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  • Racism is not stopping. It is happening.

    To begin with, I was very shocked after watching the viral video “ Go back to your country”. The video shows that a white woman said to a Latina customer that she wasn’t welcome in the store and needed to go back to where she came from. It was confusing and upsetting for me to realize that racism is an unsolved problem that many minority groups in the US have to face. Although there have been many protests to oppose racism, many politicians and influencers have stood up to protect their race and identity, it is hurtful to know that racism is still widespread and there is risk of facing the same incident in the video anywhere, anytime in our daily life. In regard to Rodriguez, the lady who was criticized for her race by the white woman, I stand by her side and I respect the usage of violence in that case. I think that the white woman is well-deserved for the slap for being rude and disrespectful towards the Latinos.

    Another piece of content I want to mention is the article “‘How do you stop these people?’: Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric looms over El Paso massacre” by Phillip Rucker. This article is truly horrifying to read for me. As an international student studying in the U.S, I could not believe a former president of the States could give such a message “How do you stop these people? You can’t” when mentioning about the undocumented immigrants, and pleasantly smiled when someone yell “shoot them”. And the consequence of his action was predictable, a 21-year-old white man decided to shoot and kill twenty Latinos in a shopping center in El Paso. It was clear that Trump had been a questionable leader since 2016, and he always promoted racism, hatred , and violence towards immigrants throughout his period. He made the whites believe that it is normal to be racist and use violence on immigrants, and there will be no one to judge them. And if the racism does not stop, it is alright to stand up together to fight for our rights and respect we deserve.

  • The Religious and Political Viewpoint of the Latino Community in America

    Latinos, the most rapidly growing population group in the United States, now comprise the nation’s largest minority group. In order to understand how the Latin culture is made up of, we could look at statistics to see some unique characteristics and behaviours of this community. The first characteristic I found to be interesting is that religious beliefs play a big role in the Latin culture within every family. It is noticeable that in 2007, Pew Research showed that 64% of Latinos thought that “religion is very important” in comparison to only 4% claimed “religion is not important at all”. However, it is surprising that in 2014, there was a small decrease of 5% regarding the spiritual Latinos, while there were 4% more people who think religion is not significant than in 2007. That is to say, the younger generations are less likely to be spiritual than the older generations among the Latino community. Another interesting trend I notice is the Latino community has been more politically active in recent years. It is fascinating that more than one fourth of the voters (27%) in the 2018 midterm elections claimed that it was their first time to do so. In addition, the number of Latinos voters in Florida has rapidly increased in the period of 2006 to 2018. The biggest increase occurred in the 2018 election, where there was a 8.4% rise over 2016 in the number of voters compared to only 4.6% of increase in the 2014 midterm election over 2012, respectively. Therefore, it is clear that the younger generations of the Latino community have become more involved in voting and raising their voices for their overall benefits and prosperity. In conclusion, as the population of the Latino community shows no sign of decreasing in the near future, I expect the number of spiritual Latinos will decrease while the number of Latinos involved in political voting will increase.

    Pew Research Center’s Survey on Importance of religion in one’s life among Latinos
    Pew Research Center pre-election Survey
  • Poem Review: “Fences” by Pat Mora

    “Fences” was written by Pat Mora depicts the world in which money is king. The poem shows how money creates a restrictive and unequal society, barring the less fortunate from their own local resources while granting the rich access to virtually anything. One thing that stood out to me is the symbol of the fence appearing throughout the poem. It is not simply the “cactus fence” through which the narrator peek at the tourist, but it also separates the two groups – one working class, the other wealthy; one Spanish-speaking, the other presumably not. To the upper class, the beach is a site of leisure and carefree fun; they expect the beach to feel like it’s untouched, a corner of paradise reserved just for them. And the fence helps the tourists feel as though the beach exists just for them and that no one has to make an effort to maintain it. In other words, class inequality creates a border between haves and have-nots, dividing them as if with a wall of threatening spikes. Ultimately, the divisions between locals and tourists don’t just depend on the cactus barrier. What really divides the two groups are social and economic forces: class, race, and ethnicity. All in all, the poem is a typical example of differences between the wealthy and the poor. The title itself, “fences”, is symbolic of a partition, something that is a symbol of demarcation between the rich and the poor.

  • The Identity and Language of a Bilingual.

    A person’s language and country of origin both play big roles in the theme of identity. However, the difficulty of being mixed in cultural and language has always been a struggle for those who identify themselves as bilingual. But there are people who take the challenge and ready to contest those hardships – two examples of them are Gloria Anzaldua with her essay “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” and Snow Tha Product with her music video “Bilingue”.  Firstly, a person’s language is the key to identity is the main idea expressed by Gloria Anzaldua in ‘How to Tame a Wild Tongue’. Language is proof of identity. In this way, language unites and helps different people to identify with one another. In her writing, Gloria Anzaldua motivates minority people not to be discouraged and accept the fact that they are different and special and take the challenge of being bilingual in the USA. It’s up to every individual to value the language he/she speaks. It’s up to oneself to decide what language to speak. Someone should not allow anyone to dictate what is the right way and what is the wrong way to speak. Anzaldua makes an attempt to persuade the audience to accept the fact that some people might speak differently, and that American citizens have to change their mindset towards diversity. Likewise, Snow Tha Product raps, “El que dirá, a mí me vale, critica Yo soy la fuckin’ mexicana” shows that she is proud of her identity no matter of the racisim or inequality. The lyrics strongly plays up the audience’s pathos, or emotions by taking a firm stand and showing strength, through which the audience can reflect. Moreover, she contests those who do not accept her identity or her language, even the United States, “Quieron qué yo me dé Pero ya reté a los United States.” Through the lyrics, she gives the audience hope and taps into their inner strengths. In sum, the essay  “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” and the song “Bilingue” give a strong message about how you should always be yourself no matter where you come from or what language you speak.

  • Different terms/labels for Latinos

    Latinos are now America’s largest ethnic group and are playing a significant role in defining the country’s economic, social, and cultural landscape. Although Americans have been seeking a term to describe a group that accounts for 19 percent of the U.S population, they can never achieve an ultimate term that does not discourage the sense of community among the people they are supposed to describe.

    The earliest common term that existed was “Hispanic,” which is used to refer to people from Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, which excludes Brazilians. Although it was first introduced by the Nixon administration on the 1970 census, the community soon refused to use this term for highlighting Spain, which colonized much of Latin America. “Latino” is an alternative term for “Hispanic”, and it refers to people from, or whose ancestors were from, a Spanish-speaking land or culture or from Latin America. “Latina” is the feminine form. However, “Latino/Latina” fails to include those gender identity do not fall within the gender binary. As the result, using the term “Latinx” to refer to all people of Latin American descent has become more common as members of the LGBTQ community, and its advocates have embraced the label. However, some still rejected this term because the gendered structure of the Spanish language has made “Latinx” both an inclusive and controversial term.

    I do not belong to the group whose ascendant was from a Spanish-speaking land. However, the more common terms I noticed media preferring to use to are “Latino/Latina”. I think this makes much sense for its inclusivity, while using “Hispanic” may include negative connotations and racist undertones. To sum things up, “Hispanic”, “Latino/Latina”, or “Latinx” are terms that encompass culture, ethnicity, and identity and are rooted in shared cultures. When using one of these terms to refer to a specific person, always respect their preference.