Tag Archives: hispanic

Moving Beyond Mixers And Happy Hours: Celebrating Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month

AHORA logo recovered in 1997, Brandeis University.

By Guest Contributor Blanca E. Vega

The days between September 15 and October 15 have been federally recognized as Hispanic Heritage Month. This is the time in which many Latin American countries (e.g. Mexico, Chile, Guatemala) have struggled and won independence from Spain. The struggle for freedom has been memorialized into a cultural celebration in the US since 1968, celebrated as Hispanic Heritage Week, and then extended into a month in 1988. It is popular to coordinate mixers and happy hours to honor this month. During this time, we may also want to think of finding ways to fight against the poverty affecting 25 percent of Latino/a populations, struggle against policies like Secure Communities that aid in incarcerating Latinos/as who now comprise of over 50 percent of federal felony offenders, and work against the fact that Latinos still lag behind many racial/ethnic groups in (K-16) educational attainment.

Brandeis University was the place where I began to understand the importance of these celebratory months. For young people, college is often the place where they experience the most diversity in their lives. Thus, the absence of a group that has significantly shaped this country’s historical and political landscape, such as Latinos, can be of great detriment to the learning and social enhancement of a college community.

As a college student, I could never have articulated what I just stated. At the time, I felt the impact that a lack of Latina/o populations in higher education had on me academically (e.g. lack of mentors who shared my background), emotionally, and socially. Personal reflection and my degree in higher education helped me articulate that impact later. During that time, I witnessed my peers who were black, South Asian, or women have their particular groups recognized in meaningful ways that were encouraging to me. In fact, many of my peers who were involved in promoting group recognition, encouraged me to coordinate the first Hispanic Heritage Month at Brandeis University in the fall of 1997.

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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

Bitch Slapped by Satire

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

A friend of mine from college recently sent me a link to an AfterEllen.com article about the movie Bitch Slap coming out in December 2008. She asked me for my thoughts and here they are…

I think I might be the wrong person to ask.

Reason being I love gratuitous sex and violence in movies, within reason of course. I loved Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse movies. A woman with a gun for a leg killing military created zombies – count me in! Sexy ladies exacting revenge on a psychopathic-misogynistic-vehicular-homicide-loving Kurt Russell – more please! I loved these films so much that after returning them to Netflix I promptly ran out and purchased them, and then made all my friends watch the films with me repeatedly.

I know what you’re thinking that I’m a horrible queer feminist of color, right? Well, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. And here’s why…

While I hate the way that closet racist and annoying hipster elitist try to use satire to reinforce their supposed superiority and avoid being called bigoted while doing it, I think satire when it’s done right, or at least when it’s read in a critical way, can be extremely subversive. Smart satire can often effectively challenge concepts of power, race, sex, and gender among other things. Continue reading

You Got Some ‘Splaining To Do: Interracial And Interethnic Relationships, As Seen On TV. And Heard On The Radio. And Read On Cereal Boxes.

by Guest Contributor Alex Alvarez

Interracial and interethnic dating has as much, if not more, to do with “Family Matters” as my own family. So, in order to try to describe the experience of being in an interethnic relationship, I have to first evaluate the culture popping up all around me. Grab some Cheez Puffs or chicharrones, put aside your distaste for cheesy, alliterative snack food references, and let’s get to this.

Should you ever feel inclined to Google “Interracial Dating,” as I do not do often on a Tuesday night, you’ll find a lot of dating sites aimed at hooking you up with someone of another race. Not information about interracial dating, not tirades against it, not advice, not thoughtful writing on the subject, but, rather, dating sites with names like “Salt and Pepper.” Discovering this made a little light blink on and off in my mind’s eye reading “Fetish! Fetish! Fetish!” I’ll admit to feeling conflicted about interracial dating as it relates to the fetishization of a group. Who am I to make the distinction between preference and prejudice? That concern always takes the form of a certain cringe I’m never without when thinking about the subject, but when I see evidence of people actively going out and searching for someone of another, specific race or ethnicity, well. That action toes the very fine line between personal preference and …and what, exactly?

This isn’t racism in the traditional sense of hating or fearing a group of people, but there does seem to be the impression that the fetishized group is somehow either aesthetically or sexually superior to other groups or that, taking that a step further, they are somehow subhuman, objectified, interchangeable receptacles for sex and attention. I don’t want to advocate the idea that there are different levels of racism, but this particular brand is so hurtful because it occurs so subtly and, for the most part, disguised as a compliment. When a man who is darker than me compliments me on the paleness of my skin, as I often encounter with Latino men, it insults and devalues both of us. I’m reduced to my body parts, and he buys into the idea that white skin is inherently beautiful. Continue reading

Model Minority: How Women’s Magazines Whitewash Different Ethnicities

by Guest Contributor Alex Alvarez, originally published at Guanabee

Associate Editor Alex Alvarez, befuddled to find that her boobs and hips, or lack thereof, seem to fall in and out fashion like leggings and stirrup pants and poppers, takes a look at the American women’s magazine industry in an attempt to decipher just how, exactly, they can get away with telling women their bodies are ok – if only they’d look more like white girls. (Take The Quiz On Page 62!)

My name is Alex Alvarez. And I hate women’s magazines.

Don’t get me wrong: I like fashion and I’ve worked at several magazines over the past couple of years. I can talk about Courrèges and Two Girls, One Cup in the same breath. But so many women’s magazines, both “fashion” mags like Glamour and Vogue and “sexy” mags like Cosmo and Horse & Hound do women so much more harm than good.

Women’s magazines have long been accused of creating a standard of beauty that will forever be just out of the grasp of most women – prompting them, of course, to wait until next month’s issue for more advice on how to be perfect. (Hint! Transplant your face with this other face.) Selling women this promise not only keeps magazines on newsstands and subscriptions in the mail, it also helps appease the real driving force behind all magazines — advertisers and Satan. And what women end up purchasing is cosmetic “whiteness.” You know you’ve made it, baby, when you wake up looking like you faceplanted on Plymouth Rock.

In this feature, I’ll take a look at women from four, over-simplified ethnic or racial backgrounds and see just how, exactly, magazines are fucking them all up. Then, after a few dozen sex quizzes and several minutes of trying to figure out how you can both “Love Your Body!” and orient yourself on the latest “Plastic Surgery Tips Every Woman Should Know!” without wanting to gag yourself on an exclamation point, I’ll give the magazine industry a few tips on how to talk to women.

Latina

Brief Overview: Latinas are portrayed as being sultry and seductive. They can get away with playing the “bad girl,” possibly because they are allowed – and even encouraged – to have more overtly sexual bodies, with an emphasis on curves, dark eyes and bright, plump, shiny, slick, wet lips shown in loving close-ups, usually while the face to which they’re attached is growling or purring or doing something else that’s totally fierce. They also give better head. Oh. There goes my attempt at subtlety.

The ideal: Jennifer Lopez

Hair: Often enough, Latinas have “big hair” with lots of volume, possibly as a middle ground among the various hair textures found among Latinas of different races.

Skin: Latinas are often depicted as having an olive complexion, with lighter or darker generally ignored or unmentioned by mainstream media.

Ass: Big, round. Makes a “ka-ching ka-ching” sound when bouncing in time to a song about cars and beach houses.

Breasts: While Latinas are generally depicted with large backsides, breast size is allowed to vary. As long as they’re big.

How magazines fucked up: “Latina” is not a race. It’s a diverse group made of many racial, ethnic and religious groups. Some who don’t even look like J-Lo. Additionally, women can’t have it both ways. While Latinas have been “en vogue” for a period of time, certain celebrated icons of “Latina beauty,” such as Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek, have whittled down their once-celebrated curvy figures as the years have gone by. Wait until Jennifer loses all that baby weight. She’ll look so much better without Marc.

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Fast Company: Latina Marketing Maven Ignores Stereotypes, Turns Profit

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

Fast Company recently profiled Alicia Morga, founder and CEO of online-marketing firm Consorte Media.

The opening paragraphs of the article reveal exactly what is wrong with the advertising industry:

Every marketer, pollster, and advertiser knows this much about Hispanics living in the United States: They are deeply family oriented, and their families are big. So when Alicia Morga, founder and CEO of the Hispanic-focused online-marketing firm Consorte Media, first started working with ad agencies on home-financing campaigns, she was told to use cheery images of happy, home-owning families. Problem: “The pictures of the big, brown family turned out to be the lowest-performing creative among Hispanics,” Morga says with a laugh. “By far.” What worked instead were simple shots of well-kept homes with white fences and lush lawns. “It’s aspirational,” she explains. Who knew?

Anyone who bothered to think outside the caja would know–and Morga does. In less than two years, she and Consorte Media have changed the thinking on how to find Hispanic Web surfers in the United States and convert them into customers, replacing the stereotypes that often typify minority-targeted marketing with insights gleaned from rigorous data collection and analysis. And she has built a business that’s already profitable, scored big-name clients including Best Buy and Monster.com, and completed two rounds of venture funding worth $10 million. Her secret: “Data works. There’s too much of the anecdotal in this marketplace.”

I am not sure why marketers want to overolook things that are fairly obvious. Perhaps it is the need for quantifiable, packaged data. I used to work for a market research aggregator and some of the reports that came across my desk for loading were sketchy, at best. Much of the research targeting specific ethnic/racial/gender/age demographics were heavily biased, used to essentially justify pre-existing stereotypes.

A coworker and I occassionally amused ourselves by opening some of the reports and laughing about what the researchers said our demographic wanted. Apparently, according to an older report targeting the African-American market, I am supposed to be single, very religious, overweight, and respond well to food images and church choirs. I guess that’s what the deal was with this Nivea ad. Continue reading

Glamour Magazine on Women, Race, and Beauty

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

I’ve been waiting for this shoe to drop.

Last August, a former Glamour editor found herself in a hailstorm of controversy after she gave a speech to a law firm where she indicated that an afro was not an office appropriate hairstyle. Jezebel had the scoop:

[A] recent slide show by an unidentified Glamour editor on the “Dos and Don’ts of Corporate Fashion” at a New York law firm shed some light on the topic, according to this month’s American Lawyer magazine.

First slide up: an African American woman sporting an Afro. A real no-no, announced the ‘Glamour’ editor to the 40 or so lawyers in the room. As for dreadlocks: How truly dreadful! The style maven said it was ‘shocking’ that some people still think it ‘appropriate’ to wear those hairstyles at the office. ‘No offense,’ she sniffed, but those ‘political’ hairstyles really have to go.

In November of that year, Glamour tried to make amends to its readership by hosting a panel to discuss Women, Race, and Beauty. The March Issue of Glamour contains the transcript from the panel as well as some extra information about the panelists and some sidebars.

Reading the finished product, I notice I am left feeling unsatisfied. It’s kind of like when I saw The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift soundtrack advertised. DJ Shadow, Mos Def, Verbal from M-Flo, Dragon Ash, The Far*East Movement, and N.E.R.D. were all featured but after I previewed the tracks, I ended up leaving the CD in the store. How did something so right go so wrong?

I got the same feeling from this Glamour article. All the all stars are here: Farai Chideya (NPR, News & Notes), Vanessa Bush (Essence), Jami Floyd (TV Anchor), Daisy Hernandez (Colorlines), Lisa Price (Carol’s Daughter Hair Products), Venus Opal Reese (PH.D, University of Texas), Mally Roncal (Celebrity Make Up Artist/make up creator), and Barbara Trepagnier (Professor of Sociology). And yet…

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