Another Hispanic Heritage Month Over – Did it Help Anyone?


, ,

The sounds of mariachi and other Latino music along with the voices of persons of Hispanic heritage lessen somewhat as the celebration closes this month.
That celebration is Hispanic Heritage Month which has been going on for over 20 years, yet the question remains after all this time, is the American public more informed about Hispanic culture and its people? And what about us Hispanics, is our pride in being of Hispanic heritage busting at the seams or are we conflicted about our identity and place in America?
Indeed it’s an honor that our country grants an entire month to celebrate the positive contributions of our community along with a month being set aside for Women, Asian, African and Native Americans, albeit at other times of the year. But what of it, does this celebrative period actually help or hurt our standing in how non Hispanics view our community?
A few years ago, I was invited to address several American army battalions stationed in Germany and Bosnia. While my visit went well I quickly learned that not everyone was enthused about my talk about Hispanics. At one particular stop, several of the army personnel interrupted my speech by shouting that we should celebrate being American.
Their objection to having me speak about a specific group of people was loud and clear. Certainly, that was a long time ago and much has changed since then, or has it? I can’t help but think the behavior of that audience might not have been an anomaly but more the norm, it’s just that other audiences don’t protest as loud.
Our community continues to struggle to be understood and in many cases to be appreciated by the public at large. Many stereotypes about Hispanics continue; if we aren’t illegals, we are drug dealers, we are taking jobs from other Americans, we are too dependent on public welfare, and the list goes on and on. Hispanic heritage month is, no doubt, our forum to address such stereotypes but what about the rest of the year?

Is our community worthy of being seen and heard only on a certain time of the year or are we a continual part of the American cultural scene?

<img src=”″ alt=”Mariachi’s in Mariachi Plaza are opposed to the Mariachi 5K Run.” width=”300″ height=”210″ />How often do you hear mariachi music or other Latino type music as much as you do during the September-October time period. (
Think about it, how often do you hear mariachi music or other Latino type music as much as you do during the September-October time period. At the same time, how often do you hear about Hispanics delivering a major college or university commencement address, or speaking to a large group of business or academic leaders? Let’s face it, it’s only during a certain time of the year that we hear Hispanic voices speak to other groups, all other times we are basically talking to ourselves.
Our community is indeed a part of the American fabric, all…..
To read full story: