The Problem With Latinidad

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science, United States on 2019-09-18 01:03Z by Steven

The Problem With Latinidad

The Nation

Miguel Salazar

A growing community of young, black, and indigenous people are questioning the very identity underpinning Hispanic Heritage Month.

Every September 15, a flurry of independence days across Central America—in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—kicks off National Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration of Latin culture that lasts through mid-October. For Latin Americans and their descendants, the month is a time to celebrate shared cultures and customs across nationalities. For others in the United States, it provides an opportunity to educate Americans about a growing demographic that, like most minorities, has long been relegated to the margins of US history and, over the past half-century, has worn many hats—“Latin American,” “Hispanic,” “Latino,” and most recently, “Latinx.” Now, however, a growing number of writers, activists, and academics are questioning the very underpinnings of this common identity, an idea known as Latinidad (loosely translated as “Latino-ness”).

Historically, the forging of this ethnic identity has been understood as a necessity in the face of white supremacy and anti-Mexican Juan Crow laws. In response to recent events, it’s been useful for raising awareness of migrant family separations, Washington’s insistence on militarizing borders in Mexico and Central America, and mass shooters warning of a “Hispanic invasion” of the United States. Even so, its most vocal critics, who are often young and black or indigenous, have not minced words in their critique of what they see as an exclusionary identity fabricated by—and for the benefit of—white and mestizo elites and the American political class.

I spoke about the recent rejection of Latinidad with the journalists, organizers, and thinkers at the forefront of this conversation. We talked about what determines who is allowed to claim the term, what purpose it serves, and whether the identity is useful as a category anymore…

Read the entire interview here.

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On the Usefulness of Hispanic Heritage Month

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-18 15:02Z by Steven

On the Usefulness of Hispanic Heritage Month

American Mestiza: Living In Between the In Between

Sarah A. Chavez, Visiting Assistant Professor of English
Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia

This fine fall day – and it is a fine fall day: sunny, the leaves are changing and floating softly to the ground in a light breeze, it’s not hot – is the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month. I have mixed feelings about Hispanic Heritage Month, the same way I do about Women’s History Month, and African American History Month. If we just lived in a world that held the accomplishments of Latinxs, women, and African Americans in the same esteem as Anglo Americans, and if we had more fair representation in U.S. text books, we wouldn’t need these token months. Largely, months like these end up being used to assuage liberal guilt for the rest of the year when no one is held accountable for the monolithic literature, art, history, sociological perspective teachers assign. These are the special months where a teacher brushes the dust off their copy of Martin Luther King Jr.’sI Have A Dream” speech and shows their students art by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo (even though they are solidly Mexican and therefore not “Latina/o” or “Hispanic”), and talks about how in the 1940s women got to put on pants and tie up their hair in red kerchiefs and that was very empowering…

Read the entire article here.

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