I consider myself Latina, close to my family’s Mexican culture; I’m bilingual and I’m happy with that identity. But, more often than not, it seems like everyone else is trying to corral me into some other identity, telling me that mine is not sufficient.
The neighborhood where I live (photos, above) is a perfect example.
It’s split in two: one part of it is gentrifying rapidly, and the other is filled with Mexican and many immigrant families. I where it’s more Mexican, which makes me — in all my professional hipster-ness — stand out sometimes, but people still speak to me in Spanish and often I just become part of the scenery. But then there are other times. [Mas…]
“Not every white person is a racist, but the genius of racism is that you don’t have to participate to enjoy the spoils. If you’re white, you can be completely oblivious, passively accepting the status quo, and reap the rewards.” – Mychal Denzel Smith. [Video by Gene Geter.] (NSFW language.)
(PNS reporting from EAST LOS ANGELES) María de Luz Guzmán Villa had a disturbing realization this week: being a lesbian in grad school does not make her more like the Mexican icon Frida Kahlo.
Like many others, Guzmán Villa first experimented with trying to be like Frida, especially her lesbian tendencies, after her first Intro to Chicano Studies course at Cal State L.A.
But instead of giving up her fascination upon graduation, she gave up her boyfriend César and applied to grad school. [Mas…]
Ramón “Chunky” Sanchez narrates: My name was Ramón, but the teachers called me Raymond; Maria was Mary and Juanita was Jane. But everything changed at school when the new kid came — Facundo.
(PNS reporting from SAN JOSE) Johnny Ramírez had a huge confession to make to his Pre-Columbian Latin American history class last week. The summer he spent in Barcelona really changed him, the San Jose State junior told his fellow students during section.
“I always felt this pressure to be true to my indígena Aztec roots, you know? Even though me — and well my parents and grandparents, too — were all born right here in California, I always wanted to honor my family’s real roots,” the well-known Latino campus activist said. (Ramirez, right, was photographed at an immigrants’ rights march last May Day.)
When he was in Barcelona, he said, he realized that he had Spanish blood, too, and it wasn’t something to be ashamed of — but proud. He has a cousin, Juanita, who has hazel eyes, so obviously his family has Spanish blood, too. [Mas…]
In The Beginning: For 37 years I lived my life without realizing I was Hispanic.
A few days ago, while waiting for the bus, I overheard a conversation that changed my life. A gentleman was speaking Japanese with several ladies, and when they reverted to English, the ladies asked him, “Well if you’re not from Japan, what nationality are you?” He replied that he was from Brazil. This did not surprise me, as there are over 1.5 million Brazilians of Japanese descent.
His response did make me wonder, however, about how Americans define “Hispanic,” whether this gentleman would consider himself Hispanic, and whether he met the U.S. government’s definition(s) of Hispanic. [Mas…]