NHI’s Julio Cotto featured in story on LBJ Library’s Summit on Race in America
Julio Cotto, the National Hispanic Institute’s Senior Vice President for Enrollment and Programs, appeared in today’s Austin American-Statesman. He was included in a thoughtful article — actually more of a curated conversation — written by the paper’s longtime Austin historian and cultural critic Michael Barnes.
The article was inspired by the Summit on Race in America, to be hosted next week by the LBJ Presidential Library. The article, titled “What does Austin want from the LBJ Library’s Summit on Race in America?” looks at the challenges inherent in gathering a group of people to talk about race — especially if they’re looking for solutions to whatever issues or even problems they might perceive.
As Barnes wrote, “While they say they welcome a knotty discussion at the summit that does not look away from the harder questions, local community leaders and advocates also say the risk is that the summit conflates the topic of race, with its myriad definitions, with that of racism. Or that speakers will return to the same emotionally fraught themes without offering realistic solutions.”
Cotto weighed in with a Third Reality perspective; Barnes noted that he:
would like to hear an honest conversation about the complexities of race, or at least about prejudice and discrimination when it comes to nationality, as well as culture.
“Racism is felt not just from the context of color but also culture,” Cotto said. “It can also exist among a culture. I recently saw a term being used, ‘ADOS,’” short for American Descendant of Slavery, and used to specifically distinguish African Americans of slave descent.
“To me, that points to people drawing lines among races and cultures in an attempt to isolate a challenge or opportunity,” Cotto said. “In Austin, Latinos can be referred to in a lump sum group, or it can tend to be viewed as solely or mostly Mexican American. Although more and more, the city is diversified by many types of Latinos.”
Cotto was one of a number of select voices invited to weigh in; the article’s worth your attention, especially if you live or work in Austin.