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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Judge Mathis Exhorts Latino Pride


I never understood it, and hopefully, someone reading this can enlightened me. Every American, with the exception of the Native American, has original roots in other parts of the world. And as I mature, I have developed a lot of respect for many cultures, especially the folk music, be it European, Latin-American, African or Asian. What I do not understand is why so many Americans want to downplay their roots.

I was watching the Judge Mathis show the other day, and a Latino defendant, obviously born and raised in the United States, took it upon himself to explain his inability to speak Spanish, and even attempted to verbally camouflage his Latino heritage. Judge Mathis asked him if he is Latino, and the defendant gave a fuzzy answer. Judge Mathis began to comment on how so many Latinos he's met (not all, of course, certainly not all) try to keep their Latino heritage on the down low. Mathis felt that if his family speaks Spanish he should want to learn to speak Spanish himself, and if his heritage is Latino, stop trying to cover it up. STAND UP and BE PROUD, he proclaimed! I shouted, THANK YOU, JUDGE MATHIS, because I often noticed the same thing among quite a few Latinos as pointed in my blog post, Is it Shameful to be Latino?.

I once had a supervisor from Chile who was so proud that he did not allow people to mispronounce his last name. He insisted on the Spanish pronunciation of, Cabello (Cah-bay-yo), and not the Anglicized pronunciation that we Americans tend to practice. One of my favorite TV newscasters was Rigo Chacón who also proudly emphasized the Spanish pronunciation of his name on the air. As a proud African-American, knowledgeable of my history and the positive contributions that Africans and African-Americans contributed, I have similar admiration for Latino cultures, especially after having grown up close to New York's Spanish Harlem and having traveled to nine Spanish-speaking countries. My being a music lover has brought me even closer to Latin-American cultures and garnering more of my respect.

A co-worker of mine at my weekend job is a US Army veteran from New York's lower East side, an area heavily populated by Puerto Ricans. However, he is adamant about keeping his heritage on the down low and even interrupted a Spanish-speaking conversation I was having with a worker from Nicaragua in an attempt to switch our conversation to English. He feels this is America and we should be speaking English. I don't think he realizes that Spanish was spoken right here in the United States of America long before the Declaration of Independence was even signed and is still with us today with a stronger presence as ever before..