From Hispanic Heritage Month to Hateful Halloween

As a Latina mami, I think I hate September through November more than any other time of the year. Hispanic Heritage Month, Columbus Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving provide way more damn teaching moments than I care to experience and the worst part of it is that I’m not teaching my children, but rather those charged with educating them, why certain things are just plain old fucked up.

So far, with la Mapu, my older daughter, in a new school, I haven’t had to send notes to her teacher or make copies of articles, as I have done in the past, about why it’s wrong to teach what a great guy Columbus was. For Latino Heritage Month, she wrote about Chile and it’s U.S. sponsored 9-11-73 military coup and was praised. I was pleased to hear that there was an actual discussion of how the conquistadors contributed to what amounted to Native American genocide. There was discussion not of the contributions the Europeans brought to the not so new world but rather of the diseases they brought.

Now comes Halloween. Now I love Halloween. It’s always been one of my favorite holidays. With a long family history of good relationships with muertos, it was more about dressing up in fanciful costumes, begging for candy, and decorating the house with carved pumpkins. I don’t ever remember thinking that it was ok for me to dress up as an “Indian Princess”, a stereotypical Mexican (or a Puerto Rican for that matter), and sure it sure as hell wasn’t ok for me to dress up as an “illegal alien”. I was a smurf, a vampire, a poodle skirted 1950′s girl, and a devil. I even wanted to be he-man one year because I was obsessed with He-Man pero that’s another post. My kids have been cats, hot dogs, turtles, pirates, dead punk zombies, mimes, dinosaurs, skeletons and ghosts. As if the racist costumes that have me pretty much boycotting most Halloween shops wasn’t enough, there’s a lack of appropriate tween girl costumes. My 12 year and I, thanks to my mom, have put together a pretty awesome costume but that came after hours of being disgusted by having to treat my daughter like a baby or a slut.

And then it’s only a hop, skip and a jump to thanks for nothing day or as I always used to hear Tiokasin Ghosthorse on WBAI say, “There goes the neighborhood day”.

Post to Twitter

7 comments on “From Hispanic Heritage Month to Hateful Halloween
  1. Pretty cool that your daughter was able to share her report in class. Not many teachers would have been open to that. As far as appropriate costumes for children, I have noticed this trend as well. Doesn’t it go beyond the costumes though? Some of the outfits I see “tween” girls wearing are quite provocative. It’s a definite trend I think parents need to pay attention to.

  2. Will Hispanics ever stop crying. If we put as much energy in producing something positive then we might just get somewhere. By the way sweetie pie, the Illegal Alien costume is funny, not racist.. Stop spending you time being offended. The entire country should be offended that millions of people jump a wall just so they can shit all over the country and its culture.. Oh, I forgot they are all good people just here to work. If you don’t like it , there are plenty of countries where ALL THE PEOPLE ARE HISPANIC and there are no Whities…. Of course you don’t want to live there, because then you wouldn’t have anyone to live off of and then complain about… Wake up woman. You make out people look even more ignorant than they already are.

  3. I actually have been really pleasantly surprised with how my daughter’s school has been dealing with many history lessons. Yeah well I used to wear some pretty provocative outfits as a teen so I won’t say too much about that, ja ja. Pero in some ways I agree but generally I like for kids to be able to choose their own clothes (within reason)

  4. Roberto, you are an example of somebody who has internalized all of the racist rhetoric aimed at Latinos. If you just keep your mouth shut, remain ignorant about the historical and economic forces that have pushed millions of Mexicans and other Latin Americans north to survive, laugh at the racist costumes that dehumanize people and call them alien as if they are from another universe and not even human, then maybe you will be accepted. Get real. Nobody respects a doormat.

    And Latinos are not degrading anybody’s culture. Many aspects of American culture have Spanish and Mexican roots. For instance, the original cowboys were Mexican. The Anglo settlers to Texas in the early/mid 19th century picked up cowboy culture. Words such as “rodeo” and “lasso” are Spanish and the word “chili” is Nahuatl (a native Mexican language).

    Much of the food we eat is native to Mexico and other parts of Latin America: corn, pumpkin, turkey, chocolate, vanilla, potatoes, avocados, squash and tomatoes–all first cultivated thousands of years ago by the ancestors of the people who are now called “alien” on their own hemisphere by ignorant racists whose ancestors crossed an ocean a few hundred years ago, if even that.

    And we have contributed to the sciences, most recently when two American astronauts of Mexican descent rode on the space shuttle this past summer (2009)– Jose Hernandez and Daniel Olivas. Of course that wasn’t shown on CNN.

    Our American roots run very deep and I am sorry that nobody has taught you that.

  5. Pingback: 5 Multicultural Sites Everyone Can Enjoy | Technicultr

Comments are closed.