An Encounter with Anti-Latino Racism

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CNN.com has a great article up today titled, “My Encounter with anti-Latino Racism“. The author, Nick Valencia, shares one specific racist experience he had at a concert and how that caused him to think through his own identity. He has great insights into the “in-betweenness” that bi-cultural Americans experience:

Like many Americans whose grandparents or parents came here from somewhere else, I live at the intersection of my two cultures. I eat tacos, but I love cheeseburgers. I go salsa dancing, and listen to rock n’ roll. I speak Spanish and English, and depending on the crowd, sometimes Spanglish. I love my country and my cultural community. My duality is my reality, just like the 50 million other Latinos in the United States.

Nick Valencia’s personal story is particularly powerful when thinking through the positives and negatives that come with a bi-cultural identity:

My Mexican friends remind me that I am American first, Mexican second and that my English is better than my Spanish.

“Yes,” I tell them. “But I can never walk into a room and be white.”

For many minorities their experience in the U.S. can be that of feeling like a foreigner in their own country. I pray that Destino and the Church will not be places that perpetuate that feeling for Latinos. I want when they walk into the room that Destino feels like coming Home.

Read the entire article here: My Encounter with anti-Latino Racism

photo courtesy: mvjantzen

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Posted on September 29, 2011

About destinoeric

A white guy who believes Latinos will change the world, Destinoeric served with Destino from 2008-2013. You can read more of his posts here or on twitter.

6 Responses to An Encounter with Anti-Latino Racism

  1. destinoovalle says:

    what would it take for the church and Destino to be places where it feels like Home for Latinos?

    • destinoovalle says:

      BTW I love that attitude 

    • destinoeric says:

      Ovalle,

      I think the first word that comes to mind is SAFETY. Destino/Church would need to be a place where Latinos felt safe to be themselves. Safe to see the world differently. Safe to live out Christianity in a unique way that was different from the majority culture. 

      I think Destino/Church would need to be a place that spoke to their realities. It’s so cliche to talk about relevance, but until we can get beyond playing a Spanish song periodically (if ever) and contextualizing the core values, I don’t think we’ll be a place that feels like home.

      What are your thoughts?

      • destinoovalle says:

        Yes I see how safety can make a big difference. As far a relevance I think we need to be a movement that goes beyond contextualizing at the tip of the iceberg to having the values at the bottom of the iceberg be lived out…

        • destinoeric says:

          I agree completely.

          What would some of those “bottom of the iceberg” values be? And how could we live them out?

          • destinoovalle says:

            Eric, I have identified a couple of values but I am not sure how to contextualize for them or how far is too far in contextualization. Mainly, I’m afraid not all cultural values are good ..