Politics, Moderate



Why isn't Julián Castro getting the same media attention as the other candidates?

Esther J. Cepeda on

"I have worked for three elected officials and volunteered on several campaigns," another Facebook pal, Shelli Romero, told me. When I consider Castro, I think of him as young and inexperienced. And I don't know what he has accomplished -- maybe he has accomplishments, but he does not talk about them enough. I don't know who would be identified as his base. I have not heard concrete issues that would cause me to associate with him. ... I am not sure what issues to identify when it comes to Castro."

The Twitter account for the PBS documentary "Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle" chalked it up to Castro being a little unrelatable: "His handlers have reduced him to role of competent functionary, endorsed by elite institutions. Perhaps a function of white supremacy that they are obscuring any personal, idiosyncratic aspect of his experience -- or maybe the guy is just that niño bueno ("good boy") robotic."

Still, others were more forceful about perceived media bias. One of my Twitter pals declared that the problem is: "Racism against Mexicans. It's as simple as that. Julian has more national experience that Pete."

Even President Trump feels Castro is no threat to his reelection campaign -- we know this because Trump hasn't blessed Castro with a snarky moniker or signature put-down.

Writing on the Latino Rebels blog, theologian Melissa Cedillo noted a disparity: "Castro is bringing his religion to the main stage and embodying Mexican-American faith in a way that not been seen before." Yet, Cedillo writes, "White Christianity often dominates the political narrative when it comes to faith." Are progressives "more comfortable hearing about faith from a white man than a Latino man?"

It's difficult to imagine that attractiveness, skin color, height and other cues and markers of social class and ethnicity don't play into the lack of coverage for Castro.


It's unknown whether the media has declined to breathlessly cover the young, Latino candidate's every move because more people aren't excited about him or if Castro is not breaking through because he just can't get the camera crews and news site bloggers themselves excited.

It's a shame that Castro may end up as another example of the way that, at this American moment, Latinos' prospects for success are likely limited by our complexions, hair color and surnames.


Esther Cepeda's email address is estherjcepeda@washpost.com, or follow her on Twitter: @estherjcepeda.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group




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