Well, That Was a Quick Decade

So I took last week off from posting anything, primarily because I was traveling. I rarely skip a week, and in fact, I can’t remember the last time I went more than seven days without throwing out a couple of hundred words about the latest Trump travesty, or kick in the teeth to Latinos, or cultural breakthrough for Hispanics.

My timing was also odd, because during my absence, I hit a major milestone. That’s right. It has now been 10 years since I started my website, the Hispanic Fanatic.

If you know anything about the internet, you know that most blogs don’t last more than 10 weeks, much less 10 years.

And in truth, when I started this project, I figured I would run out of things to rant about after a hundred posts or so, and then I would get back to doing whatever it was I had been doing before I became immersed in racial politics and the subtleties of Latino culture and the history of pupusas.

But I have not run out of rants. If anything, I’ve become backlogged and have had to abandon the occasional article because the pace of our culture is always on to the next big thing.

Still, for 744 posts, totaling more than 320,000 words, I have been privileged to offer you insights, stabs at metaphorical meaning, and stray moments of dark cynical humor (yes, we laugh but we also cry).

And you have kept reading them, for a decade and counting.

And for that, I can only say the following:

Muchas gracias.



What’s It All About?

Many of us have spent the last year or two fretting about the white working class (WWC). Americans are concerned that WWC individuals have been cruelly left behind, and we empathize with their discomfort over a changing world.

Truly, it is to weep.

But while we knock ourselves out trying to justify their allegiance to President Trump, many of us wonder why WWC people can’t just pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Or we ask why their anger and hostility should be met with hugs. Or we ponder why ethnic minorities — who tend to be poorer than the WWC — didn't clamor for Trump like their white counterparts did (hey, I’m sure racism had nothing to do with that).

But then along comes a study to say, “Guess what? All your claims that white people are disenfranchised are really just so much bullshit.”

Because a recent study led by researchers at Stanford, Harvard, and the Census Bureau shows that “white boys who grow up rich are likely to remain that way.” However, “black boys raised at the top are more likely to become poor than to stay wealthy” when they grow up.

Think about what that means. It implies that race matters more than class when it comes to how well you do as an adult. And it further implies that white privilege is not some made-up straw man that progressives created.

The researchers found that “black boys raised in America, even in the wealthiest families and living in some of the most well-to-do neighborhoods, still earn less in adulthood than white boys with similar backgrounds” and that these gaps persisted “even when black and white boys grew up in families with the same income, similar family structures, similar education levels, and even similar levels of accumulated wealth.” 

In other words, the only significant variable was the color of their skin. But that turned out to be one hell of a factor.

Now, the good news — if it can be called that — is that my fellow Latinos do not fare as badly as our African American brethren. The study shows that “the gap between Hispanics and whites is narrower, and their incomes will converge within a couple of generations if mobility stays the same.”

That, of course, is a very big “if” — a humungous one, in fact. Currently, Latino households have less than 2 percent of the wealth of white households. And keep in mind that other studies have shown that escaping poverty takes 20 years with nothing else going wrong.

But at least Latinos have hope, no matter how meager.

African Americans do not have grounds for anything other than pessimism. In fact, “black boys — even rich black boys — can seemingly never assume that… at some point you escape the poverty trap.”

The depressing nature of this study becomes clearer with the admission that the researchers tried to identify neighborhoods where black boys do as well as well as white boys, but called off that quest when they discovered “there are essentially no such neighborhoods in America.”

So would you like the primacy of race over social class spelled out even more for you? Well, the researchers have helpfully highlighted a number of alarming statistics to freak you out some more. Among them are the following:

  • Even when children grow up next to each other with parents who earn similar incomes, black boys fare worse than white boys in 99 percent of America.
  • Black men raised in the top 1 percent — by millionaires — were as likely to be incarcerated as white men raised in households earning about $36,000.
  • A black man raised by two parents together in the 90th percentile — making around $140,000 a year — earns about the same in adulthood as a white man raised by a single mother making $60,000 alone.
  • The worst places for poor white children are almost all better than the best places for poor black children.
  • The worst places for whites produce outcomes that are about as good as the best places for blacks. 

Yes, you can slice and dice the data a thousand different ways. It apparently all comes out the same way, which is to reveal that the white working class — despite its constant moans of agony — is actually in better shape than most ethnic minorities.

The study also shows that Americans — be they conservative or liberal — who insist “that the fundamental problem is class and not race” are at best misguided, and at worst self-serving liars. You see, “clearly this study explodes that idea.”

It has been, and will continue to be, about race.


Worst of the Worst

For a moment, let’s travel back to those innocent days of 2012.

The country had just reelected Barack Obama, overt racism was on the decline, and the idea of building a wall on the Mexican border was laughable. Also, the only people who had ever heard of Stormy Daniels were lonely guys planted in front of a computer.

Yes, those were the days.

But let’s also remember those conservative psychics in 2012 who predicted the end of America and record unemployment. Recall those GOP deep thinkers who said Obama would confiscate everyone’s guns, institute socialism, and more or less “morph into a radical Third World Soul Brother Number One. 

Yes, it’s clear now that none of the scary things that were supposedly inevitable in Obama’s second term actually came to pass. And of course, conservative pundits have since acknowledged how wrong they were and apologized for their fear-mongering.

Ha-ha… no.

In any case, the point is that the worst for Obama never happened. At no point have liberals had to sheepishly admit, “I guess the Republicans were right, and the guy was a Kenyan-born communist all along.”

In contrast, let’s look at some of the predictions for Trump’s presidency, which were made just over a year ago. The more extreme ones (e.g., that we would be living in a dictatorship on the verge of Hunger Games mania) were always unlikely to come true.

But what about those commentators who said racists would be emboldened? Well, even the most pessimistic of us probably didn't think hundreds of Nazis would proudly march down the streets in broad daylight, confident that the president would be ok with it. 

And what of the prediction that the Trump Administration was riddled with novices and crooks who would damage our institutions and set off a wave of corruption? That’s gone down.

Remember people who were concerned that Trump was an insecure amateur who had no idea how to remotely act presidential? I’m pretty sure that was spot on.

How about the idea that Trump would damage our international standing, cede leadership to other nations, offend our allies, and more or less make America a big, fat joke? Well, do you need to ask?

What about the prediction that Trump would drag American discourse into the gutter? Or that racial animus would get worse? Yeah, those things have happened too.

And of course, what about the concern that Trump would roll over and play dead for Putin, or that the Russia investigation would weigh down the administration like a huge, dead albatross made of lead? Hey, those turned out to be safe bets.

About the only predicted event that hasn’t happened is an economic meltdown, and the guy seems determined to pull that one off too.

Again, the worst for Obama never came true.

But many of our fears about a Trump presidency have already happened, barely a year into this nightmarish ride.

In theory, at some point conservatives will have to say, “OK, you kooky progressives were right. Trump is an unqualified idiot who has caused massive harm to this nation, and we cheered him on, much to our eternal shame.”

However, by the time that happens, the country will be so far gone that no one will feel any satisfaction or relief over that belated admission. 

At least, that’s my prediction.


A Left-Handed Compliment

Perhaps you are sinister.

No, I don’t mean you’re a vile person who is out to destroy the world. After all, you’re probably not a Republican.

Woops — just kidding, my GOP friends!

Ahem… yeah… anyway.

I’m talking about the original meaning of the word “sinister,” which was a Latin phrase (“sinistra”) that originally meant “left” or “left-handed” but took on the meaning of “evil.”

This trend is seen in many languages. For example,


“Left” in German (“linkisch”) also means “awkward”

“Left” in Russian (“levja”) is associated with being untrustworthy

Synonyms for “left” in Mandarin are things like “weird,” “incorrect,” and “wrong”

The truly French word “gauche” originally meant “left”

And the very word “left” comes from “lyft,” which meant “broken.”


You get the picture. Being a leftie has often been associated with myriad unfavorable traits. And in the olden days, left-handers were often coerced to use their right hand, in some cases even having the offending limb tied down to immobilize it.

Hell, never mind the olden days. Even here in 2018, about “two-thirds of the world still hates lefties.” You see, “in many Muslim parts of the world, in parts of Africa as well as in India, the left hand is considered the dirty hand, and it’s considered offensive to offer that hand to anyone, even to help.”

And of course, it’s tough for you southpaws to pick up a guitar, baseball glove, or pair of scissors without getting frustrated.

All of this comes despite the complete lack of scientific evidence that there is anything wrong with being left-handed, and with plenty of anecdotal evidence that we’ve had our fair share of high-achieving lefties.

So what does all this mean?

Well, it means that, on some level, humans actively look for reasons to hate one another. Yes, life is hard enough with natural obstacles and unforeseen bad breaks and outbreaks of cultural stupidity. We apparently have to make it even more difficult by honing in on the slightest deviance — like being left-handed — and piling on the fear and loathing for absolutely no good goddamn justification.

Which leads us back to the prevalence of racism. 

Will it even be eradicated?

That is, of course, highly unlikely. And even if we did somehow achieve ethnic and racial nirvana, where differences were celebrated and never a cause for distrust or violence, we would find some way to fuck it up.

I don't know — probably the small-nostriled people would oppress the large-nostriled people. Or people who like spicy food would get into fistfights with people who don’t. Or some other infinitesimal difference would become grounds for superiority and anger.

Hating on left-handers just proves that people will discriminate against any minority — for the smallest, oddest rationale, and for the tiniest infraction or deviance from the majority. 

But then again, let’s just remember this:

According to the Bible, the angel who sat at God's left-hand side was Lucifer. 

Well, that settles it.




It’s easy to predict the 2018 midterms (i.e., the Democrats will win big… or they might not).

It’s a little tougher to predict the 2020 presidential election (i.e., Trump will lose in a landslide… or he might not).

But if we really want to get crazy, let’s look at the 2024 presidential election. Because regardless of whether or not Trump gets reelected in 2020, he will not run in the election after that. Either because he’s a disgraced loser who is way to old to run for office, or because he is constitutionally prohibited from a third term (unless, of course, he declares himself president for life… ahem). 

In any case, we can say, with a high degree of certainty, that Trump will not be the GOP nominee in 2024.

So who will it be?

Well, let’s face it — naming a specific person at this point is idiotic, arrogant, or a sad attempt to fill time on a 24-hour news channel having a slow day.

No, I don’t have any names to throw around. However, I can predict what type of person the Republican nominee will be. First, we can be fairly certain that he will be a guy, probably a white guy, and probably an older white guy. After all, the GOP is overwhelmingly the party of older white guys. So don’t expect their future nominee to be an Asian woman in her forties. 

Of course, the limited gender and racial makeup of the current and future Republican Party is well-known. The bigger question is what characteristics the 2024 nominee will have.

And this is where it gets truly interesting. Conventional wisdom holds that Trump has so severely damaged the GOP brand that it will not recover, at least not any time soon. Trump’s incompetence, corruption, and immorality have repulsed most Americans from voting Republican. Combined with undeniable demographic trends, the GOP will be sent reeling in the coming years.

Under such adverse conditions, the GOP will try to make amends. They will nominate a moderate in 2024, and his campaign will basically consist of begging for forgiveness. But this tactic will fail miserably, and the Republican Party will essentially be confined to pockets of the Deep South and rural America, with nothing but decay and slow death in its future.

But wait. There is a different version of this story.

You see, there is a school of thought that Trump has permanently altered not just the GOP, but American politics itself. His brand of fire-breathing madness and racist demagoguery has revealed the GOP for what it is. And the conservative base loves it. Far from punishing Trump and his allies for, say, insulting anyone who isn't a white man, the GOP true believers are more enthralled than ever.

As a result, Republicans are now perfectly comfortable embracing xenophobia and tolerating tacky pronouncements on race and ethnicity. In fact, they are loath to disclaim it, for fear of pissing off their army of bigots.

In this scenario, the next GOP nominee will be just as prejudicial, neo-fascistic, and hate-filled as Trump. The probable difference is that he will not be as overtly crude as Trump. He will be more polished, and more open to playing nice when it suits him. At the very least, he will have just enough self-control to avoid attacking people in 5:00 tweetstorms.

This smoother, more charming Trump could indeed win a general election, especially if the Democrats find a way to screw up things up like they always do.

And then what happens? Well, Trump 2.0 would have little trouble pushing America into authoritarianism for the foreseeable future. He will succeed where Trump’s belligerence and obvious mental instability have failed.

He will create a new nation. And it will all be over for the rest of us.

How’s that for a prediction?