One dark and stormy night, @Latinegro founded the 30 Day Latino Blog Challenge. He scheduled it to coincide with Latino/a and Latin American Heritage Month (I hate the word Hispanic) which began today and ends October 15th. And, hospitable fellow that he is, he’s invited any Latino blogger to join in.
Since I can count on one hand the number of fellow Afrolatina bloggers I know, I think I’ll take the plunge. After all, I haven’t written a post specific to Latina or Afrolatina issues for awhile now.
For 30 days and nights, I owe the interwebs at least two paragraphs on the topic o’ the day. To follow along (or backtrack) click the tag “latina/o heritiage month.” Today’s topic(s): Favorite Spanish food & What Latino Blog I recommend
Favorite Spanish Food:
Like most Puerto Rican grandmothers, Nuñez Abuela is famous for her cooking. Back in the day & once upon a time, my now adult cousin (@lcm1986) played Little League. Once a year, during the summer, and around his birthday, the parents of the players would get together in Horner Park in Chicago and have a huge barbecue. This being baseball (hell, this being Chee-ca-go) the majority of the players were of Latino descent, Mexican and Puerto Rican especially. That meant a whole lot of goodness got thrown down on these picnic tables: arroz con gandules, pernil, arroz con pollo, platanos (maduros, please), potato salad, macaroni and cheese, ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs….and somewhere in there a salad or two (lechuga, tomate, and cucumber with some aceite, salt and vinegar to dress).
Every year, Nuñez Abuela would make two or three huge trays of arroz con gandules for the picnic. Succulent, warm, with a rich, savory flavor that just burst all over your tongue. It was a meal in and of itself–but of course you had to have it with some pernil and platanos. And you were lucky if there was any left by the end of the day. People would ask months. in. advance. about Abuela’s arroz. So that when @lcm1986 got too old to play, people would still come around and ask my aunt to get some of Abuela’s arroz for this or that wedding, bar mitzvah, birthday party, christening, funeral…anywhere that families and friends were gathering and celebrating life, Abuela’s arroz would be there too.
Abuela has stopped making it so often. She is older now and the various fêtes over the years have served their purpose–children are now adults, adults are now married, babies are baptized and loved ones have passed on to the tune of her cooking. But whenever I come back into town, even on short notice, I am guaranteed to visit her and smell her arroz cooking on the stove. As though I never left. And whenever I leave to head back across the country, around the world, wherever my travels are destined to drag me, it is always with a covered Tupperware, sometimes still warm from the stove, filled to the brim with arroz. A little bit of home to carry with me and a reminder of a love waiting for me to return.
What Latino Blog I Recommend:
I know, I know. Since I am participating in @Latinegro’s blog challenge I should nominate him. I’ll just let that go as a matter of course–because you should go visit his blog, Inside My Head. The man is an artist in the best sense of the word: a writer & a poet, a social media architect who has held down and continues to hold down afrolatinidad and Latism(o) on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, helping to create a blogeando community over the years.
But sicin’ him up is just too easy (sorry :). And having to choose between the other blogs I love is really hard. But I’m going to recommend a blog by a blogger who blew me away and continues to blow me away since I first embarked on the digital publishing scene in 2007:
I first ran into BFP (brownfemipower) on her blog “Woman of Color.” I’ve always been attracted to digital media as a way to express ideas, to write and to engage with the world. I was on AOL Chat (the pre-Twitter) and LiveJournal (the pre-WordPress) before they became cool, joined Facebook when it was still restricted to 12 colleges and universities, experimented with creating websites that might capture the futuristic fantasy novel landscapes in my brain in grammar school.
But I wasn’t sure about blogging. It felt too public, too exposed. The commenting platform was terrifying–the idea that not only was I putting rough (in my opinion) material out in the world for all to see but that people might actually talk about how rough I was just struck a real nerve in my insecure, future-Octavia Butler heart. Like most writers, I wanted my voice out there, I wanted to be heard. But like most writers, I grew manic at the idea that “they” would hate me, condemn me and stick me in a box. Then burn it/drown it/[insert worst torture ever here].
Then I ran across Woman of Color Blog and fell in love. Here was a blog that did everything I wanted to do–theorized race, gender and sexual identity in deep, intense and informed ways, offered information to a world that needed to see woman of color intellectual production, introduced readers to Lourde, Anzaldúa and Moraga by redistributing their work along the interwebs and circumventing censors, firewalls, $$-walls and the false distance Ivory Tower academe had created between them and the women they represented (illegal #machetebehavior to be sure).
I bought This Bridge Called My Back that year because bfp spoke so much about it and it is now on the short list of books that have quite literally changed my life. And when I bought two more copies (one for each of my sisters) I discovered that it, like so much work by Third Wave and Third World feminists of the 70s, 80s and 90s, is now defunct. Out of print. Unpublished. “Protected” by the firewall of the Archive. Which made me furious and delirious and grateful to bfp and the other Radical Woman of Color bloggers for their intercession.
Through her blog, I met Suky, @profsurro,@hermanaresist, @mamitamala and others…and I watched the blogosphere explode with corporate backing, watched white privilege force what was already a palenque of radical, queer, black and brown feminists writers defending themselves in a swampland of trolls & detractors sharpen the palisade, forge machetes through mother wit and defend their very existence against so-called liberal, “professional,” white feminist writers, thinkers and activists. This digital Second Wave backlash and upheaval that didn’t quite Katrina the RWOC blogosphere…but for a long time things went very quiet. I watched them step back, self-care, lick wounds. At the center of the storm was the Woman of Color Blog and I watched it disappear, reappear, and disappear again–this time for good.
But bfp did not stay away long. After a brief Twitter presence, she returned flip flopping for joy. It’s a blog that I won’t try to characterize. It does everything. Brown issues, immigration in particular, have a special place but so does alternative healing & radical medicine (see the (re)thinking walking series). The occasional 80’s YouTube video is interspersed with biting commentary on classist critiques of Rhianna and Eminem. It is a space that I can always go to and feel accepted without betraying any part of my identity–not my color, my ethnicity, my race, my urbanity, my sexuality, my fantasy and sci-fi tendencies, my anger at violence against women, my optimist and futurist dreams for a better world.
And to the woman of color who has withstood bloodier & messier internet wars and swarms than I hope to ever know: Happy Brown Party Month, mujer.
arriba, abajo, afuera y adentro