Cultural Politics

RedBrownandBlue.com was founded on the belief that America’s future will depend on civil discourse effectively integrating cultural politics, diverse social perspectives, multicultural issues, the needs of the multicultural community, and inclusive political commentary.

Our belief is that cultural politics should not be a tiny sphere within which multicultural communities simply talk to themselves and each other. Cultural politics should be traditional American politics enriched by the added value of multicultural perspectives and intelligently addressing multicultural issues that have long dogged America, from civil rights to health disparities, from educational attainment gaps to income differentials.

RedBrownandBlue.com executes this vision through the leadership of Founder and Editor-in-Chief Rudy Ruiz, a nationally syndicated columnist, and Jake Negovan, Editorial Director.

Overall, the RedBrownandBlue.com team is committed to making cultural politics an appealing matter of everyday interest to mainstream audiences, and vital thread within the wider fabric of American discourse and democracy.

Featured Article:

RedBrownAndBlue.com Adheres to Addressing Issues Involving Cultural Politics

[Posted on March 14]

Thanks to our staff of dedicated and informed contributors, RedBrownAndBlue.com is making headway in pursuing its vision. We chose to focus our attention on cultural politics at RedBrownandBlue.com to help introduce and promote multicultural social perspectives to the media to fill traditional gaps in coverage.

When establishing RedBrownandBlue.com, our goal was to become an agent of change, and ignite the imagination of all citizens willing to read our material, regardless of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. When thinking of the challenges facing our nation, we sought to not only inform our visitors but to also try and empower citizens of all walks of life to get involved in issues that effect each other. It is essential that we offer our readers a commentary related to cultural politics that focuses on the struggles we face while reflecting the wide variety of voices that are going unheard in more traditional media. This cross-cultural exchange of news and ideas is crucial to identifying and solving national and international issues, whether they involve immigration, wealth disparity, health care, or any other social injustice that takes place in our world. Democracies are destroyed by apathy, so RedBrownandBlue.com hopes to increase political interest, activism, and empowerment.

At RedBrownandBlue.com, we will do our part to ensure that we provide Americans with diverse perspectives on the issues of cultural politics. Find out more by browsing through RedBrownandBlue.com today. Read through our stories, post comments, and if you have any questions or would like to know more about how you can get involved, simply send us an email via our contact form.



Hispanic Politics

Hispanic politics is one of the most exciting and intriguing areas within the broader American political landscape today. Due to the astounding growth of the Hispanic population and the corresponding demographic shifts, Hispanic politics as well as the broader themes of cultural politics and multicultural issues have become increasingly relevant to political commentary, mass public opinion and action.

RedBrownandBlue.com was founded within this context, based on the belief that America’s future will depend on civil discourse that effectively integrates Hispanic politics, diverse social perspectives, multicultural issues, the needs of the multicultural community, fair and compelling race commentary, and inclusive political commentary.

As Hispanic politics evolve into mainstream politics, it will be more important than ever that mainstream leaders and media address issues such as Hispanic discrimination and remain open to multicultural perspectives, diverse political forums and inclusive political commentary.

Founded by Rudy Ruiz, RedBrownandBlue.com  is committed to helping transform national politics into Hispanic politics. Our belief is that Hispanic politics should not be a narrow sphere within which Hispanics simply talk to themselves and each other. To the contrary, Hispanic politics should be American politics simply enriched by the added value of multicultural perspectives and a personal concern for meeting the needs of the multicultural community and intelligently addressing multicultural issues that have long dogged America, from civil rights to health disparities, from educational attainment gaps to income differentials.

In executing its vision, RedBrownandBlue.com is headed not only by Rudy Ruiz as Founding Editor and Nationally Syndicated Columnist but also Rolando Rodriguez, serving as Managing Editor and Columnist.

Rudy Ruiz has been hailed as a cultural visionary and has emerged as a national voice for refreshing, intelligent, creative and inventive political commentary, immigration commentary, race commentary and diverse social perspectives. He is an expert in Hispanic politics and multicultural issues. A graduate of Harvard, Latino role model Rudy Ruiz is also the host of the nationally syndicated radio program, “Adelante América.”

Rolando Rodriguez is a longtime communications practitioner within the world of Hispanic politics. He cut his teeth in the highly energized arena of Hispanic politics in Washington, DC, where he served as Communications Director for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. In that role, Rolando Rodriguez was privy to the inner workings of Hispanic politics at the highest levels. Rolando focuses his writing on race commentary, cultural politics, Hispanic discrimination and multicultural community concerns.

Overall, the RedBrownandBlue.com team is committed to making Hispanic politics a matter of everyday interest and appeal to mainstream audiences, a vital thread within the wider fabric of American discourse and democracy.

 

Featured Article:

Hispanic Politics Will Continue to Evolve

[Posted on April 19]

The election of an African-American to the US presidency shows that we have evolved tremendously as a society. The important takeaway is not that our president is black, but that we were able to consider important issues and not dismiss a candidate based on race alone. Although we have made significant progress, the need for more progress is far from over. We are still far from a society that considers all issues from an objective point of view, or one that at least considers various perspectives. Instead, we tend to vote and act based on preconceived notions. This election has brought awareness to the fact that doors have been opening for minorities in political and policy development and we now have minorities in positions running the gamut in the political arena. Things are beginning to change, but we are far from where we need to be.

The Hispanic population is growing at a rate faster than any other ethnic group in the United States. Although Hispanics account for a large portion of the population, they have yet to realize adequate representation in government. Because of this lack of representation, many Hispanics feel their ideas and opinions aren’t being heard and, as a result, become disenfranchised. There are several government initiatives and organizations that have been created to focus specifically on Hispanic needs, but face great challenges in addressing the major issues that impact the Hispanic community and community-at-large for that matter.

Another major issue regarding Hispanic politics is the complexity of the issues that face the community. This complexity is fueled not only by the often-polarizing nature of the subject matter, but the socioeconomic and political diversity of the community itself. Case in point, the immigration debate, many Latino elected and non-elected officials agree on the need for immigration reform; however their respective parties have found it very difficult to rally in support of this issue.

Hispanic politics and issues will continue to evolve and pose unique challenges, and as the Hispanic demographic continues to grow, the changes in the political landscape will become more apparent. These changes will continue to gain importance as the populace of Hispanics continues to grow. As we continue to open our policy making process to a more diverse audience, we will open ourselves to a more holistic approach to solving problems and a more inclusive society.



For the People: How to Win A Nobel Peace Prize, or Not.

On my morning drive last Friday, I heard surprising news that President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” I think I speak for nearly everyone, including the president, when I say “really?”

The awarding of the prize to our still-new Chief Executive has been widely described as “stunning”. Other words with a less neutral tone are being used by Republicans but, let’s be honest, there’s nothing surprising about their outrage. They must feel a little left out of the Nobel loop, considering the last Republican to receive the honor was Henry Kissinger. Kissinger was co-awarded the prize in 1973 for working to bring the Vietnam War to a close, though the war would continue for another four years. Here’s a tip, Republicans: don’t love war so much. You get more Peace Prizes that way.

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For the People: A Reflection.

I’m a minority.

Ok, I’m a circumstantial minority.  I’m a white guy in San Antonio, Texas working for a company founded, run, and predominantly staffed by Latinos. Living in this city for most of a decade and being surrounded by a people and culture not inherent to my background provides a perspective on certain things that I might not have developed elsewhere.  I find that unconditionally positive.  Living in the Alamo City, or living and working with its people, will never confer ethnicity upon me, though.  I am not, nor will I ever be, Latino.  I will always experience some of the aspects of life here as an outsider.

Hispanic Heritage Month is being celebrated in the United States right now, having started on September 15th and ending October 15th.  As someone without a corresponding experience to compare , I recently asked some of my friends and coworkers how they felt about Hispanic Heritage Month.  Were they happy?  Proud?  Embarrassed?  Insulted?  Did they view it as an important and honorable recognition of the Hispanic contribution to our American culture, or did they feel it was an empty gesture that people used as an excuse to get drunk on margaritas and stuff themselves with burritos?

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Should We Tax Fat to Reform America’s Health?

Here’s a whopper for you to chew on: Why not tax fat?

We tax cigarettes, gasoline and alcohol to dissuade their use and help pay for the damage they cause. So why not tax unhealthy food to reduce its appeal as well as pay for the health care costs generated by the growing burden of obesity? For added convenience and speed, I’d start by ordering up such a tax on fast food, pronto.

Let’s face it, two/thirds of Americans are afflicted by the obesity epidemic. Our expanding national waistline correlates to our bulging health care budget, accounting for $147 billion a year in medical bills. Experts at Johns Hopkins project that by 2015, 75% of Americans will be overweight or obese, calling the trend “a public health crisis.” Rather than accept it, why not fight the fat? It starts and ends with taxpayers, so why not grease the wheels with a fat tax?

The biggest reason people are obese is the way they eat. And cheap, fast food is at the congested heart of the matter. According to TIME Magazine, it is the largesse of taxpayers that enables McDonald’s to offer a Big Mac, fries and a Coke for under $5. Our tax dollars underwrite USDA subsidies to corn farmers. Cheap, abundant corn feeds our obsession with beef and pork, whose mass production relies on low-cost, unsanitary methods masked by antibiotics. All to feed America’s insatiable appetite for self destruction. Seen the glut of commercials touting bacon cheeseburgers lately? Given that the industry spends $10 billion in annual advertising, I reckon so. Heard of Burger King’s new “Enormous Omelet Sandwich?” Or Hardee’s “Monster Thickburger,” weighing in at 1,420 calories and 107 grams of fat? Yes, they chose those names, not me.  And their branding gurus make fat sound cool. According to MSNBC, the fun and games are a result of a “race among fast-food companies to lure customers with bigger, fattier and more filling menu offerings.”

Well, I’m glad someone’s running. Unfortunately, the only fast track the people buying this value-priced smorgasbord of excess are currently on is a one-way to the ER preceded by a pit stop at the newly expanded Big & Tall section of their friendly, accommodating, neighborhood Wal-Mart.

Sadly, our culture of obesity – in which fat is the new normal – is costing us dearly and will likely kill us unless we come to terms with the fact that it’s not healthy and it’s not good, not for individuals, not for our country, and certainly not for taxpayers.

You see, after our tax-payer subsidized corporate agriculture industry enables fast-food giants to ply us with sinful delights for some denomination of 99 cents, our obesity bloats our health costs, which in turn must be underwritten in some way or another by guess who? Taxpayers, the go-to item on the Congressional drive-thru menu. So as taxpayers fund the subsidies for the cheap entrees and pick up the tab for the care and drugs for the generously included sides of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, etc., I’m left wondering: who’s profiting?

When I diagrammed the cycle of profiteering, I came up with: agribusiness, pharmaceuticals (70% of anti-microbial drugs are administered to animals, not humans), food manufacturers, fast-food/restaurants, and finally health care and pharmaceuticals (again) trying to clean up the mess. Perhaps I should include leather goods companies benefiting from selling longer belts or lumber companies supplying extra wood for super-sized coffins?

Interestingly, when I cross-referenced the beneficiaries with the ranking of Top 50 Congressional contributors I discovered a Double Whopper: Health Professionals (#2), Insurance (#6), Pharmaceuticals (#11), Hospitals (#21), Crop Production (#22), Food & Beverage (#39), and Food Processing/Sales (#50). How’s that for a Monstrous Combo Meal?

Apparently, our tax dollars and special interest contributions have engendered subsidies to a system designed to make us sick at our own expense. So, as we consider how to pay for health care reform, we should consider this tasty approach:

Tax fast food and high-fat, processed foods. Place a surtax on companies profiting from the sale of such foods. Shift subsidies away from corn towards the production of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as organic, sustainable farming so that healthier, more natural food becomes as affordable and accessible as Chicken McNuggets.

While we’re at it, let’s regulate fast food advertising so our kids aren’t brainwashed to seek out happiness in a vacuous meal by age 3.

Finally, I respectfully suggest that the First Lady build on the success of her organic garden to lead the fight against fast food as a fundamental component of the White House’s proposed health care reform.

After all, the best place to start reforming our broken health care system is by first nourishing a healthier America. How’s that for a Big Mac Attack?

Rudy Ruiz has been hailed as a cultural visionary. A published author and multicultural advocate, Ruiz is an acclaimed multicultural communications entrepreneur. He founded Red Brown and Blue as well as Interlex, one of the nation’s leading advocacy marketing agencies ranked by Ad Age as one of the Top US Agencies across all disciplines. Prior to that, Ruiz earned his BA in Government at Harvard College and his Masters in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.



For the People: A Lesson Learned.

Something happened on my way to a good argument – I educated myself, applied reason and good sense, and found that I had less of a need to fight than I had previously believed.  In doing so, I realized that within the Texas text-book debate lies an opportunity to examine our current contentious political environment.

There has been a lot of talk in the news lately about the Texas State Board of Education, new Board Commissioner Gail Lowe, and the revision of Texas Essential Knowledge Skills.  Most of the talk concerns the fact that Lowe is a conservative Christian and she feels our Founding Fathers intended for our country to be guided by Christian principles, thus making it acceptable to use those principles to shape the education of American school children.  Like most of the things regarding the country’s Founding Fathers, it is debatable whether that was their intention, and statements can be cherry-picked from each of them to support either side of the argument.  Those men were remarkable thinkers, interested in multiple disciplines of thought, and supporters of the advancement of science to achieve greater understanding of the natural world.  Because of that support, I have a hard time believing that any of the Founders would argue against evolution or the Big Bang in favor of creationism or a fundamentalist time-line, which Lowe’s predecessor did while serving as Commissioner.

I read several of the published criticisms of the Texas State Board of Education.  I became concerned with some of the changes that were being considered which seemed to defy reason in favor of promoting a conservative political agenda.  I wanted to help publicize this revisionist agenda, criticize the flawed logic of the changes suggested, and call people to action against the subversion of public education.  Before sitting down to type, though, I took an important step.  Rather than regurgitate information that had come to me through secondary sources, I found the drafts of proposed revisions to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, annotated with commentary from members of the board.

What I found actually came as a surprise.  Looking at the proposed changes for Social Studies, Special Topics Social Studies, US Government, US History, Sociology, and World History, I discovered that the proposed changes in these drafts overwhelmingly support a broad and multicultural point of view in public education.  Despite reports to the contrary, Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall are not being eliminated in favor of Ronald Reagan and Rush Limbaugh.  Many, many historical figures are being proposed as additions to the curriculum (including Chavez and Reagan) that were not previously specified as part of the required teachings.  The majority of the controversy surrounds opinions made by one or two board members (or panelists appointed by those members) on the significance of particular figures, or the balance of “liberal” figures against “conservative” figures.  This again brings me back to the Founders.

The process underway in Texas to shape the education of our children is reflective of the Founder’s desire for elected representatives to debate the merits of public policy and act in the public interest.  They knew that a consensus would be rare, so they created a government in which debate could be used to sway opinion, and the opinion held by the majority would emerge victorious.  Checks and balances would be in place, though, to protect against tyranny by the majority.   Americans seem to have forgotten that this is the way the system works.  Follow this train of thought – if our students are subjected to an education that is scientifically deficient or politically slanted, it is because the Board of Education, chosen by the citizens, approved of that education.  If the Board approves of that education but the majority of citizens do not, it is because dissenting citizens did not adequately exercise their right to vote for the Board. And if they did not adequately exercise their right, it stands to reason that the eligible voters did not take the time to educate themselves on the gravity of that election.  In turn, if an unfavorable outcome occurs, the next election provides a means of redress.  Knowing this, I can only shake my head in disbelief when I see modern tea-party protesters claiming that they have no representation.  The representation is present, only now, that particular opinion is in the minority.

It is important to the core concepts of our government that we hold our elected officials accountable.  We must make clear before and after they are elected what we want them to do on our behalf.  This is true right now in Texas as the Board decides the things teachers will talk about with our children, and it’s important nationally as our lawmakers decide how to change the health care system.  Equally important is remembering that decisions will favor the majority, and as a member of the minority, one must maintain a rational opposition. Extreme vitriol not only reflects poorly on your point of view, but causes an immediate disconnect with the party you’re trying to persuade.  We have all been guilty of it at some point.

The Texas Board of Education is accepting informal feedback on TEKS proposals through October 9.  You can go here to find the annotated drafts, the contact information, and the appropriate procedure for submitting commentary.  Shouts of “you lie” are not considered valid.


Jake Negovan strives to shine a light on truth and hypocrisy when the mainstream media overlooks those small details. “…For the People,” Jake’s column, is his platform to address the issues that our country faces as we continue growing toward a society of equality.