This blog explores the complicated mix between culture, politics and sports among Latinos and Latinas in the United States.
Because “culture” is typically misunderstood when applied to the Latino/a population, it is either used to homogenize, or to present them fixed or static, or to construct them as “Other.” Also, culture is rarely discussed alongside politics even though they are inseparable. An examination of culture and politics can offer important lessons for politicians, government officials, labor organizers, grassroots activists, athletes and cultural workers on how best to advance the Latino/a community politically and economically within the United States. According George Lipsitz, “Culture exists as a form of politics, as a means of reshaping individual and collective practice for specified interests, and as long as individuals perceive their interests as unfilled, culture retains an oppositional potential.” (Time Passages)
Latino/a political empowerment must enter the “long march through culture.” As Antonio Gramsci has suggested capitalism maintains control not just through violence and political and economic coercion but ideologically, through a “hegemonic” culture in which the values of the ruling class become the “common sense” values of all. Thus a consensus culture develops in which people of the working and middle-classes identify their own good with the good of the ruling class, and thus help to maintain the status quo rather than revolting against it.