This week, The Minor will profile the candidates running for student body president. We begin with Emilio Vicente.
By Eva Longoria | The Minor
We all know Emilio is gay, hispanic and an undocumented immigrant. But that’s not why students should support him.
Wait, I mean. What I mean to say is that those aren’t the only factors. Like, I don’t want this to be confused as me saying, ‘Don’t vote for Emilio just because he is gay, hispanic and an undocumented immigrant.’ I’m saying that he is so much more than that. He’s shown leadership through his work with the Campus Y, and his platform does a lot to reimagine the role of student body president as a mouthpiece for change.
Hold on, I need to go back and address something. Did me saying, “I’m saying that he is so much more than that,” come off the wrong way? It’s not that being those things isn’t good enough. To get where Emilio has in life considering his background is incredible. I’m just saying that Emilio’s minority statuses don’t define him. Well, they do, as pieces of his personal identity, but they don’t define him as a candidate, except for insofar as his personal identity is a part of his candidacy, which it definitely should be, but there are other things too. Does that make sense?
I’m also not saying that, if Emilio were to win, his minority qualities wouldn’t be important. It would be completely humbling and amazing to have a person who has overcome so much rise to the position of student body president.
And just so we’re super clear, when I allude to what Emilio has overcome, I’m talking about the discrimination that he’s faced. By no means do I intend to suggest that sexual orientation or ethnicity have any inherent bearing on what one is disposed to accomplish. That probably goes without saying, but it’s an important distinction. I don’t presume to know exactly what it would be like to live the existence of someone who’s different from me, but I think we can all agree that, at least in our society today, extrinsic factors matter a lot more than intrinsic factors in determining how a person’s minority status influences his or her success. But everybody defines success differently, which is fine. God, that sounds patronizing. Okay, I think we’re all on the same page here, which is that its impressive and inspiring that someone who is all of the things that Emilio is has a chance to be student body president.
I don’t like that I keep saying “things.” Emilio is a man who is gay, Hispanic, and an undocumented immigrant, and those aspects of his identity are what I’m referring to, purely for syntactical convenience, as ‘things.’ I don’t mean to objectify facets of who Emilio is, because I think that’s the first step to objectifying Emilio, which is what I worry that a lot of his well-intentioned supporters are doing. But that’s not to say that they shouldn’t still support him. That’s my point.
Look, in an ideal society, it wouldn’t mean anything to have a student body president with Emilio’s qualities. But in the current climate, ya know? With all the systematic discrimination that still exists, I’m just saying that it would be historic. But also, Emilio is qualified beyond those things. I don’t think that his minority status cheapens his qualifications, or that his qualifications aren’t enough, but I do think that we have to consider what Emilio’s victory would symbolize and give him significant credit for overcoming discrimination. That’s not to say we should compare overcoming discrimination with accomplishing other things, even though elections are all about comparing candidates’ accomplishments, which is completely fucked up if you think about it, which usually you don’t have to because most of the candidates are white males, which is even more fucked up, but that’s a different story. Actually, it’s the same story.
I mean man/woman/other.
What really matters is Emilio’s platform. And everything else.