Category Archives: latino/a

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, Regarding Hate Crimes Against Latinos: “Oops. My Bad.”

by Guest Contributor Alex Alvarez, originally published at Guanabee

You might recall our recent look at the murder of Long Island resident Marcelo Lucero and his community’s reaction to Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and legislation. Levy said the murder of Lucero was a “one-day story” that was receiving “undue” media coverage. Well, Levy has since apologized for those remarks:

“It was absolutely the wrong time for me to suggest that coverage of events in Suffolk is treated differently by the media,” Levy said in a letter to Newsday. “The horrible incident is indeed more than a one-day story. It was a reminder of how far we as a society still have to go.”

We understand that murderers commit murder, and that the seven teen boys charged with carrying out the actual beating and slaying of Lucero are the ones who most need to pay for their crime. But, while they are the ones who need to carry the bulk of the burden of culpability in this case, their guilt is shared by people like Steve Levy. Some people commit murder with bullets and blades, some do it with their words and examples. Steve Levy is not a murderer, but he worked to perpetuate a culture of murder, an allegation echoed by activist Tony Asion and Dean Kevin Johnson in their recent interview with NPR concerning hate crimes against Latinos.

The “one-day story” made its way into the New York Times. The NYT article quoted Levy as calling the seven murders “white supremacists.” Which, we think, is a step back. Continue reading

The Reggaetón Factor in the U.S. Elections

by Guest Contributor Marisol LeBron, originally published at NACLA (North American Congress on Latin America)

Who would have thought when Daddy Yankee released “Gasolina” in 2004 that four short years later the song would become the butt of jokes about John McCain and offshore drilling? If there were still sectors of U.S. society that didn’t know about reggaetón, this year’s presidential race certainly changed that.

Daddy Yankee caused a stir in August when he publicly endorsed Republican presidential candidate John McCain. The reggaetonero recently made headlines again when he agreed to help moderate a debate on October 9 among candidates for governor of Puerto Rico as part of the “Vota o Quédate Callao” (Vote or Shut Up) initiative to get young voters to the polls in November.

Not to be outdone, Barack Obama has also had a number of reggaetón artists come out in support of his campaign, most notably Julio Voltio and Don Omar who appeared in the video “Podemos con Obama,” directed by Yerba Buena’s Andres Levin. Calle 13 is even rocking the vote over at MTV. The duo can be seen in ads on MTV and MTV Tr3s urging young people to listen to their new album on the way to the polls.

Does this signal the emergence of a “reggaetón vote”? Pundits have wondered about the weight of the “hip-hop vote” in this year’s election, particularly regarding Barack Obama’s potential appeal to young African American and Latino/a voters. But in 2012 will political pundits be asking candidates what they’re doing to win the “reggaetón vote”? Continue reading

Poncea, Pokemones, Poncea!

by Guest Contributor Marisol LeBron, originally published at Post Pomo Nuyorican Homo

Last week The New York Times reported on the Chilean youth parties known as Poncea Parties (a.k.a. lets make out and dry hump on the dance floor parties). The New York Times is surprisingly late uncovering the Poncea Parties. Even the less cool Newsweek covered the Poncea phenomenon in March! Come on NY Times, step up your journalistic game!

There has been a lot of recent American media coverage about the about this Chilean youth subculture and their (often public) sexual exploration (despite the NY Times’ late discovery). Drawing inspiration from anime, the young Chileans refer to themselves as “Pokemones” and don piercings and flat ironed asymmetrical haircuts. Mostly the American coverage is scandalized to the point of careless reporting.

While the sexual repression of the Pinnochet dictatorship is mentioned in passing as a cause for this sexual awakening and experimentation, the focus seems to be on the perceived sexual deviance of the youth. They are not monogamous, same-sex hook-ups are commonplace, and they are actively breaking down the boundaries between public and private that dictate sexual normativity. I think the American media coverage through coded language is pointing the finger at stereotypical beliefs about Latin American licentiousness and queerness (and please believe they threw in the fact that the kids were grinding to reggaeton) as reasons for the youth’s “bad behavior.” Cast into a national phenomenon, the media has ignored important issues of race and class in participation in the poncea parties. For instance, who has the ability, economically and otherwise, to actually partake in these activities? Whose bodies aren’t policed and survailed? Even if its deemed naughty by the mainstream, it is still dictated by issues of access so not acknowledging that is careless journalism.

Also, by isolating this particular issue of “deviant” youth sex to a Chilean context the American media doesn’t have to face the fact that similar sexual activity happens regularly in schools and suburbs across the U.S. (remember the whole oral sex bracelets a few years ago?). By focusing on youth sexuality and the need for effective sexual education “over there,” we excuse ourselves from doing the work around youth sexuality and education that needs to happen here.

I’m not condoning 14 year-olds giving each other blowjobs on bus benches in Santiago (because that just seems unsanitary), but I am advocating for a more complex analysis of the issues behind these parties. I’m looking for more than “Chile’s disaffected ‘Pokemones’ don’t care much about politics. They’re too busy having sex.”

It’s just not that simple – so stop the simplistic journalism.

*tip of the fitted cap to Guanabee

Quedate Callao!

by Guest Contributor Marisol LeBron, originally published at Post Pomo Nuyorican Homo

Reggaetonero SieteNueve has released a tiraera pa Daddy Yankee due to his endorsement of John McCain. The song called “Quedate Callao” asks how much money Daddy Yankee got to sell his people out and lead them into war over “gasolina.” The chorus says “Mejor quedate callao si vas a hablar por los otros” (roughly:”it’s better that you stay quiet if you’re going to speak for us“).

The hook uses a line from a voting campaign that Daddy Yankee was part of in January 2008 called “Voto o Quedate Callao” which translates to vote or shut up, or vote or be quiet.

Raquel Rivera, has written about the campaign and what it says to try and get the youth vote, so I urge people to look at her take over at Reggaetonica.

I think that SieteNueve’s track is great and points to alot of the political reasons why people are bugging out over Daddy Yankee’s endorsement of McCain. What I think is interesting is the use of the slogan “Voto o Quedate Callao” that Daddy helped popularize now being used to silence his (non) vote. The whole voto or quedate callao campaign basically said if you’re not going to vote, or in this case you can’t vote because of neocolonial law, then you have no right to voice your opinion. I think it is interesting and telling that SieteNueve’s video ends with him saying “I endorse Don Pedro Albizu Campos,” alluding to the fact the Daddy Yankee has no business voting for Obama or McCain, because the issue is still Puerto Rican independence and neither candidate is going to provide that.


*tip of the fitted cap to Angry Brown Butch and Vivir Latino

Korean Mexicans And Korean Cubans Explore Their Roots

by Guest Contributor Alex Alvarez, originally published at Guanabee

One of the things we love the most about being Latina is being able to claim ties with a vast and varied group of people. Of course, that’s only cool once we kind of gloss over some of the historical aspects of how it that some of these people came to Latino in the first place. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a segment of Latinos often forgotten – Korean Mexicans:

They were the descendants of Koreans lured in 1905 by ship to plantations on the Yucatan Peninsula in southern Mexico. Instead of finding a better life, they were sold to plantation owners and forced to cultivate henequen, a plant whose tough fiber was used to make things like rope.

The Koreans and their descendants would come to be known as the Henequen, in part because they were so hardy and hard-working [Ed. note: Every last one? Really? That name wasn’t given to them because, like. They were forced to cultivate this stuff? No? Ok.]. They had fled a Korea that was under Japanese rule, and despite their struggle, they sent money back home, hoping to help their countrymen gain independence. But few ever saw their homeland again.

History is a funny, funny thing. The LA Times followed one group of Korean Mexicans as they explored their roots during a visit to Lynwood’s “Plaza Mexico:”

Plaza Mexico, which opened in 2002, was the vision of Donald Chae, a Korean American who grew up among Latinos and who has traveled throughout Mexico. Chae tells people that, “I don’t speak Spanish. I speak Mexican.”

“I am a Korean American Mexican,” he quips. “I’m still waiting for my pasaporte.” Continue reading

Who is Afraid of Sanctuary Cities?

by Latoya Peterson

Reader Kheng sent in this video, currently being aired in California. Kheng writes:

I am watching TV and I come across this commercial. It made me sick to my stomach. I don’t know if you want to feature it on the blog, but I found it quite offensive and I am surprised it even aired.

After checking out the video, I can see what she means:

Text:


Californians are a compassionate people.

Our sanctuary cities defy state laws, so we can protect illegal aliens – even though they are named in 95% of outstanding homicide warrants in L.A.

Even though they are wanted in up to two-thirds of fugitive felony arrest warrants. Illegal alien gang members get back on the street because our cops can’t ask immigration status.

Have sanctuary cities taken our compassion too far?

Share your opinion at Capsweb.org.

Paid for by Californians for Population Stabilization.

I know y’all loved the standard issue Latino gang member (complete with red bandanna and mustache) and promises of property crime. They even made sure to show they were not being racist – they used a picture of a black cop! (But, on second glance, that cop looks kind of blatino…maybe the LAPD is on the side of the illegals!)

Okay, all joking aside, I’ve been seeing this “illegals are murders” meme popping up a few different places now. So let’s focus on the statistics that are cited in the video. Are the numbers cited true? Continue reading

Los Republicanos: Daddy Yankee and John McCain

by Guest Contributor Marisol LeBron, originally published in two parts at Post Pomo Nuyorican Homo

In what I’m guessing is a attempt to look young and hip John McCain, 71, continued his efforts to reach out to the Latina/o community by inviting reggaetonero Daddy Yankee to his campaign headquarters on Saturday afternoon.

Considering El Cangri’s sometimes raunchy lyrics and hustlin’ past it seems like a weird political coupling. “I don’t know anything about Daddy Yankee,” said McCain spokeswoman Nicolle Wallace. Great.

Supposedly McCain and Daddy Yankee first met when they were both named two of the 100 most influential people of 2006 by Time magazine.

According to Yankee “He invited me to have a brief conversation on how we can improve the living conditions in Hispanic communities.” The two were said to have discussed issues such as im/migration, education, and Latino/a youth. Yankee says he is not ready to endorse McCain yet hopefully because he will meet with Obama to hear him out on Latino/a issues. Continue reading