Category Archives: Latinidad

Comedy + Undocumented Immigration: Do they mix?

Scene from film short, La Línea

When I received an E-mail from a man named Evan about a film described as “An indie feature comedy about undocumented immigration” – I was intrigued but also wary. “How can undocumented immigration be funny?” I asked myself.

I continued to read Evan’s E-mail, giving him the benefit of the doubt and followed the link he gave me to a Kickstarter campaign where I could find out more. (Kickstarter is a website where one is able to raise funds for projects.) The project, Sun Belt Express, is a film he wants to produce – and, well, I’ll let him tell you about it.

Even after viewing this video and sensing real sincerity from this guy, I was still a little skeptical. Mixing comedy with such a sensitive topic wouldn’t be easy, and if done without care, could do a lot of harm. I didn’t want to endorse something I wasn’t totally certain about so I asked if I could see the full length version of the film short, La Línea, to get a sense of what he’s up to. After watching it, I was sold. I can see why La Línea received the recognition that it did at film festivals and I can’t wait to see more from Evan and his team. What they’re working on is something special – something that deserves to be made.

The more I think about it, what could be more representative of Latinos than the ability to find humor in even the most difficult of situations? It’s one of the things I identify with and admire most about the culture.

I started to think about Carlos’s journey to the United States and some of the stories he’s told me – and yes, there are some funny ones – Maybe I’ll share them here one day, but for now, if you want to know more about Sun Belt Express, click over to their Kickstarter campaign, support them with a donation, and spread the word so they can get funded before the fast approaching deadline.

The Tiger Colcha

I discovered the two thick blankets neatly folded on our sofa after Carlos’s sister had visited.

“Your sister forgot her blankets,” I told Carlos.

“No,” he said, “She gave those to us.”

“But we don’t need blankets,” I said, unfolding them to look at the design. I couldn’t hide my horror as the image of two large tigers appeared before me.

Carlos couldn’t understand why I found the blankets distasteful.

“They’re… tacky,” I whispered, unfolding the other blanket to discover some other kind of cat – jaguars or cougars, I’m not sure.

“Just put them in the closet, okay?” Carlos said, and I did, vowing never to use them or let anyone see them.

And then one day I decided to wash our bed linens but forgot about our comforter in the washing machine until it was bedtime. I threw it in the dryer, determined to wait for it, but I was so tired.

“Just use the tiger colcha,” Carlos said. I reluctantly pulled it from the closet and spread it out on our bed, happy to turn off the lights so at least I didn’t have to look at it. That night we slept so well under the warm, comfortable weight of that tiger blanket that when I folded it up and put it back in the closet I secretly didn’t loathe it so much anymore.

Fast forward to a few days ago and I come upon this article in the LA Times called San Marcos blankets are objects of affection among Latinos. I had no idea this was a “thing” – or at least I had failed to observe it. Once I read the article though I started thinking back on all the friends and family we’ve visited over the years and all the tacky colchas I’ve seen on people’s beds and sofas.

So, confession time, gente. Are you hiding a similar colcha in your closet?

_________

Hilarious related link: Hispanic teen suffocates under four layers of San Marcos blankets (satire)

Naco? Pocho?

What is a Naco? What is a Pocho? Have you ever been called one of these words? Do you readily identify yourself as a naco or a pocho? Do you find them offensive?

Mun2 discusses these words with some famous faces including: Lalo Alcaraz, Xavier El Eléctrico, Gustavo Arellano, Penelope Menchaca, Alacranes Musical, Alex Rivera, Luis de Alba, Edoardo Chavarin, La Bronca, Larry Hernandez, 3ball MTY (pictured above), Gloria Trevi, Daniel Hernandez, Gerardo Ortiz, Los Tucanes de Tijuana, Edward James Olmos, Montez de Durango, Jenni Rivera, and Duelo.

Check out the video over on mun2!

For English version with Spanish subtitles [CLICK HERE]
For Spanish version with English subtitles: [CLICK HERE]

El Catracho

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation is in italics!

La semana pasada compartí una foto del “Taxi Latino” … Este semana, tengo algo para mis Hondureños.

(The other week I shared a photo of the “Taxi Latino”… This week, I have something for my Hondurans.)

Hemos visto esta van en Maryland unos 20 minutos fuera de Washington, D.C.

(We saw this van in Maryland, about 20 minutes outside Washington, D.C.)

Fiesta Latina vs. Fiesta Gringa

It’s birthday party season again and one of the more popular posts on Latinaish is Latino vs. Anglo Birthday Party. A Spanish version of this post was even published in the June/July 2010 issue of SerPadres Magazine after being discovered on Tiki Tiki Blog. So here it is for those of you who are new here or who might have missed it!

The Differences Between an Anglo Kid’s Birthday Party and a Latino Kid’s Birthday Party

#1. Who gets to come?

Anglo – Those whose names are written on the invitation.

Latino – Those whose names are written on the invitation, plus their uncles, cousins, and sometimes random neighbors who had nothing better to do that day.

#2. What time should we come?

Anglo – The time is right there on the invitation.

Latino – An hour late, or else the hosts won’t be ready when you arrive.

#3. Food Etiquette

Anglo – Eat only what is given to you. Don’t ask for seconds even if you’re really hungry.

Latino – Eat as much as you want and then ask for plates to take home leftovers for eating later or to bring to family members who didn’t feel like coming.

#4. Singing, dancing, music

Anglo – The only music heard is when the kids sing “Happy Birthday” at cake time. Dancing is rare, but when it happens, it is usually the “Hokey Pokey”.

Latino – WHAT?! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! THE MUSIC IS TOO LOUD! … Adults dance Perreo in front of the kids, no importa.

#5. Alcohol?

Anglo – Of course not! What’s wrong with you?! It’s a CHILDREN’S birthday party!

Latino- Claro que sí! … The cerveza is there in the cooler, hermano!

#6. Entertainment

Anglo – A strict schedule of organized activities and games for the children.

Latino – Niños, go play in the street or something. Stop bothering the grown ups! We’ll do the piñata later! Híjole!

#7. What’re we eating?

Anglo – Probably pizza.

Latino – Steak, chicken, rice, beans, salad, tortillas, etc. Load your styrofoam plate up until it’s ready to crack under the weight.

#8. When does the party end?

Anglo – Refer to your invitation. Thank your hosts and excuse yourself on the dot. Clear out!

Latino – Party until everyone’s tired and/or Tío Eduardo passes out on the couch while watching a fútbol game.

_______

Credit: Images by Eric Peacock and Paul Kelly used to create graphic.

Pizza Patrón Forcing Hungry Gringos To Speak Spanish – Gringos Outraged

Image source: Seth Werkheiser

Bilingualism has many rewards including enhanced cognitive skills, lower occurrence of dementia in old age, higher paying job opportunities, double the pool of friend and relationship possibilities, and now, free pizza.

A Texas-based pizza chain is getting some backlash over their latest promotion. On June 5th from 5 to 8 pm, Pizza Patrón customers who order in Spanish will receive a free large pepperoni pizza, but this has some monolingual English-speakers feeling a little cheesed off. (I couldn’t resist the pun. ¡Perdóname!)

“This is America and in America we speak American when we order Italian food!” said one angry customer, (Okay, I made up that quote, although it’s not much of an exaggeration from real quotes I’ve read.)

Pizza Patrón unfortunately can’t claim to be surprised by the reaction they’ve gotten since they generated a similar response in 2007 when they announced that they would accept pesos as payment.

Image source: Pizza Patrón

Regardless of how ridiculous people are being about the promotion, they can’t accuse Pizza Patrón brand director Andrew Gamm, of not playing fair – Hungry gringos wanting their share of the pie will not be left out. “If you don’t speak Spanish, come on in. We’ll give you the phrase and make sure everyone that shows up walks away with a pizza.” (By the way, the very difficult phrase customers must learn how to say is “Pizza, por favor.” …Seriously people, if you can’t say that, you have bigger problems than not being able to get a free pizza.)

Image source: Pizza Patrón

Did you notice how “pizza” is spelled in the advertisement above? That is genius marketing at work. Here’s an excerpt from a Pizza Patrón press release explaining:

“Collateral materials for the promotion feature the word PIZZA spelled with a “C” resulting in text that reads PICZA POR FAVOR™ (pronounced “PEEK-ZA”). Company officials say many of Pizza Patrón’s corporate staff members pronounce words like PIZZA as PICZA or PEPSI as PECSI.

“Nearly half of our corporate staff says PICZA (“PEEK-ZA”) instead of PIZZA,” says Gamm. “And when we dug a little deeper, we soon realized that a good number of our Hispanic customers also say PICZA (“PEEK-ZA”) too. We thought it would be fun to incorporate that cultural component into the campaign.”

I have to say, at our house it’s pronounced “PEEP-SA”, but “PICZA” is close enough that I smiled, recognizing right away what they were up to.

How do you pronounce “pizza” at your house?

____

Bonus: Check out this hilarious take on the Pizza Patrón news story over at Pocho.com – Speaking Spanish gets you a free pizza – and Pocho Ocho other things

Taxi Latino

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation is in italics!

Hace unas semanas fuimos manejando en la carretera, (quién sabe a dónde), y vimos este coche junto a nosotros.

The other week we were driving along the highway, (on our way to who knows where), and we spotted this car driving next to us.

Dice: Taxi Latino, “Todos los pasajeros viajan por el precio de uno.”
It says: Taxi Latino, “All passengers ride for the price of one.”

Yo ni siquiera voy a hacer una broma. La foto habla por sí misma.
I’m not even going to make a joke. The photo speaks for itself.

Sniglets for Latinos

Image source: sAeroZar

When I was a kid I discovered a book at my grandparents’ house called “Sniglets” by comedian Rich Hall. The book explained that a sniglet is “any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should” and was full of humorous made-up examples, such as:

Aqualibrium (ak wa lib’ re um) – n. The point where the stream of drinking fountain water is at its perfect height, thus relieving the drinker from (a) having to suck the nozzle, or (b) squirting himself in the eye.

Cheedle (chee’ dul) – n. The residue left on one’s fingertips after consuming a bag of Cheetos.

Nurge (nerj) v. – To inch closer to a stoplight thinking that will cause it to change quicker.

Purpitation (per pi TAY shun) – v. To take something off the grocery shelf, decide you don’t want it, and then put it in another section.

Shmiddle – (n) The hole in the center of a bagel. “The cream cheese was oozing out from the shmiddle.”

Snargle (snar’ gul) – v. To lessen the visual impact of a horror movie by filtering it through one’s fingers.

[more here]

After I discovered that book of Sniglets as a kid, I began trying to come up with my own and had a lot of fun doing it. I don’t remember any of the ones I invented back then but I decided I wanted to come up with some today – except I wanted to put a new spin on it. How about Sniglets for Spanish/English bilinguals? Here are a few I thought up.

Sniglets for Latinos

Ranchteza – (ranch-tay-sa – noun) the sadness one feels while listening to classic Mexican Ranchera music that they enjoy but depresses them nonetheless. Example: I love to hear Pedro Infante sing Cu-cu-rru-cu-cú Paloma, but it causes me to feel some major ranchteza.

Bilingaffe – (by-ling-gaff – noun) when a bilingual person unintentionally uses the grammar of their second language when saying something in their native language, resulting in odd speech. Example: The other day when Carlos asked me why I wasn’t eating I said, “It’s that I don’t have hunger” and immediately cracked up laughing because my brain thought “Es que no tengo hambre” but my tongue spoke English – I made a bilingaffe.

Inglespond – (en-glay-spond – verb) when children respond in English even though they’ve been spoken to in Spanish. Example: I asked my daughter “¿Dónde está tu chaqueta?” and she inglesponded, “I left it at school.”

OVNI-plato – (ohv-nee-plah-to – noun) the plate of food one takes home from a party, which usually consists of a styrofoam or paper plate inverted on top of another styrofoam plate and wrapped in foil or plastic wrap. Could contain pastel de tres leches or main dishes such as tamales, carne asada, arroz, & other sides. Example: Hey, Ramón, make sure you bring me home an OVNI-plato from Silvia’s party!

Dulcovery (dools-covery – noun) a piece of candy one finds in the grass, discovered long after the breaking of a piñata. Example: Look at this, dulcovery! I found a Bubu Lubu over by the lilac bush – must be from Estefany’s cumple last week.

Your turn! Leave me some “Sniglets for Latinos” in the comments! Feel free to mix it up – use English and/or Spanish words to come up with your own word!

¡Obama!

The bilingual Latinos For Obama website has launched and I have to say, it’s pretty chévere.

From the slogan/logo:

To some of the merchandise:

To the way President Obama pronounces the word “Latino”:

Es obvio que the Obama campaign knows what gente like.

Identity in a Brown Paper Bag

sack lunch

Image source: Jeffrey Beall

My 13 year old is going on a field trip this week to a museum in DC and because buying food at the museum is cost prohibitive, I’m packing his lunch.

This is new territory for me because under normal circumstances our kids don’t bring a packed lunch – they buy lunch at school. I carry a little guilt about this since my mother usually packed my lunch when I was a kid. In a plastic lunch box or brown paper bag I could expect either a turkey, baloney or peanut butter sandwich, a Hi-C juice box, an apple and/or carrot sticks, some type of snack cake, and once in awhile, a note written on my napkin telling me how loved I am.

This lunch is different from what I pack for Carlos – arroz con albóndigas, tacos, escabeche, galletas María, semita de piña … I can’t pack these things for my 13 year old, can I? Sure, he eats them here at home but – in public? Around gringos? … I think about a story I read on TikiTikiBlog.com about what it’s like to bring “ethnic” food for lunch when your gringo classmates bring “normal” things.

The dreaded grade school lunch trade – when my ethnicity was undeniably made public, with the contents of my lunch making who, and what, I was unmistakable.

I wanted to blend in, to be one with the bologna and mayonnaise sandwich crowd, the chocolate chip cookies, the plastic bottles filled with Sunny-D.

But nothing screamed “Not One of Them” louder than my sliced white goat cheese and Goya guava jelly sandwiches, with a chunk of pineapple thrown on top for extra Latino measure.

Oh the squeals and screams of the other non-Latino children as they recoiled — as if watching a horror movie.

- Alexandra on TikiTikiBlog.com

This is what I don’t want my son to go through – although popular and well-adjusted, he already deals with people asking him if he’s Mexican and if he’s related to George López. And so, while at the grocery store picking items for his lunch, I stood, feeling kind of torn, in the middle of the aisle – a bag of all-American Cracker Jack in one hand, and a bag of plantain chips in the other. He likes both equally. Do I strengthen his identity or allow him to blend in?

Cracker Jack vs. Plantain Chips

I decided I would buy both and let him choose, but I couldn’t wait until I got home to find out which he would take in his lunch. I put the bags into the cart and texted him.

Field trip snack – Cracker jack or plantain chips?

Thirty seconds later, he texted back.

Plantain chips.

I found myself smiling – but does this mean anything? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe it means he’s confident in who he is. Maybe it means I’ve done a good job of instilling Latino pride into my boy. Maybe it means he’s not worried about trying to fit in and refuses to succumb to peer pressure… or maybe it means he’s just in the mood for plantain chips.

I have to say though, he asked if he could pack a semita de piña as well and I won’t pretend I’m not happy about it.

_______________________________

Related Reading:

Trading Lunches
El Lonch-eh Latino

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