Words vs. policy: why is Ricky Martin urging Latinos to unite against...

Words vs. policy: why is Ricky Martin urging Latinos to unite against Trump?


This week singer Ricky Martin wrote an opinion piece urging Latinos “to unite against Donald Trump.”

In reference to the GOP candidate throwing Univision anchor Jorge Ramos out of a press conference, Martin wrote:

“I am not surprised Trump would aim so low. I am surprised that we Hispanics continue to accept these aggressions and accusations by individuals like Trump who continue to attack our dignity.

If we have been united for some things, we must be united for all. We have already proven to the United States who we are as Latinos, and that we will not allow that type of behavior. We have to stop the power that Trump feels he has over Latinos, and the xenophobic speech that he and his campaign team seem to be convinced will be successful.

Let’s prove that Latinos must be respected.”

The interesting thing is that Martin has decided that Latinos should be unified because of a high profile candidate’s racist rhetoric. Trump’s heated rhetoric is just language; it is not actual policy.

When you examine the damage done to the Latino community in terms of actual policy, the Obama administration has deported over two million people.

Last April, Frank Sharry, who head’s up the immigration advocacy organization, America’s Voice, said, “The fact (is) that you have a president who spoke movingly about the pain of family separation and the priority he would put on passing immigration reform as a candidate, and yet to date his legacy is 2 million deportations and no immigration reform legislation.”

An overwhelming number of the people who are deported are from Latin America. Last year, Human Right Watch released a report indicating that the border patrol’s practice of rapid fire screening of migrants from Central America was flawed because it wasn’t allowing them to make a claim for asylum.

Despite the damage that the current administration has done to the Latino community and a then candidate-Obama who spoke “movingly about the pain of family separation” and who subsequently went on to set deportation records, Ricky Martin wasn’t calling for Latinos to unite so that policy makers could respect them.

When it comes down to it, Donald Trump hasn’t used public office to forcibly remove anyone from the country yet, but the Latino public is asked to unite against individuals like him “who continue to attack our dignity.” Maybe Latinos need to ask themselves who attacks their dignity more.

Photo credit: Ricky Martin Sydney by Eva Rinaldi, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


  1. Adriana: This doesn’t have to be either/or. I live in Arizona where hate is whipped up like sandstorms. Hate has a function. It is very oppressive and permits oppressive politics that result in oppressive laws. thanks for your thoughts.

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