Tag Archives: latino

Latina/os in academia: A look at numbers

by Guest Contributor Daily Chicana, originally published at The Daily Chicana

From the San Antonio Express News

This past weekend, I came across “Latinas blaze path to doctoral degrees” (12 May 2012), an article that tells the story of the three gorgeous Latinas pictured above, who are newly minted Ph.D.s in English from the University of Texas at San Antonio. First and foremost, I want to send out my congratulations to them and to wish them all the best as they continue their academic careers! I hope I will have the chance to meet these new colleagues in person one day. For now, I’ll just look forward to sharing their story with my students, who I know will be tremendously inspired by the challenges these women have overcome.

The nature of the challenges–and particularly the numbers and statistics behind them–are ones that I lose sight of all too easily, even though I myself was a first-generation doctoral graduate. The caption of the image above begins to hint at the rarity of what Dr.s Portales, Cantu-Sanchez and de Leon-Zepeda have achieved. Latina/os (note: the term “Latina/o” includes people whose origins extend to any Latin American country, not just Mexico) comprise 15% of the US population, yet according to the National Center for Education Statistics, we received only the following in 2009:

  • 8% of bachelors degrees
  • 6% of Master’s degrees
  • 3% of Ph.D.s.
  • Moreover, Latina/os comprise just 4% of college faculty. (By way of comparison, whites received 71.% of bachelors degrees, 64% of Master’s and 63% of Ph.D.s. and make up 75% of faculty.) Continue reading

    The Racial Legacy of 9/11 [Voices]

    Superman and the Heroes of 9/11

    September 11th is often remembered as one of those moments where we all came together as Americans in response to a horrific attack on our nation’s soil. However, the truth is more complicated. The enduring legacy of racism prevents many people from being considered as full Americans, and the years after the attack were marred with prejudice and hatred toward American citizens who were suddenly marked as different. We spend this day in remembrance, not only for those who performed everyday acts of heroism, and not only for those who lost their lives, but also remembering the way in which Americans have failed each other – for allowing an attack from terrorists to call into question our ideals as a nation. We may have lost the Twin Towers, but we did not lose who we are.

    So, in true American fashion, we will continue to fight to be heard, ensuring that everyone’s American story is told.

    Let’s begin with a great video series on the Unheard Voices of 9/11 produced by the Sikh Coalition.

    Since many people were caught in the wave of backlash and discrimination post-9/11, the Sikh Coalition asked people to send in their videos about how discrimination has impacted their lives.

    Shawn Singh talks about how suddenly, post 9/11, it impacted his understanding of his Sikh Identity:

    Kevin Harrington talked about discriminatory treatment at the New York City Transit Authority – despite the fact that he helped to evacuate people on 9/11, Harrington was approached in 2004 and told he could not continue working in passenger service because of his turban:

    Rabia Said remembers being 8 years old and being told by a pastor and by the police that her clothing was why she was targeted racial profiling:

    Continue reading

    Interracial Marriage Rate Declines Among Asians

    by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

    The Washington Post has an interesting story on recent trends in interracial marriage in America — specifically, a decline in the rate of Hispanics and Asians marrying partners of other races in the past two decades: Immigrants’ Children Look Closer for Love.

    Sociologists and demographers are just beginning to study how the children of recent immigrants will date and marry. Conventional wisdom has it that in the open-minded Obama era, they will begin choosing spouses of other ethnicities as the number of interracial marriages rises.

    But scholars are coming across a surprising converse trend. According to U.S. Census data, the number of native- and foreign-born people marrying outside their race fell from 27 to 20 percent for Hispanics and 42 to 33 percent for Asians from 1990 to 2000.

    Scholars suggest it’s all about the growing number of immigrants. It seems that the large immigrant population fundamentally changes the pool of potential partners for Asians and Hispanics. Thus, the second generation is more likely to marry people of their own ethnicity.

    It’s not quite like it was before, when there were only two Asian kids in your school — you and this other boy/girl — and everyone thought you two should go together to the prom. Forced coupling. Now half the school is Asian, so it’s not such a big deal. Something like that.

    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

    PeTA and Oppression on the Border

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

    People who know me know that few things on this planet irk to the extent that PETA does. The tactics that PETA deploy to get their point across are dubious at best and some are downright deplorable. I wrote off PETA after a campaign they ran called “Animal Liberation” where they juxtaposed images of animals in captivity and images of the racial terror that people of African decent in this country faced including chattel slavery and lynching.

    A few years prior they ran a series of ads that they had to publicly apologize for that juxtaposed farm animals and Holocaust victims. People of color and Jews have fought to be recognized as humans with dignity after centuries of being compared to animals and PETA has repeatedly disregarded those efforts. PETA has continuously trivialized the effects of racism on people of color and Jews by comparing it to the experience of farm animals.

    Instead of talking about the ways that the food processing industry exploits and dehumanizes the people of color and im/migrants who work in plants, PETA chose instead to go the media publicity route and ask the US Border Patrol if they can advertise on the Wall.

    WTF!?

    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

    Revise Your Styleguide: On Usage of ‘La Raza’

    by Guest Contributor Daniel Hernandez, originally published at Intersections

    A little Mexico detour, because I’m wondering: Do news media outlets refer to the NAACP as “The Colored People” or the AJC as “The Jewish Committee”? No, they don’t. Yet while covering this month’s NCLR conference in San Diego many outlets including the L.A. Times, Washington Post, and other generally reputable sources like RealClearPolitics felt it okay to refer to NCLR as “La Raza.” This means that the mainstream press has adopted the semantics tricks of the right-wing propaganda machine to conflate together two very different things: NCLR — the largest and most middle-of-the-road, big-money-backed, non-partisan Hispanic (their word) advocacy organization in the United States, and the codeword for reconquista hallucinations advocated only by an extremely small, extremely fringe, and extremely irrelevant batch of Chicano nationalists.

    Doing this plays directly into the ignorant fears of paranoid immigrant-bashers. The double-standard is unacceptable. Because there are real dangers of coding and bigotry at play here: look at what just happened in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. Another hate-fueled illegal immigrant lynching. Listen to the story at Free Speech Radio News. A week later, still no arrests.

    We have opportunists like Lou Dobbs and the soft racism of politicians like Arnold Schwarzenegger to thank for laying the rhetorical groundwork for such a climate. It needs to stop. “La Raza,” once for all, is an historical term. Its use in the NCLR name merely reflects the period of the organization’s founding: the 1960s. (Does anyone in the NAACP even utter the words “colored people” anymore?) It’s a question ultimately of accuracy, as Carla Marrinuci blogs at SFGate.

    On its end, NCLR generously takes the pains to answer its uninformed critics, but one needs only to look at the Mexican American Princes to understand just how “dangerous” are the ambitions of modern Latinos like the kind who gathered in San Diego last week to hear speeches by Barack Obama and John McCain.

    * Above, Obama at the 2007 NCLR conference in Miami Beach.

    Edited to Add:

    Dear Racialicious,

    I appreciate the posting and the discussion of my Intersections post on the media usage of “La Raza.” I think a couple things need to be clarified, though. I meant to point out that to the careless (or prejudicial) reader the words “La Raza” connote Chicano nationalism, not the group, National Council of La Raza. I know and understand that La Raza is a term to be proud of, a term that NCLR members and associates themselves use, a term that Mexican Americans of all backgrounds often use to mean “community,” “family,” “friends,” etc. What I am merely pointing out is that as the media uses it to refer to NCLR it conflates in the public eye a mainstream lobbying entity with an amorphous concept that causes all kinds of drama in the public landscape: see the raids, confrontations, demonstrations, killings of immigrants. I don’t have a solution, but I think we should all be thinking of one. Language is lived, after all.

    Sincerely,
    Daniel H.

    When is Black “Black?”

    by Guest Contributor Danielle Belton, originally published at The Black Snob

    “She needs to quit.”

    That’s how the discussion got kicked off on One Drop Rule’s message board July 2nd. The person accused of needing to cease and desist was CNN reporter Soledad O’Brien who spent the past year working on a documentary for the cable news network entitled “Black In America” which airs this week. And the quitting in question was in regards to her black status.

    “I have watched her with (African Americans) before and never once did she refer to (African Americans) in the first person, as in ‘I’ or ‘We’, or ‘we as a people’, etc. Maybe that’s just a journalism thing. But Tim Russert did identify as a Catholic when the Pope died, so?” wrote one commenter.

    “Also, I have read at least one article … that says, rather Soledad says, that while her mother raised her/siblings to be just (African Americans), she sees herself as being bi-racial or mixed race. Now, she could just be saying that because she’s doing this show. Maybe on St. Paddy’s day, she said she was Irish.”

    This attitude was sprinkled throughout many of the comments. At one point a few seemed to get an interview O’Brien gave to MyUrbanReport confused where she talked about her own upbringing as “black” and the story of a mixed couple she interviewed for the documentary who differed on whether to raise the children as biracial or black.

      “Here you have a kid to me who is completely biracial,” O’Brien said in the interview. “They’re little children, but their dad doesn’t necessarily see that (they’re black.) … My mom and dad were like you’re black. That was just the way it was. The way they were very clear about it made me clear about it in my head.”

    O’Brien has repeatedly in the past given accounts of her life as a black Latina. In a profile with the Irish Echo Online, she talks about her identity (her mother is Afro-Cuban and her father is Australian-Irish) and the struggles her parents went through as a mixed race couple back when it was still illegal in some places and some restaurants wouldn’t serve them.

      O’Brien tends to treat her own ethnic mix with a light touch. She said that people laugh when they see her without makeup “because I have so many freckles that I look very Irish.” She also gently mocked the notion that her mixed-race background exposed her to unimaginable horrors.

      “I have had people say, like, ‘Oh, so you were a tragic mulatto?’ Well, um, not exactly. I was just a middle-class girl growing up on Long Island.”

      It isn’t possible, she contended, “to over-dramatize” what (her parents) went through … “They were doing stuff that for the time was very risky – socially risky and risky to their own physical safety. And they decided they were going to go ahead and get married and have six kids,” their daughter recalled.

    While the board eventually clears up the confusion over what O’Brien said versus what the couple she interviewed said, there seemed to be a prevailing hostility towards the reporter for her alleged flip-flopping on her “black status.”

    I’ve heard this on more than one occasion, but haven’t seen much from O’Brien to back this belief up considering she routinely plays up her black heritage over her Irish roots. After awhile I started to wonder if this hostility was over the fact that she was white enough to pass, but still ensconced herself in black issues and news stories (she’s a member of the National Association of Black Journalists). Were their “lying eyes” keeping them from recognizing her as a woman of color? Especially with her straight hair and nondescript accent, standard for any TV journalist? Continue reading