Hips Don’t Qualify

October 7th, 2011 at 12:00 am | 30 Comments |

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Things are sure to get spicier at the White House as pop-starlet Shakira is set to join the ranks of thePresident’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

Jokes aside, how dismal does the state of the U.S government and its department of Education have to be, in order for it to nominate a hip-shaking pop-star to advice the president in a field so fundamentally important as Latino education?

The most recent census of 2010 highlights that 308.7 million people resided in the United States on April 1, 2010, of which 50.5 million (16%) were of Hispanic or Latino origin. At large the “Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000
 and 2010, accounting for over
half of the 27.3 million increase in the total population of the United States.”

Hence one would figure that a President’s Advisory Commission, seeking sound solutions for such a huge demographic group would fill its ranks with the finest and thorough individuals.

The administration rather has opted for Shakira and her philanthropical record, (Shakira founded the Barefoot Foundation in 1995, which helps fund schools in her native Colombia, as well as in South Africa and Haiti).

It seems as if the White House has decided to emulate the cosmopolitan United Nations by opting for celebrities as their poster boy, or in this case, their poster girl. This becomes evident when one considers the fact that Shakira is currently also the “Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund”.

However the fine difference in this case is that whilst Shakira gets to reel in good publicity for the U.N, she will actually be able to actively participate in the policy making this time.

Also, with her prime residence being located in the Bahamas, one is set to be skeptic as to how knowledgeable a world-touring pop artist is to the everyday hurdles, troubles and cultural barriers many Latino’s continue to experience in the U.S.

In the meanwhile Shakira, who is happy as a clam, has issued a statement, in which she said that the appointment is a “tremendous honor” for her and that she hopes that her “philanthropic experience could be helpful” for the administration.

It is rumored that several female state employees are already eagerly awaiting their new Zumba partner.

Recent Posts by Robin Tim Weis

30 Comments so far ↓

  • Carney

    Jokes aside, how dismal does the state of the U.S government and its department of Education have to be, in order for it to nominate a hip-shaking pop-star to advice the president in a field so fundamentally important as Latino education?

    You want “advise”, the verb, not “advice”, the noun.

    And education just does not seem to be a priority for Hispanics. Spare me the counter-trend inspirational anecdotes, or the usual excuses (poverty, bigotry) that did not hold back Jews and East Asians. The overall picture is damning.



    Hispanics drop out of high school at three times the white rate and twice the black rate.

    Even third-generation Hispanics drop out of school at a higher rate than blacks and are less likely to be college graduates.

    From 1992 to 2003, Hispanic illiteracy in English rose from 35 percent to 44 percent.

    The average Hispanic 12th-grader reads and does math at the level of the average white 8th-grader.

  • Graychin

    What a grouch.

    Don’t sweat the small stuff, Mr. Weis. You’ll turn into your kvetching grandfather before your time. But you’ll be a Republican kvetcher, which is the most annoying kind.

  • Polifan

    She is a 34 year old multi-millionaire who started her music career at age 13 and was writing poetry by the age of 4!

    Qualified in comparison to whom?

    Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll

    “Shakira’s “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”, was chosen as the official song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[14] The song has received generally positive critical reception, and has become a worldwide smash hit and the biggest selling World Cup song of all time.[15] On YouTube, the English version of the music video is the 3rd most watched video of all time with over 370 million views.[16]”


    • Banty

      Well, yeah, I happen to be a fan of hers too as to her performance and her other pursuits, but – she’s from a different country; her expertise is really not in this area, and people get tired of this sort of thing. I agree with the below:

      “Also, with her prime residence being located in the Bahamas, one is set to be skeptic as to how knowledgeable a world-touring pop artist is to the everyday hurdles, troubles and cultural barriers many Latino’s continue to experience in the U.S.”

  • Bobby McGee

    I’m trying to figure out if this is more “well, I need something to rile up the partisans, let’s make this non-issue an issue” or more “oh crap, my column is due in 15 minutes, what can I slap together real fast?”

    Given the poor grammar, I’m leaning towards the latter.

    Seriously, even if it was a slow news cycle (and given the events both domestic and foreign, in military and economics it sure isn’t) how is this worth writing about? Particularly when there is stuff like India’s new treaty with Pakistan to cover.

    • LauraNo

      Wingers can’t stand popular culture. They especially can’t stand it in the White House. Well, unless it’s someone like Hank Williams, Jr. or some other plain vanilla country-western star.

      • dugfromthearth

        Ronald Reagan, Arnold, Sonny Bono, Jack Kemp, Steve Largent, Fred Thompson
        as far as I know, only Republicans elect actors and football players

  • armstp

    It is obviously a symbolic position. The role is obviously to help get the attention of hispanic youth. Someone to be an ambassador to draw attention to the issue.

    This post is such a cheap shot. Can’t the author use his brain power to think of something more constructive to write about?

    • sinz54

      So they couldn’t have gotten the attention of young Hispanics with Ellen Ochoa, who was an American Hispanic astronaut?


      We also have thousands of young Hispanics attending our best universities, majoring in careers in science and engineering. They couldn’t have gotten the attention of Hispanic youth either?

      This is what’s wrong with American culture. We glorify rock stars, Hollywood starlets, and sports figures. They become the role models for our youth. Not astronauts and engineers like Ms. Ochoa.

      • Banty

        Or, how about an American pop Latino pop star?

      • ottovbvs

        This is rich given the adulation of Palin by Republicans and their rejection of science based policies.

      • armstp


        I am sure they can use the Astronaut as well, but you do not live in reality. An astronaut is not going to grab the kinds of hispanic kids that need grabbings attention. A pop star will. How old are you?

        By the way what is wrong with Shakira as a role model? She has accomplished a great deal in life. Not a bad person to look up to.

        As the post above says, she has been very successful in writing and selling music. This is a woman how speaks five languages and is a singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, dancer, and philanthropist.

  • Oldskool

    Good for her. Sanjay Gupta of CNN was asked to be Surgeon General and he turned it down partly because it would mean a cut in pay.

  • PingGuy


    Read up, educate yourselves. Somebody who cares deeply about educating children is probably a good person to have involved in furthering the education of children.

    -1 for Robin Tim Weis, I’ll think twice before clicking on another of your articles. Note to Frum: The more authors I have to say this about the less likely I’ll be to visit this site.

  • dugfromthearth

    I think the title of the article which objectifies a highly successful woman by declaring her only ability is one part of her body pretty much sums up the arrogance and misogyny of the whole thing.

  • Southern Populist

    It is an interesting appointment on a number of levels in terms of what it says about the culture.

    Shakira is clearly a woman of great talent and extraordinary beauty. In terms of genetic ancestry, however, this fair-skinned beauty has little in common with most of the people who live south of the Rio Grande, and this fact is evident from her picture.

    Of course, it is her right to speak out for the Hispanic/Latino majorities that are descended from the Americas’ indigenous peoples if she cares to, but she is clearly not of that majority herself in terms of genetics.

    Just as Marco Rubio is a Caucasian man of Cuban descent who traces his ancestry to the Iberian peninsula, Shakira is of European descent as well (Iberian Spanish, Italian and Greek), and I believe some Arab or Lebanese also. Lebanon is even further removed from the Americas than Southern Europe.

    So here we have a woman of mostly European descent appointed to an org that is intended to help mostly people not of European descent.

    From a cultural standpoint, it’s fascinating how some people seem not to care at all about their European ancestry and heritage. Barack Obama is a great example of this attitude; he goes out of his way to identify as Black even though his mother was White. He has a 50% Northern European genetic heritage yet calls himself Black.

    It’s also interesting from a cultural perspective that they selected a pop culture icon instead of someone such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Sinz’s astronaut.

    It’s pretty telling, really, when the only way to reach the youth demographic is through pop culture rather than through serious literature or science.

    The fact that they pay too much attention to pop culture and not enough to science, literature and other topics that require difficult study is the problem in the first place.

    A pop culture appeal reinforces the counter-productive idea that pop culture entertainment is more important than those other things.

    On a different note, it’s a tragedy that there is no Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for White Americans.

    There are plenty of impoverished and struggling White Americans out there who could use some inspiration and help narrowly focused on their specific challenges and obstacles as disadvantaged White Americans.

    An even greater tragedy is that even if someone did form an Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for White Americans, it’s unlikely that Taylor Swift, Hank Williams, Jr. or any other music celebrity that pulls a mostly White audience would care to participate.

    The influential in this society have a truly deranged hostility to specifically assisting poor White people. They never form organizations to offer poor White people the same targeted help qua White people they provide for other groups qua their group.

    - DSP

    • ottovbvs

      Another of DSP’s race obsessed little homilies in which poor little whitey is once again done down by the forces of ethnic diversity. Sad isn’t it.

      • Southern Populist

        Otto checks in with no substance to add and a sneer that proves my point about unnecessary hostility.

        - DSP

        • armstp


          “Hank Williams, Jr.”

          That is a good one. The man who just called our President, Obama, Hitler.

          By the way here is a program that primarily targets white kids:

          “Rural Education Achievement Program”


        • Southern Populist

          That program is not explicitly geared to White kids the way these other programs are explicitly geared toward other groups. That program is for rural residents White or not, and it ignores the needs of White kids who lives in urban areas or suburbs.

          I don’t have a problem with programs that are open to everyone, but it’s unfair these kids don’t get their own narrowly focused programs and other groups do.

          Williams apologized, so that is the end of it for me.

        • ottovbvs

          I sneer at you because you’re entirely worthy of being sneered at. Exhibit 1 your little racist homily at 1.56 pm.

          “Williams apologized, so that is the end of it for me.”

          Naturally, it would be for a person of your heightened sensibilities.

        • Southern Populist

          Otto checks in again with no substance. He labels my comment racist. Ok; what, where, how?