How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

On brown restrictionism and the midterm

Photo by Robyn Beck/Getty Images

Governor-elect Brian Sandoval of Nevada shakes hands with a supporter on election night. November 2, 2010

This week's midterm election gave us much food for thought regarding the role of minorities in the outcome, and among the more interesting items on the menu has been victories of several minority Republican candidates in state and national elections.

While Latino voters helped net key victories for Democrats in the West, namely for Jerry Brown in the California governor's race and for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada, the GOP pitched a slew of ethnic candidates who won, in some cases without much Latino support. Among them are New Mexico governor-elect Susana Martinez, Nevada governor-elect Brian Sandoval and Florida U.S. Senate winner Marco Rubio, as well as South Carolina governor-elect Nikki Haley, who is Indian-American.

What do these winners have in common? In a post on, Shikha Dalmia wrote about a common thread that binds them: a restrictionist stance on immigration. From the piece:


In the news this morning: Teacher workshops on Islam, Democratic minority voters vs. GOP minority candidates, more

LA Unified teachers take Islam workshop - 89.3 KPCC In weekend classes, teachers learned about Islamic faith, culture, and the Middle East.

Conrad Black: Rubio likely to battle Obama in 2012 - National Post Could the GOP decide to pit a Latino against Obama in 2012?

Latino vote puts Brown in office - Ventura County Star A pollster credits a surge in enthusiasm among Latino voters between Labor Day and Election Day with aiding Jerry Brown’s decisive victory.

Geraldo Rivera: Efforts to Suppress the Latino Vote In 2010 Election Were a Throwback to Jim Crow - Fox News Geraldo speaks out, calls last month's don't-vote campaign from GOP-affiliated group "odious."

Black and Latino voters stick with a shrinking Democratic base - Los Angeles Times The two groups stayed with the Democratic party in large numbers on Tuesday.


Que viva el Vivaporu

Photo by TK/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A vintage jar of Vivaporu, May 2010

So being out sick today has me thinking about ways to feel better, and while I have yet to reach into the medicine cabinet for it, I've been thinking about Vivaporu.

To everyone else, it's Vicks VapoRub. To generations of Latinos who as children were smeared under the nose and on the chest with the minty, smelly, greasy stuff by immigrant parents and grandparents, it's alternately known as Vivaporu, Bibaporu (how Caribbean types, like my folks, tend to pronounce it) or the one-size-fits-all Veex.

A quick search brought up several blog posts ("My Mom Made Me Eat Vicks!" one headline screams), videos, even t-shirts dedicated to Vivaporu, the Latin American cure-all and, for some, torture cream. Here's what Latina-ish guest blogger Joe Ray posted about Vivaporu as applied by his Sinaloan mother (with my slight G-rated edit):


In the news this morning: The underestimated Latino vote, SB 1070's Russell Pearce to lead AZ senate, more

Did Polls Underestimate Democrats' Latino Vote? - New York Times Yes. From the story: "In Nevada, however, where most polls showed Sharron Angle ahead and Harry Reid instead won by almost 6 points, the polls were pretty far off the mark."

Election: Minorities helped fuel Harry Reid's victory in Nevada - Los Angeles Times More on how a record Latino voter turnout helped the Senate Majority Leader keep his seat.

POLL: Are You Excited About Susana Martinez's Election Win? - Latina At the moment, the majority of those responding to the magazine's evolving online poll regarding New Mexico's new Republican governor elect and Tea Party favorite say they are not.

Latino Voters Save the West for Democrats - COLORLINES In California, Colorado and Nevada, Latino voter turnout helped win key races for Democrats that many expected them to lose.


Hasta mañana

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A perfectly good place to put my voter sticker, November 2, 2010

After fulfilling my civic duty yesterday and then some, I'll be out for the rest of today.