Monday, October 29, 2007
Today's distinguished guest is Earl Hutchinson. An author, syndicated columnist, political analyst and commentator, Earl has been a guest on Hannity and Colmes, The O'Reilly Factor, The Big Story, EXTRA, and numerous CNN News and Talk Shows. Earl joins us today to discuss his new book, The Latino Challenge to Black America: Towards a Conversation Between African-Americans and Hispanics.
Welcome to The Book Connection, Earl. It is a pleasure to have you with us.
Before we talk about your book, can you tell us a bit about your career? You have an impressive list of credits. How did you get started? Have you always been interested in politics?
Thanks for inviting me to share my thoughts on writing and my book with your audience. I wish I could say that I started out wanting to be a career writer/journalist but that isn't the case. I happened to see an ad that a local throwaway newspaper needed a reporter so on a whim I applied. And to my shock I was hired. It took me a while to find my writing legs and figure out just what I was supposed to do as a reporter. But I persevered, and found that I enjoyed the challenge of crafting reports that actually got people thinking about issues. In covering stories and personalities in the 1970s in L.A., I had occasion to rub shoulders with history in my interviews and writings. In one year, I interviewed Bob Marley, Benjamin Spock, Ralph Abernathy, Julian Bond, Dick Gregory, Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton, Cesar Chavez, Angela Davis, Gary Hart and countless other luminaries. I was hooked on writing and politics from then on.
Tell us about The Latino Challenge to Black America: Towards a Conversation Between African-Americans and Hispanics. What is this book about? Why is it important to the world we live in today?
I like to think the book breaks new ground on the little understood turmoil behind blacks and Latinos. It looks at an area of race and ethnic relations that has not been closely examined, namely intra racial and ethnic conflict and tensions. Race problems in America for decades have been framed in black and white. That's no longer the case. It's black versus brown, brown versus black, black and brown versus Asian, and all sorts of other conflict combinations. In the Latino Challenge I assess how illegal immigration, gang and prison violence, competition over jobs, education and health services and funds, political jockeying, and racial stereotypes color black and Latino relations.
One topic we have been hearing in the news for quite some time now is immigration. It is an age-old battle that continues to be waged in modern America. Your book provides a history on how immigration has impacted blacks over the years. How does immigration impact blacks today?
It cuts two ways. Many blacks blame illegal immigration for taking jobs from blacks, running down inner city schools, increasing the deterioration of their neighborhoods, and fueling violent attacks on blacks. Many Latino and immigration rights groups blame blacks for creating a straw man issue out of immigration and say it does none of these things. So there is the seed of conflict.
You mention in Chapter 9 of The Latino Challenge to Black America, that immigration law reform may not have been successful in answering the question of whether or not illegal immigrants take jobs from the young, the unskilled, and often African-American low-income workers. Why is that? Why has Congress been unsuccessful for so long in handling this issue?
Fear and lack of political will explain Congress's failure to craft a meaningful immigration reform law. The debate over whether illegal immigrants hurt black job seekers would be there whether Congress enacted immigration reform or not. It's shrouded in myth, half truths, opinion and passions. That's always a volatile mix.
Where can readers purchase a copy of The Latino Challenge to Black America: Towards a Conversation Between African-Americans and Hispanics?
At any bookstore, if they don't have it ask them to get it and it's available on Amazon. Visit this website for additional information - http://www.middlepassagepress.com/.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Black and Latino relations will be a touchy, edgy, and pivotal ethnic and race issue problem for years to come. My book tells why.
Thank you Earl for taking the time to speak with us today. I wish you continued success in all your future endeavors.
For more on this and other topics concerning race and politics in America, visit Earl's blog, The Hutchinson Political Report at http://earlofarihutchinson.blogspot.com/