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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Getting Hitched, Trek-Mex Style

Elicia Sanchez did not want her wedding to be another boring event where people sit around and hear the same old speeches about people being so in love… blah blah blah. So she combined two important influences in her life: her Mexican heritage and Star Trek. Elicia would be having a Trek-Mex wedding. Enter Worf masks, bat’leths, tacos and mariachi music.

Featured image via Elicia Sanchez

The Multiple Personalities of Multilingual People?

Some linguists hypothesize that multilingual people can change their personalities when they switch languages. Former Latino USA producers Camilo Vargas and Brenda Salinas discuss how growing up bilingual has altered their personalities. Camilo learned English at a bilingual school in his native Colombia and his consumption of American media affected the personality he takes when he speaks English. Brenda immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico at the age of 6. Growing up in Texas, having light skin meant that she could pass as white, as long as she spoke English.

Latinos on the Reservation: In Pictures

For this week’s Latino USA, we profile the Mexican and Native American communities who live together on the Yakama Nation, a Native American reservation in Eastern Washington.

The Yakama people are heavily outnumbered by Latinos on the reservation, who settled here over recent decades because the region’s robust agricultural industry. Maria Hinojosa and Latino USA producer Marlon Bishop spent about a week on the reservation, with local reporter Rowan Moore Gerety of Northwest Public Radio. During our time there, we witnessed two communities often in conflict with one another, despite shared indigenous roots. There were conflicts over tribal taxes and tribal laws, over the perception of “special concessions” for Spanish speakers and often, over nothing at all except old-fashioned racism. But we also witnessed communities that are learning to live with one another, who are borrowing from each other’s cultures, and who starting families together. Below, are some images we captured during our time there.

All photos by Marlon Bishop

Growing Up Latino and Scared

Latino USA producers Daisy Rosario and Fernanda Echávarri, along with intern Janice Llamoca, talk with Maria about growing up and being surrounded by ghost stories, santería saints and a fear of ouija boards. They also talk about how scary stories can be used as parenting tools in Latino households.

Featured image via Alvesgaspar/Wikimedia Commons

La Llorona as Feminist Icon

La Llorona, the wailing woman, is a Mexican folktale that has haunted children for centuries. In recent decades, Chicana writers have revised the myth of La Llorona with a feminist perspective. Professor Theresa Delgadillo walks us through five centuries of la Llorona from La Malinche to Kill Bill.

Featured image of La Llorona performance in Coyoacán, Mexico. Sandrajd01/Wikimedia Commons

Josefina López Is Not Afraid of Spirits

Josefina López, a Chicana playwright in Los Angeles, believes there are ghosts all around us. A sensitivity to the supernatural has been passed down from her mother, who loved to tell ghost stories. Today Josefina teaches her own sons about how to deal with the strange presences in their lives. Her advice? Get angry, not scared.

Featured image: Josefina López via Hispanic Lifestyle/Wikimedia Commons

The Great Voodoo War of 1976

People often ask writer Michele Carlo if growing up in The Bronx in the 1970s was scary. Sometimes it was, but probably in a way you wouldn’t expect. Author of Fish Out of Agua and frequent storyteller with The Moth, Michele Carlo brings us another funny, true-life story. You’ve heard Michele on Latino USA before. We featured her story, The Return of the Queen, for a Christmas episode. And as we get ready for Halloween and El Día de los Muertos, Michele brings us this story of being stuck in the middle of what she calls the “Latino Hatfields and McCoys.”

Featured image by John Fekner, donated to Wikimedia Commons

Sandra Cisneros Dreams of Ghosts

Sandra Cisneros, author of A House of My Own, tells us about the time she learned she’s in touch with the spirit world.

Featured image, ©2013 Alan Goldfarb, via

Fire, Vengeance and Grandma

Two days after poet Tommy Pico’s Grandma Rita passed away, one of the largest wildfires in California’s history engulfed San Diego County. And in the blaze, family secrets are revealed. A true tale of love, betrayal and supernatural vengeance from the Kumeyaay nation.

Beware the Witch-Owl, La Lechuza

Many Latinos grew up listening to the story of La Llorona, but a lesser-known story is that of La Lechuza—the witch who, through magic, can turn herself into giant white owls. But in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, La Lechuza is a well-known warning for the inebriated. According to one version of the legend by children’s book author Xavier Garza, La Lechuza is the ghost of a mother whose children were killed by a drunk driver. Ever since then, she haunts bar districts preying on the drunk. Reporter Reynaldo Leanos, Jr. grew up in the Rio Grande Valley and wanted to find out more about where this strange tale comes from.

Featured image by Xavier Garza

#1544 – Ghost Stories

This week Latino USA gets spooky. We share new ghost stories and talk about the history behind classic scary icons, like La Llorona and La Lechuza.

Featured image: Victor Cajiao/Flickr

Music from Latino USA’s ‘Diversity in Geekdom’

This week’s music playlist for our “Diversity in Geekdom” show has it all: from video game theme songs to Run-DMC. Check it out below and don’t forget to follow our Spotify page as well.

And if you haven’t listened to the full podcast yet, here is the episode.

#1540 – Diversity in Geekdom

Daisy Rosario guest hosts this special hour about diversity in geekdom: from comic books to video games to cosplay. We even hear from special guests, including DMC of Run-DMC and our own listeners.

Featured image by Antonia Cereijido, Latino USA

Diversity in Geekdom: Video Games

Video games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto 5 have made headlines in the last few years, thanks to record-breaking sales. Those sales exist because video games are hugely popular. About 185 million people in the United States play video games.

It’s no secret that people of all backgrounds play video games, but it’s hard to tell that from the lack of diversity among playable characters.

According to a study published in the journal “New Media and Society” in 2009, only 3% of all video games characters can be identified as Latino. And of that 3%, only 5% are characters you can use to play.

In this segment, Daisy Rosario speaks with three people who love video games but would like to see things change: Mary Lordes, a writer at Upright Citizens Brigade and former co-host of the video game podcast Unlimited Lives; David Brothers, a former journalist who works at Image Comics; and Vander Caballero, the creative director of Minority Media.


Diversity in Geekdom: Comic Books

There’s a really interesting conversation happening about comic books and diversity. And it’s largely happening online.

Daisy Rosario takes us to Special Edition NYC, a comic book convention, to talk to fans and creators and bring you an overview of just how the conversation is shaping up. First, we meet some fans. Then we talk to David Marquez, the artist who draws Miles Morales, aka Ultimate Spider-Man. He took over from original artist Sara Pichelli. Later, we meet Rachel Edidin, former comic book editor for Dark Horse Comics. In addition, we spoke with writer David Brothers. He currently works with Image Comics.

The cover photo for this piece is the front cover of the first Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-man, illustrated by David Marquez.


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