Sunday, October 25, 2009

The New Minstrel Show-Latino Brown Face

The other day I watched CNN's new show "Latino in America". I don't know what I even think about it-I do think it had a superficial coverage of the Latina/o community, but hell, I sort of could really care less.

One of my followers on twitter is the Latino comedian Mike Robles, star and creator of Qué locos. Over the past couple of days, he has been promoting a video of himself criticizing CNN's show and giving Soledad O'Brien a hard time. He claims that the show that she created doesn't show any positive role models of Latinos and that the show exploited Latinos.

So Mike spammed everyone left and right with his video link, including sending direct messages to pass it on to our people, etc. I retweeted his video, but then I asked him a question. I asked him something to the effect of, "Are you also going to hold Latino comedians, like George Lopez, accountable for also perpetuating negative stereotypes about the latina/o community?" Just making sure, since he was definitely sending tweets to George Lopez and retweeting stuff that George Lopez was writing.

He of course never answered. He sure did answer tons of tweets of people kissing his ass. I'm not surprised that he would spam everyone and then not respond to a question about being a big fat hypocrite. Because really, if you are going to criticize CNN for exploiting Latina/os, then we might as well have a productive conversation about the role of Latino comedians in this matter.

Now I have never seen Mike Robles perform a comedy act, and I really knew nothing about him until he retweeted something that I said.

As far as I'm concerned though, many Latino comedians, including George Lopez, are nothing more than chumps up on a stage, perpetuating the stereotypes of the stupid, ignorant lazy-ass-mexican myth. They are our very own present day brown face dumb asses performing a fucking minstrel show for everyone's entertainment.

You don't know what a minstrel show is? Well, basically it was a show where whites dressed up and painted themselves with a black face. They performed on stage like they were a bunch of idiots. Then there came a time when even some of the blacks were painting black paint on their face and acting like an idiot. You know-the "Oh, golly, gee" crap while scratching their head.

Here's a video of a reenactment of a minstrel show. It takes about a minute for these dumb asses to put the paint on their face.

As far as I'm concerned, what many Latino comedians do is tantamount to a fucking minstrel show. Our very own brown face entertainment. We've come a long way, baby. Now the whites don't have play the stupid latino part like they did in West Side story, now the latinos just stand up there and do it themselves!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Latinos on Television Shows

I just watched the show "In Plain Site" on, a site which shows television shows online. In the beginning of the show, there is a clip of a woman standing in front a bunch of working class looking workers and holding an labor rally. She is speaking in English with a thick accent. Suddenly police officers bust in and they arrest her and are ready to kill her. Then the US government busts in and saves her and puts her in protective custody so that they people of Argentina will rise up against the president because they will think that the president killed her.

My first question I asked myself was: Why the hell was the lady holding a labor rally in English? Stu-pid. Why didn't the show just show her organizing in Spanish and have subtitles?

My second observation was that the labor organizer was very light skinned, while the workers all had darker skin. Go figure.

Later in the show, they move her as a witness to Albuquerque in the US, and she moves into a bad neighborhood with tons of Latino thugs, gangsters, and drug dealers. Uh, I am getting so sick of all of these shows portraying Latinos as if they are all a bunch of thugs.

But whose fault is this, really? The Latino actors are just as complicit in perpetuating these fucked up stereotypes because they choose to accept parts that show them as Latino gangsters. Enough already-they need to stop with this madness.

Monday, July 27, 2009

On Work Burnout

I'm having one of those grouchy weekends that spilled over into a Monday. I called off sick today because I am feeling so burned out from work. Perhaps it was from working all of those long days and non-stop Saturdays for two or three months. Perhaps it was from taking over the two new departments that I was given in the beginning of July. Perhaps it is because I am always going non-stop with all sorts of projects, even during my free time. Perhaps it is from my adrenaline pumping all last week for my presentation. Or maybe I am just crashing because I have had to dodge so many bullets at work for the past six months because of the fucked up budget crisis. Who knows, but today I am feeling burned out.

I feel lethargic. My body hurts. I feel bitchy. I don't feel like thinking at all. I have been having migraines. My skin feels like it looks like shit. I feel exhausted. I feel mentally drained. In fact, the other day my boyfriend asked if I was drunk because I was blabbering and not making sense. I feel as if I don't even want to go back to work.

Today I am feeling much better than I did on Friday and Saturday. I know it will be a matter of time until I recover. All I need is sleep, healthy food, and exercise.

Beyond me even feeling burned out, I am just sick of the public school system. The system as a whole breeds mediocrity and incompetence. I am tired of everyone dropping the ball on something and then shooting darts in my way so that they have someone to blame when they fall straight on their faces. I am irritated that everyone's lack of planning has to turn into my emergency. I am tired that school principals and other administrators do not know how to fucking handle their money and I have got to run around and find money to offset when they went into the red.

I would have to say that more than half of the teachers that I work with do not make their job a priority. They don't attend any training, even when they are paid. All they want to do is blame the kids and their parents, and not hold themselves accountable for what they might be doing that is NOT working, or what they are NOT doing. I bust my ass on a daily basis to assist the teachers and put structures into place that will help them with their teaching, planning and assessment, and many of the teachers don't appreciate it.

I mean, would they go to a surgeon and have brain surgery with a doctor who has not attended any training in the past ten years? Would they be okay with their own children's teachers never attending any training??

At least one third of the teaching population that I work with is highly dedicated and they want to implement all that they are learning. But then they go back to their classrooms and their incompetent principal won't let them do what needs to be done.

I'm so tired of people acting as if these inner-city kids are a bunch of idiots and they don't deserve a quality education. I'm so sick of hearing all of the negative comments about the kids, the community and the families. I was one of those damn kids and yet I have been successful in spite of all that the public ed system put me through.

I am exhausted with lack of imagination, lack of creativity, and adherence to the status quo. I have always thought outside the box, and I am tired of being treated as if "we can't do it that way". And I get really tired when what I have been saying for years is finally implemented-why the fuck does it take like five years for people to get the picture?

I just want to be surrounded by amazing people, amazing, creative people who have a passion for what they're doing. Instead I am surrounded by many people who wake up to put in their six hours (yes, I said six hours-if teachers do not stay after school or go to trainings, they work six and a half hours) in what is only a j-o-b to them.

I know that I could walk away any day and make the same amount of money consulting and working on other projects, but I stick around in my attempt to make a difference in this world-to be that one person in the school system who I never had. But I'm also not going to mentally and emotionally kill myself when no one else apparently takes our job so seriously. Only time will tell if I want to keep killing myself like this.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover

It always bothers me how many teachers and administrators treat students. I'm an administrator at the school district level and you just can't imagine how badly many parents are treated. 

Today I had a meeting with a principal about a student who had applied for a choice program. The principal refused to let the child in, stating to the mother that he was "low" and shouldn't be in the particular program. I pretty much strong armed the principal into allowing the child in the program, but she continued to obsess over the fact that she was worried that he wouldn't be successful.

I asked her, "Don't you think that you should give him a chance before you make these assumptions?"

I'm sorry, what was I thinking--I thought that as educators we are supposed to have open minds about students and teach to their strengths. I didn't know that it was our job to automatically accentuate their "deficits".

I literally get calls from either principals or teachers on a weekly basis as soon as a child winds up in their class, making statements about wanting to retain the student, that the student should be referred to psychological testing, and all such nonsense. I'm always thinking, "Uh,'s the kid's first day with you!" 

So I found this great spoken word on the topic and I think it's really a great demonstration of how educators typecast and stereotype students and parents, while knowing little about them:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Very Own LIttle Identity Crisis

It's difficult for me to find a space sometimes in the online community. I search and search for many other Latina bloggers and I feel like sometimes I just don't click. It seems that the online Latina community that I tend to run into is mainly of the mommy blogger variety, and I'm just not really into that so much.

I've been meeting other feminist bloggers, and sometimes I can't find a space in the feminist community. Some feminists can be so damn judgmental. With some I feel like I have to hide that I am a sex positive feminist. With other white feminists (some), I feel like they don't get when I am looking at something from the perspective of a woman of color. But then again, I'm slowly starting to meet other feminists who accept sex positive feminism, who are politically to the left, and who try to understand the perspectives of feminists and/or womanists of color. 

I've been meeting many African American women who I have really been connecting with online lately. It makes me feel connected in a way, because I have deep ties to the African American community due to our shared sense of oppression. But I still feel a tad bit uncomfortable that there aren't many Latinas out there that I seem to connect with in the virtual world. Well, I'll live. 

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My Nasty Little Habits

For the past year I have been really trying to be healthy through eating healthy food, exercising, sleeping well and minimizing my stress from work. 

I've been doing okay with the eating. I fall on and off the wagon with eating meat. Although I have never really cared for meat, I occasionally crave it and/or am too lazy when I am out to eat and there really aren't vegetarian meals. My only issue that I am grappling with now is this- I have been eating so well that my body can't handle it when I eat junk. I'm talking about something as basic as a soda. My whole body starts to feel shaky and I get a stomach ache. If its crappy food, forget about it. I am literally sick.

One of my friends said, "Well, stop eating so healthy so that you don't have to put your body through the stress when you eat poorly".

Okay, so I initially thought that sounded like a great idea. Then I've lately been thinking that I just need to get my butt in gear and just stop occasionally eating the crap. If all that junk is giving me a stomach ache or causing a physical reaction to my body, then I really probably shouldn't be ingesting it all all, que no?

Now on to my exercise. I've been a lazy ass. A total lazy ass. I've scaled back on my running every since I missed the marathon and I keep forgetting to go to my yoga classes. I've been walking here and there, but definitely nothing that is really rigorous.  I can definitely feel a difference in my energy levels, and I'm vowing to get my ass back in gear. Starting this afternoon. 

I've saved the worse for the end. My sleep patterns suck and so do my stress management. I find myself wanting to stay up at all hours of the night and keep myself super busy doing stuff on my down time, and I am suffering from lack of sleep and also lack of relaxation. Even this last week-I took almost one week off and I was working my ass off on projects that I have been working on. Now THIS is definitely a problem that I really need to address. 

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Thoughts on "Independence Day"

The whole Independence Day and "fourth of July" crap has never really had any meaning to me. Growing up I could never see any of my family's history present. We weren't descendants of anyone who came to the United States for a better life or to escape any type of religious persecution. My parents were actually on this continent long before the grand ole heros that we all celebrate were even born. 

I can remember being frustrated all of the time in class because I would learn about all of these white men who fought a war and established their own country on land that belonged to someone else in the first place. I frequently got into trouble because I would ask my teachers why we were constantly celebrating the date of July 4, 1776. I was born in 1976, and when I was a young child I was always told what an important years the 76 years were.

My great grandfather told us a different story at home. My great grandfather, my abuelito, told us of ancestors on his side who lived in California long before California was part of the United States, and some ancestors lived here long before the Spanish even arrived. My abuelito told us of the days when the American settlers arrived and intermarried with many of the prominent Mexican Californios. He told us tales of the time in 1846 when American settlers arrived, slapped up their Bear flag in northern California and took over the land from the Mexicans in the Bear Flag Revolt. 

July 4, 1776 means nothing to me. California wasn't even ceded to the United States until 1848. There was no grandiose display of fireworks, no picnics, nothing of the sort. Rather, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed into law in order to protect the Mexican inhabitants, but was since systematically broken like all the other treaties "they've" ever broken. 

On a certain courthouse in a certain city in Southern California, one of my old great uncle's names is displayed on a plaque in the front of the building for having been a prominent land grant owner. Hah, but the last laugh was on him once the US decided to not hold up their end of the bargain of the treaty and weaseled all of the land grants out of the hands of the descendants of those who owned the land grants. 

So tomorrow while everyone is out lighting fireworks, I'll be wondering how many of those fireworks are burning down the land that was stolen from some of my ancestors. I'll also be sitting there and thinking of everything in the treaty after the Mexican-American war that was just pushed aside. And for those people who will inevitably pull the "if you don't like it go back to Mexico" bullshit, just remember that many of my people were here long before the US was even a thought in any founding father's head.