UCLA professor says GOP Latinos would ‘rather be white’

Some Latinos vote Republican because “they’d rather be white,” according to a University of California, Los Angeles, professor.

Professor Efren Perez believes Latino Republicans have an “earnest and devout investment in whiteness as an ideology.”

“If whiteness is an ideology, then your skin color and racial classification do not matter as much as your genuine belief in a subjugating worldview,” Perez wrote recently in a Newsweek essay. “If whiteness is an ideology, then what earns you your bona fides is your commitment to pushing back, politically, and sometimes violently, against a variety of minoritized groups who ‘deserve’ to be put in their place and kept there.”

“Does this mean that Latino Republicans are ashamed of their ethnic origins and would rather be white?” Perez asks rhetorically. “Yes, in an ideological sense.”

The UCLA professor turns Republican Latinos into a straw man by comparing them to Enrique Tarrio, the Cuban leader of the Proud Boys and a convicted criminal

He does not mention mainstream Republican leaders such as Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), Idaho Attorney General Raul Labrador, or Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez. 

Though a majority of Latinos vote Democratic, it’s the 33% who support former President Donald Trump, “who is openly xenophobic and anti-Latino,” that worry Perez.

Why might Latinos vote Republican? He says it’s because they want to be at the top of the social hierarchy. He suggests they are “psychologically compelled to affirm this status quo by ideologically joining in whiteness.”

“Latino Republicans aspire to be the kind of Latino who thinks that racial and ethnic minorities — especially Black people — ’complain too much;’ who think that women should be ‘seen, not heard;’ who believe we are being overrun by ‘lawbreaking illegal immigrants;’ who feel that homosexuals and transgender individuals are ‘unnatural aberrations,’ and so on,” the professor claims.

Now let’s translate that into the more charitable interpretation: they oppose racial grievance politics, they support a traditional family home, they oppose illegal immigration, and they don’t support homosexuality and transgenderism. 

Sounds reasonable to me and aligned with socially conservative Republicans. Their views on social issues also align with their 55% identification as Roman Catholic and 16% identification as evangelical.

I am not a UCLA professor, but it seems reasonable why 1 in 3 Latinos votes Republican. They support lower taxes, gun rights, and school choice. The faithful Catholic Argentine youth minister and the Ecuadorian assistant youth minister I volunteered with voted the way you’d expect conservative Catholics to vote. 

In other words, Latinos have various views on political issues, and one-third of them believe Republicans most closely align with their priorities. There is nothing devious about it, and they don’t want to be “white” or embody “whiteness” just because they’re concerned about pornographic books in schools or want a better business climate.

While the UCLA professor worries about Latinos who supposedly want to be part of some mythical white hierarchy, there might be something else at play. 

The UCLA professor laments that these Republicans “are ideologically opposed to thinking of Latinos as a racially aggrieved member of the Democratic coalition.”

He also says “many Latinos prioritize their American identity over their Latino identity,” paraphrasing another scholar.

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A California professor who studies racial politics cannot understand why the Democratic Party’s agenda of unlimited abortionunchecked illegal immigration, and assaults on religious liberty is not appealing to everyone.

The question shouldn’t be why 1 in 3 Latinos votes Republican; it’s why more do not.

Matt Lamb is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is an associate editor for the College Fix and has previously worked for Students for Life of America and Turning Point USA.

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