Things That Matter

Will We Have A Latino Vice President Or Nah?

It’s been reported that Hillary Clinton will announce her running mate on Friday, just days before the Democratic National Convention kicks off. A lot of names have been suggested for the Vice President position. Among them are the three prominent Latino politicians you see below.

Julian Castro

Credit: @Latinos4MediaEq/Twitter

Julian Castro is the current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) — an Obama cabinet position — and former mayor of San Antonio. His national profile rose after delivering the keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Castro is endorsed by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. It also doesn’t hurt that he stumped for Clinton in Iowa, a move which some saw as trial run. The New York Times even listed the Mexican-American from Texas as a potential running mate.

Despite being the most cited Latino in Clinton’s VP short list, Castro comes with a little baggage. Back in April, a coalition of progressive groups tried to discredit him over an obscure HUD policy. The TLDR version of the attack was that Castro was allegedly making it easier for Wall Street to buy bad HUD-owned mortgages on the cheap. Several Latino political operatives saw this assault on Castro as an attack by white progressive groups throwing a Latino under the bus, which yeah, it kind of really was. But that’s not all. Castro recently violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits government officials from making political statements while on official business.

Tom Perez

Official_portrait_of_United_States_Secretary_of_Labor_Tom_Perez
Credit:  Office of the Secretary for the United States Department of Labor

Thomas Perez is the current Secretary of Labor, also serving in Obama’s cabinet. We wrote a quick primer on him back in March, but in case you didn’t read that, here’s what you need to know: He’s Dominican-American, he was an assistant attorney general who focused on civil rights violations, and he’s a progressive in the vein of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. In fact, Warren once suggested Perez as possible VP pick to prominent Democrats at a party, according to Politico.

The biggest drawback to Perez is that people don’t really know who he is, and there’s no guarantee that Mexican-Americans, who make up nearly 65 percent of the total U.S. population, will be swayed by a candidate simply because he has a Spanish last name. If that were the case, something tells us that Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz would’ve fared a lot better during their failed GOP presidential runs.

Xavier Becerra

Credit: @NYTNational/Twitter

Xavier Becerra is the fourth-highest ranking Democratic legislator, serving as the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. He represents California’s 34th congressional district, which includes downtown Los Angeles and the city’s Latino-heavy Boyle Heights neighborhood. Given that his district is immigrant-heavy and he himself is the child of immigrants, comprehensive immigration reform is one of Becerra’s most important issues. Becerra has also campaigned several times alongside Clinton in Latino-heavy regions, which is why his name has been mentioned in the first place.

There’s been some buzz around Becerra, though that has really come from fellow Democratic legislators like Rep. Joe Crowley (D – N.Y) and Rep. Jim Clyburn (D – S.C.). Still, despite being a deep sleeper pick, having Becerra on the ticket might not be bad for Clinton. The Democratic nominee has repeatedly stated that she not only wants to win the White House, but also take back the House and Senate from Republicans. Picking someone like Elizabeth Warren makes that a harder task. With Becerra, however, there’s no danger of Warren’s seat going to a Republican.

But will we actually have a Latino VP?

It’s hard to say, really. Now’s a good time to remind you that Clinton made a promise to the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda back April that Latinos would play a key role in her administration, and it would be shortsighted to not keep a commitment to the largest minority group in a country that’s becoming increasingly non-white. That said, recent reports suggest that the two top contenders for VP are white men. There’s also the fact that Clinton chose to skip the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference, which is like the Latino national convention. Maybe she thinks having Trump as an opponent means that she can quietly start back-stepping on some of the promises made to Latinos. We’ll see.

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Joe Biden And President Donald Trump Are Battling It Out For Florida’s Crucial Latino Vote

Things That Matter

Joe Biden And President Donald Trump Are Battling It Out For Florida’s Crucial Latino Vote

joebiden / Instagram

Florida’s Latino vote is a crucial part of a winning strategy in the Sunshine State. The demographic shifts in recent years because of natural, financial, and governmental disasters has led to a big Puerto Rican diaspora in Florida. President Trump’s handling of the Hurricane Maria recovery has left Puerto Ricans upset with the administration.

Joe Biden and President Donald Trump are battling for Florida’s Latino voters.

Both the Democratic and Republican nominees are making concerted efforts to shore up Latino support in Florida. There are 3.1 million eligible Latino voters in the swing state and make up a crucial voting bloc. While a large number are conservative Cubans and Cuban-Americans, there are also other Latino communities representing different parts of Latin America.

The polling tells a story of two candidates locked in a heated race for the Latino vote in Florida.

Polls, like The Washington Post-ABC News poll, show Biden taking the lead with Latino voters in Florida. According to that poll, Biden is leading Trump 52 percent to 39 percent. However, Hillary Clinton won the Latino vote in Florida 62 percent to 35 percent in 2016. Clinton’s success with the Latino community of Florida shows that the Latino vote is not the only way to clinch the electoral college votes.

On the other hand, President Trump wants everyone to pay attention to one poll. President Trump is sharing a poll by The Washington Post and ABC News that shows him leading in Florida. According to the poll, Trump leads in Florida by 4 points.

The Latino community in southern Florida is being bombarded by a disinformation campaign.

The disinformation is aimed at Florida’s Latino voters and is peddling conspiracy theories against Biden. One of the most prominent examples of this disinformation was the racist and anti-Semitic insert published in a recent edition of the Miami Herald. The insert compared BLM protesters to Nazis but argued that Nazis were nicer since they didn’t steal anything.

Both candidates are pouring money into their campaign efforts in Florida. Both are spending time and money trying to court the Latino vote in an effort to win the key state.

Critics of the president are pointing to the sudden relief package to Puerto Rico is a grab for votes.

President Trump was harshly and fairly criticized after he didn’t respond to the natural disaster in Puerto Rico. The 2017 hurricane devastated the island and left millions without power for weeks. One of the most memorable moments of that time was President Trump throwing paper towels to Puerto Ricans recovering from the disaster.

President Trump, during an election, approved $13 billion in relief funds for Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican voters have not forgotten the three years it took for the president to approve relief funds to help rebuild the island after a devastating storm.

READ: The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

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Twitter’s AIs Prefer Ted Cruz With Boobs And White Skin Over Black

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Twitter’s AIs Prefer Ted Cruz With Boobs And White Skin Over Black

Ever notice how on some social platforms like Twitter or Instagram that you yourself are mysteriously unable to crop your display images on your own? That’s because Twitter prefers to let their algorithms make the decision. Over the weekend users on Twitter discovered the surprising dangers of letting algorithms crop your own images.

Education tech researcher Colin Madland drew attention to the issue while speaking out about how the video-calling program Zoom, often crops the head out of his black person coworker while on calls.

It didn’t take long for Madland and other users to discover that Twitter’s AIs use discriminatory equations to prioritize certain faces as well. In short, the social platform’s AIs prefer white faces over Black ones.

In response to the discoveries, a Twitter spokesperson acknowledged that the company was looking into the issue “Our team did test for bias before shipping the model and did not find evidence of racial or gender bias in our testing. But it’s clear from these examples that we’ve got more analysis to do. We’re looking into this and will continue to share what we learn and what actions we take,” they stated.

Of course, Madland’s discovery is nothing new. In 2019, test results from the National Institute of Standards and Technology revealed that some of the strongest algorithms online were much more likely to confuse the faces of Black women than those of white women, or Black or white men. “The NIST test challenged algorithms to verify that two photos showed the same face, similar to how a border agent would check passports,” Wired points out. “At sensitivity settings where Idemia’s algorithms falsely matched different white women’s faces at a rate of one in 10,000, it falsely matched black women’s faces about once in 1,000—10 times more frequently. A one in 10,000 false match rate is often used to evaluate facial recognition systems.”

Still, it didn’t take long for users on the platform to ask what other physical preferences Twitter has.

Turns out the AIs prefer Ted Cruz with large anime breasts over a normal-looking Ted Cruz.

(To better understand this Tweet, click the link above)

The user who tested the image of Cruz, found that Twitter’s algorithm on the back end selected what part of the picture it would showcase in the preview and ultimately chose both images of Cruz with a large anime chest.

It’s nothing new that Twitter has its massive problems.

For a platform that so controls and oversees so much of what we consume and how we now operate, it’s scary to know how Twitter chooses to display people with different skin tones. The round of jokes and Twitter experiments by users has only revived concerns on how “learning” computer algorithms fuel real-world biases like racism and sexism.

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