Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Think Progress has a post up today entitled, "After making ‘American English’ the official language of Texas, GOP recruits Latinos in Spanish." Here's the video featured as part of Texas' new Youtube campaign, "Soy Tejano Republicano(a)."

Now, there are three interesting things about this video. First, judging from the cast of the video, the number of Tejano Republicans is very, very small. Couldn't they have hired actors? One of the featured speakers is clearly not a native Spanish speaker. Given that the point of this video is to attract a wider Hispanic base, one would think that the creators would have preferred to show the breadth of Tejano Republicans by featuring -- well, Tejano Republicans.

The second thing that struck me about this was the way in which these Tejano Republicans talk about "America." As Spanish speakers know, "America" refers to the Americas generally, not to the United States, which is Los Estados Unidos. "Americans" are "Estado Unidenses," not "Americanos." In other words, when you say "Americanos" in Spanish, you may very well be speaking about Mexicans or North Americans genreally. And so it somewhat interesting to note that at least one of the Tejano Republicans featured here (about 20 seconds in) talks about "American" opportunity:

"Soy Republicana porque creo en la oportunidad equitativa para todos los Americanos."

In other words, this is hedging: Republicans stand for equal economic opportunity for all "Americans," but American here means something broader than United States citizens. The sentence could have read "Soy Republicana porque creo en la oportunidad equitativa para todos los Estado Unidenses," but it does not. And why? Because in order to cast itself as pro-Hispanic, the Republican party has to do some serious backbends.

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