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Friday, July 6, 2018

STRANGER: EL DESAFÍO de un INMIGRANTE LATINO en la ERA de TRUMP (en español) by Jorge Ramos

Published by Vintage Español in 2018.

If you are not a viewer of Univision, you may be unfamiliar with Jorge Ramos. He is a news anchor/reporter for the network. I knew Ramos for one reason - he was literally thrown out of a major press conference during the Iowa Caucus season for asking then-candidate Donald J. Trump too many pointed questions about the centerpiece of his campaign - the wall. 

Ramos (on the left with no tie) trying to ask then-Candidate Trump
a few tough questions during the Iowa press conference. 
Ramos was born and raised in Mexico City, but moved to America for additional journalistic training and in search of the opportunity to be more free in his journalistic practice. He kind of lucked into broadcast journalism but he has run with it and done quite well for himself. He has become an American citizen as well.

Ramos addresses the press conference story right away. It's not as dramatic as it looked on TV, because the future President did let him come back into the press conference and did a private interview with Ramos afterwards. This moment set a couple of precedents, however. Trump and the press have had a rocky relationship, to put it mildly. Also, Ramos brought up a great number of statistics to the candidate and he ignored the facts, preferring to go with his gut. 

Another precedent was set as well. While Ramos was cooling his heels outside of the press conference, a Trump supporter, complete with a red "Make America Great Again" hat, told Ramos: "Get out of my country!" Ramos informed him that he was an American citizen, only to be told: "Whatever!" For the first time in years, Ramos felt like he truly was a stranger in his adopted country, thus the title of the book.

Ramos builds on this last incident for a while, discussing how the President's behavior and commentary has emboldened many to act out, sensing a change in the political climate. He also discusses Civil Rights inequities for Hispanics, his own mostly positive experiences and how the current political climate is disorienting for a man that has lived more than half of his life in America and thought that he knew it well. Personally, I think he was living in a Blue State bubble, working out of Miami and New York City and California, but I live in a Red State that was one of the very first to be called for Mr. Trump on election night.

Ramos also talks about how he lives in two worlds - holding dual American and Mexican citizenship. He frequently covers Mexico for his network and spends entire days speaking only Spanish or only English. Most of his family is in Mexico, but his children were born and raised in the United States. Ramos also includes several essays that he has written for other publications on this theme. For those that think Ramos is only critical of President Trump and nothing else, he is just as critical of the (now) outgoing President of Mexico.

Ramos includes an extensive set of endnotes.

The edition I read was in Spanish. It's been a while since I read a book in Spanish, but Ramos writes in a clear style that I had no problem reading. There is an English translation of this book available as well.

I rate this book 4 stars out of 5 and it can be found on Amazon.com here: STRANGER: EL DESAFÍO de un INMIGRANTE LATINO en la ERA de TRUMP (en español) by Jorge Ramos.

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