Hispanic Hell Month

Hispanic Hell Month

I'm Latina. SURPRISE! And although I typically write about diabetes, I'm taking a break today to tell you about the insensitivity that exists within our state lines. I live in Chicago (for those of you who don't know we're on a ChicagoNOW site), which is typically tolerant of many different types of people: black, white, yellow and brown; documented, undocumented; gay, straight; male and female. But sometimes (well, more than sometimes but we won't get into that) there are glitches in the system. Big ones.

Take for instance, Hispanic Heritage Month. The one lopsided block of 30 days where we get to go all out (UNLESS you're Boricua, then you get to do it in July, too, or Mexican; that happens in September), wave flags and be extremely proud to come from Latin American descendants. I say lopsided because if you know anything about Hispanic Hell, I mean, Heritage Month, you know it goes from September 15 to October 15. Not kidding. Many people say it's because Latinos are always late. Go figure. Or that all of the independence days of the Latin American countries fall in that time frame. Either way, we get the "month." This is also when things start going nuts.

Let's look at how this happens. Publications feel that if they don't cover something about being Latino, they're out of the loop. Some big goof-ups made come from Latino publications. They make sure not to miss the "month" and feel that they have to tell the ENTIRE story of Mexico and mention all of the other Latin American countries and their pivotal stories of independence. If you don't write about the month, don't worry! Your WHOLE publication is dedicated to Latino pride, so chill. I saw El Guapo repost an article that he had written for Cafe magazine some time ago about Mexico's independence. I suggest we all do that.

Then you have the non-Latino publications who hire writers, who just happen to be Latino, to write about what they know. Cha-ching! But these tidbits of information are so superficial and surface-skimming that they could've gone unpublished.

But the biggest goof of all are government agencies. That's right, folks! Because they feel that if they DON'T celebrate Latinos with rice, beans and a cartoon stereotype of our culture, they're not doing their job. Take a look at that photo, kids. Enjoy it. That's coming from the Governor's office, by the way.

Like any blogger would, I posted this to my Facebook page. And my Twitter page. And my Facebook Fan Page. I would've put it on Foursquare but I didn't go get tacos at the Governor's office. Anyway, my good friend and hermano from Minnesota was one of the first to comment on the photo. I can always count on Rodrigo.

Its insulting, degrading, offensive. Are they are selling food to celebrate our heritage?? There is more things that can be done. Then on top of it they use a character with a sombrero to blanket what we all look like?? Is his name bandito?? Seriously...

I jokingly answered that I think this year they named him Pedro. After seeing all of this so often and so much, sometimes you just have to laugh at it. Although, it is true. What does the little man with the mustache and sombrero have to do with me? And I don't even eat tacos! (Ok, that's a lie but I had to fight off the stereotype, didn't I?)

So what are my suggestions for improving this? Why does there have to be a person on it?! Put pictures of walking tacos on the flyer, not the head of a "Hispanic." Just because the dude (who can be Russian or Middle Eastern, for all I care) is wearing a sombrero, doesn't mean Latinos are going to go buy tacos or rice! This is more for the people who are not Latino, than those who are. By showing this off, the State is saying that's it OK to profile people the way they just did and because they have a little "Hispanic" man holding the sign, it's GOTTA be authentic and good, for that matter. That's the anger that settles in the community. By continuously reinforcing the stereotypes and allowing our community to be portrayed this way, we're telling the world that we're all the same, that we're not culturally or colorfully diverse and that we don't care how we are viewed as a culture. We're as white as the Poles and black as the Kenyans. We can speak Spanish, not always, and fit in in any part of the world. We're NOT ALL MEXICAN (although, I am)! Well, now I'm saying, "Ya BASTA! STOP IT!"

If you think this only happens during Hispanic Hell Month and it only happens to Latinos in Chicago, then you must have missed the last 200 plus years of United States history. Illinois is not all blue, you know. Once you go south, the situation is different, very different, especially for people of color. I'm not going to write any more about my experience at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Instead, I'm going to let Antonia Darder, former professor at the U of I, who is now teaching at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, do the talking. She's a Puerto Rican activist. Please watch the videos and you'll see what history has to offer.

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    Umm, I love this blog like a lion loves raw meat

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    love this..like a peruvian loves lomo saltado and pisco. Thanks for speaking the truth!

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    Who cares what people that don't understand that we are a diverse crowd with people from all over the world and speak Spanish but are different culturally and racially and still love each other. For the most part.

  • * PROUD TO BE OF MEXICAN & ITALIAN (American) HERITAGE! *

    Two of the BEST CULTURES in the world! So much History, Beautiful Countries & Fantastic Food!

    VIVA MEXICO!

  • What do you expect, look at the genius governor we're stuck with.

  • Very well said. Perhaps that will also further illuminate how politicians, especially the Machine variety, view some of their constituents (and others).

    Funny though, how come so many Hispanic machine politicians didn't see it in their heart that that poster was insensitive and inaccurate?

    Maybe that should be another question asked?

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    Let me start this with I completely understand the reason your upset. Stereotypes are wrong and as a society we should be past such things. With that being said, I think some times when things like this come up people are missing the bigger picture.

    Your upset about the time frame in which Hispanic Month takes place. Your upset that the Government feels the best way to celebrate is to sell what they feel is Hispanic food. Your upset that publications are publishing Hispanic stories not because they are news worthy but because of political intentions. I see your point on all of this, but where is Caucasian Month?

    Sure all major cities will have their Irish Days, Polish Days, etc but that isn't an entire month. As you mentioned you have Hispanic Month plus Boricua & Mexican celebrations. And I am fine with that, but every time an event happens some one has to get upset because of how it was handled.

    It would just be nice to once see a positive take on what is meant to be a cultural event to celebrate ones heritage.

  • In reply to Robert Uzarski:

    Robert:
    I understand what you're saying. And thank you for attempting to understand my point of view. Trust me, there are a lot of positive outlooks out there, but what I'm upset about is a bigger issue.

    As Latinos, it seems that we're "granted" a month and by who? We should be proud all year around, like ALL people should be proud to be who they are. But who's to say that just because it's Hispanic Heritage Month they have to display images like that. What I mentioned above is not the only reason why I'm upset. There's a BIG picture to look at that a lot of people don't see, which is why I posted the videos at the bottom of the blog.

    We're granted Hispanic Heritage, Black History, Asian American months because we're different. We're a "minority." That's why we get them. Because people should take a few events to recognize that there are people of different colors in the world. Why should there be a Caucasian month? They're the ones who granted us ours.

    We know that there are Polish, Irish, German and a whole array of Caucasians around. And though you say that major cities have their days, I'm super happy that in Chicago waving their Polish flags in September as well. I don't know the reason why they do it, but it's HERITAGE and CULTURE they're celebrating. Not the fact that they're white. It's different. I respect people who know where they come from and why they're proud to be of that said ancestry.

    Those small examples were supposed to be funny, above all else and racial and cultural stereotypes are stupid. But all I ask is that people look at the bigger issue here. Not just this small example.

    Thanks for reading.
    Christina

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    In reply to Robert Uzarski:

    I have to agree with Christina here Robert, there is a bigger picture and I believe if you follow this blogger you'd know the tongue in cheek approach she used to release some minor frustrations. More importantly, we must be careful in brushing off these types of complaints with "but where is Caucasian Month"... that's not really seeing the bigger picture either. My humble opinion of course, but we start treading on different grounds when we are speaking of these different issues. I am pretty sure you would be deeply annoyed (albeit it slightly entertained) if they did have a Caucasian month and the flyer for it was a dirty white dude holding a hot dog in one hand and a gun in another with a list of foods like "Freedom Fries" for $1.95. Congrats- you're white and today that's a good thing. tsk tsk.. honestly its a pain in the ass all around and some simple sense would help whoever put that flyer up. After all... it could have very well been a Latino. Ya tu sabes.

  • At first I had a really hard time believing that that picture REALLY came from the governor's office. I thought, "No fucking way they'd actually be stupid enough to think they could get away with that (or ignorant enough to think it's okay)."

    Then reality hit me, and I realized that none of us can expect any better with the sorts of politicians who are in office now...not really.

  • I saw this image and became sick to my stomach. I thought, "Another generation of people have to live with this! "

    I know the people who put this image out there didn't think. That's why it's sad. They allowed their instinctive feelings to guide them. These instinctive feelings demonstrate the fact (something people of color have long been aware of) that the United States has a long way to go before we are truly a welcoming multi-ethnic nation.

    What is even more sad, is that images like this contribute to a self-hate by the people that are supposed to be honored. I was raised by a mother who never admitted to being Mexican because THIS image was how she knew other people saw Mexicans and how she saw herself. So, to be mistaken for any other nationality, especially Japanese, was her greatest pleasure. Because of that shame and self-loathing, my siblings and I lost out on learning about our rich cultural heritage and it's language. That is the insidious nature of racist stereotyping.

  • Where's the outrage from Luis Gutierrez and our other Hispanic legislators? Why have they remained mum thus far on this?
    Also, it speaks volumes of Quinn when his office didn't even feel it necessary to offer up an apology to the scores of offended Latinos.
    The 2014 elections can get here soon enough.

  • Sorry, meant to write, "The 2014 election campaign season can't get here soon enough."

  • That ad is an obvious generalization of Latino's, and as a Latino myself it's offensive.

  • I'm not Hispanic, I'm African American and I feel your frustration, we have February as African American Heritage month (which started out as Negro Heritage week back in the day), and that's fine & good but its how people treat it. Like you are experiencing, its the same with us, pictures of Dr. King in advertisements and other things that could be seen as pandering and not true respect of our culture. But this image you have from our illustrious state is criminal. I hate to say it but if that were a black figure, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton (he's not a Rev he;s just fat, loud & wrong), and other would be protesting. That's all they are good for, they don't promote or support the community. But I digress. I just wish as people of color our cultures could be celebrated and respected everyday, not just because the calendar and some ignorant elected official says so just to get re-elected.

  • Would be interested to know who did the ad. Sometimes they get and Hispanic to "relate". Wouldn't that be something!

  • In reply to Elidia:

    I would too. They didn't give a name, but I wonder if that person dealt with any repercussions.

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    As a person with Type 1 diabetes for the last 20 years of her life, Christina or "Kiki" for short, decided to take it upon herself to write about her findings, experiences and struggles with her disease. Her inspiration to educate people about all types of diabetes can be found communicated in this blog.

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