisoners rotted in Castro’s infamous prisons.

Mexican Americans have no dog in that hunt, but their attitude is colored by decades of Cubans being allowed to blithely enter the country and receive instant Green Cards. This, while established Mexicans who have been in the United States for decades are “removed” for being in the country “illegally.”

Then came Central Americans who tended to be leftists and communists escaping conflicts they were losing in El Salvador and Guatemala, or fleeing the communist Nicaragua after they won.

Venezuelans escaping a socialist death rattle in what used to be one of the richest countries on earth have arrived. Venezuelanos and Nicaraguan refugees tend to be lovers of freedom and free enterprise, as are many of America’s Mexican-origin citizens.

Mexican families come for work and business. They fled poverty, not artillery or secret police. Entire in Arkansas, Oklahoma and North Carolina, for example, have been revitalized by Mexicans who came to work in poultry and meatpacking plants, then opened stores in boarded-up towns that died years ago. They founded newspapers in Spanish, provided an audience for two Spanish-language TV networks, and filled abandoned schools with bright-eyed children born in the United States.

Some came legally, some came illegally. There are almost Mexican-origin people in the U.S.

Nationally, Hispanics are starting new businesses faster than non-Hispanics. There are more Hispanic-owned businesses in California’s Orange and San Diego Counties, for example, than all the Black-owned businesses in the country.

So yes, Joe Biden is right. Hispanics are more diverse than the Black population. No reasonable person is insulted by that provable truth.

Originally published at on August 8, 2020.

Raoul Lowery Contreras is the author of 15 books and over 1300 articles. He formerly wrote for the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.