Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Si Spika da Inglish

When having a “funny accent” can get you deported it's no laughing matter

Since Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney defended himself by asking whether he should check the immigration status of anyone speaking with a “funny accent,” I’ve been taking my passport with me whenever I go out, even to the bodega around the corner.See, I’m one of those American citizens who speaks with a “funny accent.” No, I didn’t grow up in Brooklyn, New Orleans or Dallas. Although people from those places, and many others, do speak with an accent, it’s never called “funny.”

Read full NY Daily News column

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Let my people vote!

The anti-immigration hysteria is keeping 17 million Latino voters hostage. We're caught in a one-issue steel cage we need to get out of so we can address other issues affecting our community. Read my NY Daily News column of November 7, 2007, Let my people go!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Machismo vs. Manliness

Many men--and, sadly, quite a few women--are confused as to what makes a man, a man.
Read my VIVA/NY Daily News column on the misguided efforts to bring back a "new machismo"--including comments on the new book "Huevos y la Mujer Latina: The De-masculization of the Macho" by Julian Camacho Segura.

I am my brother's sweeper

Owning a home in New York City is no piece of cake. Local laws make homeowners responsible for garbage people drop on their sidewalks.
Read my oped piece in the NY Daily News.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Who's más American?

My jaw dropped down to my navel when I heard the woman from Tennessee say, “The only immigrants who’ve become real Americans are those who arrived through Ellis Island.”
She was a caller at one of those public affairs talk shows on cable television. She sounded quite agitated. “Everyone else is illegal!” she screamed and then hung up.
Well, I imagine that it’s quite possible that there may be people in Tennessee and other such places who still don’t know that the airplane has been invented. Otherwise, they’d know that in the last 50 years way more immigrants have arrived through Kennedy, LAX and Miami international airports than the paltry 12 million that came through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954. And definitely, their mode of transportation and port of entry doesn’t make them and their descendants less American.
Read the full column at the New York Daily News.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Quinceañeras Gone Wild

What used to be a traditional Latino "rite of passage" has turned into what one of the teenagers interviewed by Julia Álvarez for her fascinating new book, "Once Upon a Quinceañera-Coming of Age in the USA," calls, in a marvelous example of insightful misspelling, "a right of passage."
No longer a simple affair for family and a handful of friends, quinceañera parties have become as big and expensive as a keeping-up-with-the-Perezes wedding — minus the groom.

Read my Daily News column of August 8 on the subject.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Simpaticos No More?

Because of history and geography and because we have more things in common that things that separate us, Americans and Latinos have been amigos for ages. Now we are not so sure.

The overheated, hateful, anti-Hispanic rhetoric fouling the air around the public debate about immigration reform has left a bad taste in the mouth for millions of Latinos who no longer feel welcome in El Norte. And I'm not talking about undocumented Latinos who've seen their hopes of legalization dashed in a hail of misunderstanding and xenophobia. I'm talking about long-established American citizens and documented residents. . .

Read my full column on the subject published in the New York Daily News July 11, 2007.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

To Bee or Not To Bee

Bees are disappearing by the billions. Who will tackle all that pollinating American bees can't or don't want to do? Are we condemned to a world without flowers and fruits? Will the country fall prey to the Colombian gladiola cartel, be driven into foreign fruit dependency, international honey laundering schemes, wax contraband and artificial pollination?

Read all about it in my NY Daily News column, Where the Bees Are

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Reggaeton Lyrics Demean Women

Since the Don Imus debacle, rap and hip hop have been under the magnifying glass for dissing women. Latinos should also do some soul searching about the vulgar, violent thugish reggaeton lyrics. Women have had it with this kind of language. Check out my Daily News column on the subject.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Alberto Gonzales and the Latino PMG Syndrome

Why have most of the major Latino organizations remained silent about Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' woes? They're suffering from PMGS (Pero es Mi Gente Syndrome).

Check out my recent New York Daily News column on the subject: Vaya con Dios, Alberto Gonzalez.

Monday, March 19, 2007

El corrido de Alberto Gonzalez

El corrido (ballad) is a Mexican folk genre, part oral history, part cultural myth. It was a sure thing that sooner rather than later, the saga of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez would become the stuff corridos are made of. And here it is: a new corrido, to be moaned rather than sung. Ay.

El corrido de Alberto Gonzalez
By Lola la bloguera
Poor Alberto Gonzalez made his camino all the way to the top
His father was un borracho but his mama was requete wise
Al graduated from Harvard, was a Texas Supreme and knew about big planes
But then poor Alberto Gonzalez hitched his wagon to a poisonous bush
And although he made the White House and became the country's A.G.
his jefe, el patron The Decider kept him on a very short leash
Now the big caca has hit all the fans and Al gets kicked in el tush
The serious hombre de San Anton gets thrown to the lobos
all because he hitched his wagon to a poisonous bush
Ay ay ay, adios Al Gonzalez you'll go back to las siembras tejanas
Aunque republicano, once we were proud of you for all that you achieved
but it now seems you were too brown-nosed even for the White House
y ahora pronto to esperan potatos, tomatos and chiles picantes
but Lola just wonders what would Molly Ivins have said about all this
Ay, ay, ay. . .

Sick and tired of immigrant bashing

I don't know about you, but my bilirrubina gets sky high every time I see the same TV news clips showing people jumping over border fences over and over again. (I swear I've seen that guy in the red shirt jump over about 150 times.) The current anti-immigrant paranoia affects all Latinos -- even if you are an American citizen who's been here forever. But the nativist rantings of so many is nothing new in American history. At one point or another, almost every immigrant group, from Germans and Irish to Chinese and Japanese, have suffered the slings and arrows of bigots and ignoramuses. Check out Same Old Song, a fascinating article on nativism by Daniel Tichenor in The Nation magazine.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Ask a Mexican Answers

Gustavo Arellano reacts to my machismo comment (see Ask a Mexican post below) by sending this link to a column he did on the subject a while back.
Soon I'll be blogging on the subject of Latino comedians' penchant for vulgar and sexist humor--not to mention stereotyping our own gente. Not funny, amigos...

The Trouble With Diversity

Are we being fooled by the illusion of "diversification"? A few weeks ago, I saw Walter Benn Michaels discussing his book, The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality, in C-SPAN's BookTV, and something he said caught my attention. He said, more or less, that diversification of the elite doesn't change anything if all it means is "people of different colors saying the same thing."
Michaels writes in The HuffingtonPost: "Diversity is useful. But what it's mainly useful for is selling people a bill of goods, the main one being the idea that as America becomes an increasingly unequal society, everything will be OK if all the rich people -- like the stars of TV shows and the executives on Madison Ave -- come in the right colors. Right now America leads the developed world in income inequality and the top 1% of American families is richer than the bottom 90% -- would those facts be less disturbing if the 1% were black and brown as well as white and yellow?" But Slate Magazine's Alan Wolfe takes issue with Michaels propositions in his article, "Should We Shut Up About Diversity?" .
What do you think?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ask a Mexican

Gustavo Arellano tries to explain Mexicans to gabachos in his weekly Ask a Mexican column in the Orange County Weekly. His answers to readers' letters are witty, outrageous, clever and quite intelligent most of the time, but too often his machismo rears its ugly head and ruins the whole thing. A book of his columns is coming out May 1 (Ask a Mexican, Simon & Schuster, $20 hardcover).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fear of Foreign Tongues

Xenoglossophobia—fear of foreign languages—is a communicable, but curable, disease.

“Speak American! You’re in America now.” I’ve heard this more than once from total strangers who’ve heard me speak in Spanish to someone else.

The first time it happened, the rudeness and ignorance of such a statement left me speechless. I didn’t know what to say, but by the second time, I had my comeback ready: “Do you mean Navajo? Dakota? Choctaw? Nahualt? Sorry. Wish I could, but I only know two European languages: English and Spanish.” That always leaves them speechless. read full column, titled "Speaking in Tongues," go to the New York Daily News website.

UPDATE: Sheila Donnelly writes on this subject in the Austin Daily Herald. Douglas Bower, an American living in Mexico talks about how American "expatriates" (they never call themselves "immigrants when living abroad) don't want to learn Spanish. Go to ezinearticles to read his column.

Dolores dice

Latin-style tongue-in-cheek advise for the lovelorn, the forlorn and the just torn. From Latina magazine.
Dolores dice June/July 2007
Dolores dice May 2007
Dolores dice April 2007
Dolores dice March 2007

Dolores dice February 2007
Dolores dice Dec. 06/Jan. 07

Monday, March 12, 2007

Do Latina Blondes Have More Fun?

Belen Aranda Alvarado, a dark-haired Latina, reaches for the bleach as an experiment in ethnic identity. Published in The Washington Post Magazine, Sunday, March 11, 2007.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Pimp My Wallet

A trillion dollars.
That's what Latino purchasing power, currently at $700 billion, will be in about three more years. That's a lot of dinero to spend and businesses, big and small, are bending over backward to sell us stuff - sometimes our very own stuff, chewed on, regurgitated and repackaged to catch our eye.
From dulce de leche ice cream to piña colada toothpaste to sangría eye shadow and tropical fruit laundry detergent, we're bombarded with products that are familiar, semi-familiar or just plain make-believe familiar. read my full column, go to the
New York Daily News website.