I can relate to this article in the Washington Post regarding the many cultural differences within the larger Latino community. As a Mexican-American who grew up in Los Angeles, our small neighborhood was represented by several Latino communities: Cubans, Ecuadorians, Guatemaltecos, Salvadorians, Columbians, Puerto Ricans, and other cultures – including Filipinos and Vietnamese!
Those who assume all Latinos eat tacos and dance salsa should realize that most Latinos will identify with their own cultural roots first. While there are many similarities, assuming that all Latinos “are the same” is a mistake, and I see an increasing trend in our cultural self-identification.
Great Boston Globe piece on long time Latina journalist Maria Hinojosa’s series, America by the Numbers. I’ve watched a few of these episodes and find them refreshing. As the article notes, each demographic change tells a story. Hinojosa makes a sincere effort to understand what these changes mean not only to the group in focus but the U.S. as whole. She’s filling a much needed gap for intelligent and informative discussions on multicultural America, which often isn’t addressed by most mainstream media:
Hinojosa’s content is resonating in part because it does not approach the demographic changes with an inherent sense of controversy, like much of the media do. “The sentiment in many mainstream media newsrooms . . . is that the conversation around demographic change, the Hispanicizing of America, the browning of America . . . was often met with a sense of fear,” says Hinojosa, who was born in Mexico City and grew up in Chicago. “And because I am an American journalist 100 percent but I’m also 100 percent part of that demographic change, I don’t approach this change from a place of fear and panic. I approach it as a journalist and trying to understand what this means.”
Hinojosa is shedding a light on the corners of a new multicultural reality in America, and it’s working. “America by the Numbers” doubled the number of African-American and Latino viewers that typically watch PBS programming, while also maintaining the established audience for PBS news and public affairs.
The complexity of Latino identity is examined in the documentary, Negro— A Docu-Series about Latino Identity. The film explores the African and Latino history in the United States, specifically Afro-Latinos from the Caribbean region. Identity, race, history and latinidad are discussed from a number viewpoints. Ryan Hamilton discusses his perspective below – all videos can be found here.