Day 11 Catch Up: Spanglish

That last post should have been titled “I was a 90’s teen.”  Oh well.  The Quick and Dirty Blogging Season continues: 9 hours left.

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): Latinos in the Media

I’m not going to do the obvious here, which is talk about Latina/os and stereotypes and how you can’t find a well-represented bilingual character on network TV much less a fully embodied Latinegro/a.  Someone else is probably doing that.

But this topic is interesting to me as a blogger, as someone who is interested in the way digital media and social media create new spaces for interaction–but who is also concerned with the way that language and language systems impact our ability to enter those spaces.  For example, anyone can own a blogger account, but if I’m blogging in Spanish or French and you are blogging in Portuguese and Mandarin, how are we going to even have a conversation much less meet on common ground?  The netroots crew likes to go all CAPS about how digital media is creating a more democratic society and fostering engagement but I’m skeptical about the ability of new media in and of itself to promote healthy debate.  And considering how focused the political debate of late has been on immigration, the Dream Act and other issues related (though not exclusive to) the Latina/os community, we need to find ways to institutionalize truly democratic forums.

Some people already are.  #nowpaging VivirLatino:

VivirLatino is a daily publication, featuring news, analysis and opinions about Latino politics and culture created for the diverse and influential Latino and Latina community in the U.S. by Latinas.

This site was publicly launched on October 12, 2005, Día de la Raza (Día de la Hispanidad) by Blogs Media, a company specializing in nanopublications, blog services and blog consulting. In 2008, publication of the site was taken over by 2 Mujeres Media, a partnership between two of the original editors of the site.

VivirLatino was created for and is written with second and third generation Latinos in the U.S. in mind who, regardless of their country of origin, have shared visions, languages, goals, and struggles that have made them the
one of the most dynamic demographic groups in the country.

VivirLatino covers a broad spectrum of Latino life in the U.S. with editors in two states: Michigan and New York, and one other country, Spain.

The editors of VivirLatino contribute a modern Latino vision. With their own unique voices and a touch of Spanglish, the editors claim their own individual identities, while recognizing and reaffirming, without exclusions, the multitude of cultures, aspirations, and dreams that exist within the larger community.

VivirLatino is the debut blog for Blogs Media.

The activists, artists, investigative journalists, bloggers, bad mamis and insurgent Latina/os over at Vivir Latino have consistently pushed the envelope as far as cross-cultural political interaction.  They blog, they live-tweet, they podcast, they ‘zine and they do it on the web and in the #realworld.  Most recently, they live-tweeted coverage of the Chilean miner rescue efforts–but they were also some of the only people on the web to keep the issue alive.  They blogged the Dream Act/Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell debacle and continue to remind us of the families torn apart by forced deportations–especially the violence against women and girls in the detention camps.  And they do it in English and Spanish, asking, requesting, imploring us to engage in whatever way possible without condemnation or judgement.  They are meeting you-us-whoever where they are.

Check them out.  And let’s try to create more spaces that do what they do.  That whole You-Aren’t-Latina/o-Unless-You-Speak-Spanish rap is bullshit.  We don’t have time for that kind of divisive behavior.  We need to talk, talk honestly and talk in sign language if need be.  Just get in the debate.


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