Just Say No to Hispanic Heritage Month

Hey, everyone! It’s HisPanic Heritage Month again. Woo hoo! I want to congratulate all my HisPanic friends, you know who you are.
Me?  I’m not Hispanic.  I’m (in order of preference):  Chicana, Mexican-American, Latina.Image

What’s the big deal, you ask?  Well, it’s like this.  Hispanic isn’t even a real word.  It’s a safe word made up by the government to try and deal with, count, keep track of, brown people from south of our United States border, or any third world countries where they speak Spanish.

Hispanics are not scary.  Hispanics have no color or flavor.  Hispanics aren’t pushy.  Hispanics don’t make white people feel uncomfortable. Hispanics are (to plagiarize the late great Gore Vidal) walking talking glasses of milk.

See?  I am so OBVIOUSLY not Hispanic.

And what’s with ONE FREAKING MONTH to celebrate the culture and contributions of a large and heterogeneous group?  And which Hispanic culture(s) will we promote when we celebrate this special month?  Mariachi music, anyone?  Tacos?  Burritos? Ballet folklorico?

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(The US Army webpage identifies this as a “Hispanic heritage dance.”)

Hey!  That’s all Mexican, and my Puerto Rican/Dominican/Salvadorean/Guatemalan/Colombian/Cuban/Honduran/Peruvian/etc. cousins might not dig all that stuff or want it imposed on them with a smile and a “Hey, look!  We’re celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with you and for you.  Aren’t you so grateful?”

“Wait.  You mean all Hispanics don’t listen to that mariachi music?  How about that polka-sounding stuff I hear thumping out of the big ass trucks driving by me?  No?  Wow.  Who knew?”

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(Heritage? Singular? Really?)

Yes, exactly.  You see, we’re (mostly) united by a common language and our mixed Spanish/Native American/black DNA.  Just like Americans are united with the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, etc., with a common language and (lots of) British Isles DNA.  We don’t have a “Hispanic Heritage.”  At least say our “Hispanic Heritages.”  It’d be a start, anyway.

And where do Spaniards fit in here?  And French or Portuguese-speaking people? Don’t ask, that’s even more complicated.

Back to Hispanic Heritage Month.  So we honor all Spanish-speaking foreigners as if they were one big monolith, make some proclamations, go eat some Mexican food and smile politely as if we’re really interested in the Mexican dances.  If we must keep this celebration on the calendar, how about at least acknowledging we have many different backgrounds and customs?  Acknowledge that we have different histories in the United States, but that we’ve all made contributions.

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How about doing that ALL year long instead of during some arbitrarily chosen time like September 15th to October 15th? Especially when you consider that Arab Heritage Month overlaps with our month! 😉  All these hyphenated Americans are crowding the calendar!  Including women!

Discuss.

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About socolaura

Mom, educator, opinionated, passionate, smart, witty, wise Latina. Waiting for my moment of zen.
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