Blog or Not?

A statistically improbable polymath's views on politics and culture.

Thursday, August 21, 2003
Prompted by Tacitus and Matthew Yglesias's complaints about receiving telemarketing calls in Spanish, I realized that the current cultural view of Latinos is hopelessly flawed. When I say "Latino", who pops into your head? Probably not Martin Sheen or even Emilio Estevez, but Ricky Martin/taquerias in Spanish Harlem or Cicero (depending on city affiliation)/billingual education/migrant workers/Telemundo. You probably don't think about the large numbers of suburban middle-class Latinos in the American Southwest whose families have lived here since before the Mexican-American war, nor Sammy Sosa (Dominican Republic), nor Brazilian jetsetters, nor Cameron Diaz. Nope, your base conception of Latino culture is shaped by urban Chicano/recent Mexican immigrant culture, neighborhoods where everything is in Spanish and you feel alienated by them and they feel alienated by you. Thus you classify them as a Fanonian/Sartrian "Other", and not much in the culture contradicts you. And since our main cultural impression of Latino culture comes from these barrios....

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