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”.