Hector Tobar is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. I find his writing–his choice in topics and well as his style–engaging and quietly passionate, making him one of my favorites at the paper. His latest two peices powerfully display his strengths as they dynamically model the humanistic concerns only great journalism can.
The first reflection piece–“Readers share thoughts on immigration“–recalls his days growing up a Guatemalan in Mexican Los Angeles along side his present-day life a a Latino journalist. in “Tijuana’s troubled crossroads,” Tobar visits the border town and helps illuminate it not as a place crippled by violence and global capitalism, but as a reflective point in the lives of real people.
I read and re-read both, struck by Tobar’s ability to walk the edge of dense, messy, and complex issues with ease and clarity and fervent humanity. I know some academics who read these kinds of pieces and find them dissatisfying for their lack of complex analysis. But I find them exceedingly complex. The first step, after all, is finding an authentic and meaningful way for us each to reshape our field of view. Tobar’s mastery at that is his genius.