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Dear Editor:
Dr. Baer's letter has an overly optimistic view of the importance of Hispanics in the next election or indeed, in many to come. Though Hispanics are the largest "minority", he (and many politicians) ignore the fact that a large number are either here illegally (and hence not legally able to vote) or too young to vote. Or maybe that's precisely why politicians are so hot to "legalize" the illegal, contrary to the wishes of the public in general. Furthermore, Dr. Baer's letter (and politicians) appear to assume that "Hispanics" are monolithic, and can be influenced to vote in one direction just because they're "Hispanic", an assumption fostered by "ethnic advocacy" groups such as La Raza. Would Dr. Baer presume that "Anglos" will vote for a certain party because they're "Anglo"? I doubt it. But I can assure him that my Hispanic niece who's married to an Anglo businessman will vote solidly Republican, and not because she's responding to appeals to her "Hispanicness", but because it's in her perceived financial interest to do so. Finally, Dr. Baer's letter reads too much into the prevalence of "Spanish". I've seen bilingual directions in a number of language, including Spanish, Chinese, French, and Arabic, depending on where the product was produced. It's part of the trend to globalization, not to Spanish-speaking immigrants in particular. Nothing like being able to sell the same product in a number of countries, without the trouble and expense of changing the packaging. "Hispanics" are certainly a niche market for many companies, but then, so are Asians and African-Americans, and so are many other groups which are not based on ethnicity or race and so are not as visible.

Ali Alexander



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