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 condiment that originated in Mexico and is not typical of all Spanish-speaking societies. There was the time when an Environmental Protection Agency official observed Hispanic Heritage Month by sending out an internal e-mail illustrated with a picture of Che Guevara — seemingly unaware of the fact that some Latinos abhor, rather than revere, the Marxist figure. And there was also the time when the Republican National Committee put out a badly translated statement in Spanish about its Hispanic Heritage Month-themed video.
Many dumbfounded Latinos rightly ask: When did celebrating turn into selling? A more welcome approach would be to increase understanding of this community in all its variety. Hispanic Heritage Month could be an occasion to stress that Mexican-Americans have different

To read full article: http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2014/09/16/national-hispanic-heritage-month/L4kU8Ns6KYuuU5CQdNTnnM/story.html#skip-target1
Photo: prtl.uhcl.edu
 

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One thought on “Opinion: Hispanic Heritage Month Needs A Makeover

  1. This should be a time for Latinos to celebrate their arts and culture, not to find more excuses to expand stereotypes. This year, I have been trying to find out if colleges and universities have any special programs, some do (University of ST Joseph; Uconn, West Hartford and a few others) but the majority do not. Organizers of these programs tend to invite artists and musicians from other parts of the country neglecting to support local artists and writers. To me, this is a wasted opportunity to support people who work and contribute to our local community. An exception seems to be visual artists. There are several exhibits (HPL’s Art Walk Gallery; UCONN gallery at Avery Point which are showing art-work by CT based artists. I invite you to look at my page Latin Arte News/Identidad Latina newspaper for a listing of some of the programs mentioned

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