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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Being Latino
Here is a good essay on the experience of being Latino in America:

Maria Elena Salinas | Reflections on Being Latino in America
Maria Elena Salinas, Univision.com (Spanish Translation: Ryan Croken): "I finally saw myself on television. And no, I wasn't delivering the news in Spanish. I saw myself represented on CNN's documentary, 'Latino in America,' along with dozens of other Latinos who, like myself, make up the largest minority in this country, 50 million and growing. Soledad O'Brien's documentary, which was broadcast on October 21 and 22, has generated a lot of mixed reviews. I happen to be on the side of those who believe that she and her producers did a magnificent job ... But here's the question: are four hours of favorable programming enough to change the negative perception that some Americans have about Hispanics?"


Of course a single program isn't going to solve America's race problems. However, it's a good step in the right direction. It can make people think. It can invite conversations.

There is much of value in Latino culture. Just to pick one blazing example, on average they are a lot more family-oriented than most Americans these days. And ah, Latino poetry is beautiful. Emplumada is a favorite collection.

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green_knight From: green_knight Date: November 6th, 2009 07:57 am (UTC) (Link)
on average they are a lot more family-oriented than most Americans these days

I know you mean well with this post, but what you're actually doing is othering them - you talk about 'Latinos' and 'Americans' as if it weren't possible for someone who is Latino to _be_ American, and as if it were't up to each individidual to decide - sometimes depending on the situation - which of their identities was the one they want to put forward publicly.

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 6th, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

No...

Please take a closer look at that sentence.

1) It says "than most Americans," not "than Americans," which places the Latino subcategory of Americans within the larger category of Americans.

2) It says "on average they are," which means the Latino culture on a broad scale tends to measure high in this area, not that any individual Latino person does or is compelled to do so. It's something that pops up in surveys and studies periodically when someone is comparing how different cultures do things.

I believe that all people and cultures have something to offer, different gifts and perspectives. They're not all the same. And while there is plenty of room for individual variation, cultures as a whole tend to teach things they consider good and important, so that most members of a culture will be fluent in those things. It is further possible for people to connect with more than one culture, if their background or interests align in such a way; they may then pick up (accidentally or on purpose) aspects of any or all of those cultures.

I've been hearing for years that Latinos tend to get ignored within the context of American culture, and that more active discrimination is also a problem. When something or someone is being ignored or put down, one of my preferred ways of dealing with that is to call attention to some positive aspect.

People may still gripe about that, but I still think it's worth doing.
lemmozine From: lemmozine Date: November 6th, 2009 09:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Hispanic is not a race. How can they present a "race problem" if they are not a race. Check an anthropology textbook. Classically, there are only three races. It may be an ethnicity, but there's a lot of variation from one area to another, and there are Hispanic people in some areas who appear to have primarily African origins. Personally, I consider Hispanic to be a cultural (and to some degree a national) affiliation rather than a race or even an ethinicity.

As far as minorities, I consider each human being to be an absolute minority of one. Thus, to me, all minorities are exactly equal.

In my own opinion, there is but one race: human. Outside of that, I prefer to divide people into tribes. What's your tribal affiliation?

I think mine is technically Ashkenazi, but I'm very much out of contact with those folks, and have more in common wth the general tribe of - um, shall we say singer-songwriters and itinerant musicians.

Unfortunately, that is not how I'm counted by statisticians, who have not consulted me with regard to this matter.
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