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cesarPeople have been speaking for a while now about the lack of Latino leaders. I’m talking about true leaders; not those who have pledged allegiance to a brand or a political party. Leaders who are not afraid to point out when something is wrong regardless if the majority of people agree or disagree with him/her.

Seriously, if you’re afraid to speak up for people because a brand might put you on a black list, you are NOT a leader and don’t deserve to get any plaques from the self-serving sycophants. Then again, maybe being crowned king smoke-and-mirrors machinist in the circle-jerk of sociopaths is appropriate. Please disappear.

On the other hand, there are a lot of reactionary blowhards who minify a many progressive efforts. If you’re a conspiracy theorist, go away. If you see schizophrenic patterns where there are none, go away. Yes, there are messages in everything we see (film, tv, and media), but if you blow a fuse over a joke, a suppose slight, it’s Ok to point it out, but demanding of others to join you in your paranoia and delusions of grandeur is not only immature, it’s also irresponsible. Go away, child.


I’m just wondering out loud about our lack of a Cornell West, Tim Wise, and at the risk of romanticizing the past, a Martin Luther King Jr., a Cesar Chavez, or a Kennedy. Hell, even a polarizing religious pastor or reverend is welcome at this point. Or a Jon Stewart to deliver truths with humor because as Oscar Wilde puts it, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” True that.

Celebrities might not be the best qualified people for this. Default leadership through fame doesn’t have to automatically disqualify them for trying to be moralists, but that might be a slippery slope into a scumbag bastion of an ideologue. However silly or malignant it may be. They will spew so many false narratives- if they don’t respect scholars and experts that is- that they will indubitably hurt the people a lot more than help them with their moral panics. Unfortunately for them, it’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t. For shame.

Philanthropist Luis C. Arellano questions our need to search for them in the first place:

“We also need to ask ourselves why we are in a desperate search to fill this position. Leaders just happen. They step up and selflessly assume the duties and responsibilities without buying their own spotlight or renting a louder voice in order to validate their deeds,” he states.

Valid points. Our search can lead to something far worse: there have been and will be numerous charlatans willing to take the title. How can you tell if they’re a true leader or a charlatan? Scholar Nick Baez warns us in Beware of shiny objects: How not to fill the Latino leadership void:

“In the absence of knowledgeable national leaders, those ideas that emerge from these ‘bright, shiny objects’ are merely reduced to fads after failed attempts at effectively addressing social issues. We, as a community, need leaders who are committed to proposing realistic, grounded, long-term solutions—not charlatans who speak without substance,” Nick says.

Call them out on their bullshit.

These are the three types of dangerous mindsets that we have to watch out for. Otherwise we will be left in a perpetual state of servitude, “glorification of chains,” and “a retreat into isolationism,” according to Nick.

There you go. To those who aspire to be leaders, remember, if you espouse these principles, if you’re a brand “ambassador,” if you’re a spineless politician, if you’re a fame whore, if you’re facilitating the misguidance, exploitation, and destruction of your own, you’re no leader. You’re a fraud.

Cesar Vargas is President and Founder of www.UPLIFTT.com a communication platform designed to encourage public support for more diversity in film, television, and theater. Their Goal is to change the way the general population perceives us and how we see ourselves: as three-dimensional human beings; not stereotypes. www.upliftt.com