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Opinion: Is It Racism Or Art Censorship in Holyoke?

floresatwork smalelr 1

The artwork that some in Holyoke thought was inappropriate.

 

By David Flores

On Saturday, September 19, 2014, my mural celebrating the Puerto Rican diaspora in Holyoke, MA was scheduled for installation as part of a set of pieces created in conjunction with the Holyoke Alleyway Revitalization Project. Before the piece could go up, the owner of the building on which it was to be installed decided that it could not be displayed on her property. She said that my piece would do more harm than good to Holyoke’s Hispanic community, and that in order to display it I would have to change it to make it “more diverse.”

The mural consists of an 8’ x 16’ Puerto Rican license plate with HOLYOKE written across the center. Whereas many Boricuas throughout Holyoke proudly display similar license plates that point to their hometowns on the island, my project intended to claim …

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Opinion: Hispanic Heritage Month Needs A Makeover

Hispanic heritage month

What started as a cultural tribute has evolved into a bland, and often patronizing, opportunity.  National Hispanic Heritage Month is overdue for a makeover. Originally established as a weeklong event by President Lyndon Johnson, the celebration was expanded in 1988 to the period from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Since then, companies, politicians, government agencies, and institutions alike celebrate the contributions of a growing population of Latinos — now estimated at 54.1 million. But widespread cultural acceptance has a downside: What started as a cultural tribute has evolved into a bland, and often patronizing, opportunity. Seeking a piece of Latinos’ buying power, estimated at about $1.2 trillion, marketers treat an ethnically and racially diverse group as a monolithic, homogenized cluster.

Latino bloggers and tweeters have a name for the phenomenon: “Hispandering.” Coca-Cola recently posted a Hispanic heritage tweet suggesting the best way to celebrate is by eating guacamole, a

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Opinion: Are Latinos Tolerant Of Their Own Hispanic Diversity?

photo: ows.edb.utexas.edu

Raul A. Reyes
NBC News
 

Being Latino means being part of a rich, diverse culture. Or does it? Some Latinos feel removed from their peers because of their skin color, language ability, or mixed-race heritage. Others have faced criticism for holding political views at odds with the Hispanic mainstream. In fact, many Latinos know all too well what it is like not to fit in with their own community.

“Most people believe that all Latinos look like the stereotypical Puerto Rican or Mexican,” said Mirna Martinez-Santiago, 43, a New York attorney. “I am from Honduras. I am black, racially, but I identify as Latina.”

The host of The Opinion Talk Show gave some examples of how her skin color has caused confusion – and awkward moments.

“I walk into a Dominican hair salon and the employees are talking about me,” Martinez-Santiago said. “I can hear them talk about …

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