In chat rooms and Tumblrs across the Internet, new words have started to sprout up. Latin@, Latinx, Chicanx and amig@ have sparked a lot of debate online about a fundamental aspect of the Spanish language: gender. In Spanish, words have gender, like in the case of Latino vs. Latina. Studies suggest that gendered language can reinforce gender stereotypes and some people are pushing back and advocating for a more gender-neutral language.
For the second part of a two-part series on how Latinos have influenced hip-hop, Latino USA producers Daisy Rosario and Marlon Bishop explore what happens when rap music becomes big business. We hear from Spanglish rap pioneer Mellow Man Ace, chat with radio personalities Bobbito Garcia and Cipha Sounds, find out about how DJ Laz put his spin on Miami bass, and we pay tribute to the legendary Big Pun.
Photo collage by Antonia Cereijido, Latino USA
This week it’s all about pushing it. From hunger strikers pushing their bodies to the limit to fight for their rights to musicians Calle 13, who have pushed beyond a jokester past to test new boundaries. We also hear from Former US Labor Secretary Hilda Solis as she runs for a new office in Los Angeles. And we hear what happens when people push the wrong buttons while flirting by making the compliments all about ethnicity. We look to Chile to find out what happens when abortion is illegal under any circumstance. And finally, we hear from a young man who is a Special Olympics athlete.
Photo by Jean Pierre Clatot AFP/Getty Images
Growing up can be an emotional rollercoaster. Where do Latino youth caught up between culture and universal challenges to emotional well-being go for support? We hear from three young Latinos and how they cope with anxiety, depression, peer pressure and relationships. We also speak to Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, a professor and founding director of the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities.
Image courtesy of Nicole Plata.
Andrew Stelzer, Pauline Bartolone, and Jon Kalish contributed to this report.
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View our panel featuring these guests and more resources.
Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola is a Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine, the Founding Director of the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities (CRHD), the Director of the Community Engagement Program of the UC Davis Clinical Translational Science Center (CTSC), and Co-Director of the National Institute of Aging (NIA) funded Latino Aging Research and Resource Center (LARRC).
Claudia Mendez is a 22 years old student at San Francisco State University. She was born and raised in the Mission District of San Francisco, CA, and was placed in foster care at the age of 16 because of family abuse. After realizing that there were many gaps in the foster care system, Claudia decided that she wanted to be an advocate for her community and help change different systems to better the lives of other young people. She is proudly a San Francisco State University Guardian Scholar pursuing a Bachelors degree in Comparative World Literature and plans to attend law school to become a dependency lawyer. She is also a member of Honoring Emancipated Youth and trainer at Transitional Youth Initiative. Besides school, some of Claudia’s hobbies are photography, soccer with friends and family, and scrapbooking.
Nikko Reynoso is a Chicano trans* activist committed to social justice, gender equity, and anti-racist advocacy. From East Side San Jose, he speaks on issues relating to the intersections of identity, including sexuality, race, gender, and class. He is also a 3rd year UC Davis student studying Women and Gender studies, Chicana/o studies and Sociology.
Nicole Plata is the Youth Initiatives Coordinator for the Mental Health Association of San Francisco. She is a passionate and uncompromising advocate for Transitional Aged Youth (TAY) in the mental health system. Her passion is rooted in her own experience with trauma and is inspired by the investment of her mentors and her faith in God.
She is a native of East Side San Jose, and identifies as a Mixed-Race Latina of Panamanian and Puerto Rican descent. Having overcome a variety of challenges in her youth, from abuse and community violence to involvement in the criminal justice system and a traumatic brain surgery, Nicole offers a well-informed perspective to those she works with. She seeks to use her perspective and experience to advocate and inform services for the diverse youth of California. She does this through her work for the Mental Health Association of San Francisco and her involvement on various Transition Age Youth advocacy groups within San Francisco County and statewide. In her free time, Nicole is an artist and muralist who loves to awaken her roots through salsa dancing.
Is Jorge Bergoglio, aka Pope Francis, Latino? Does it matter? Why did Bruno Mars drop his Puerto Rican father’s surname? And who is the new Obama staffer Miguel Rodriguez? Latino USA guest host Felix Contreras gets the answers in conversation with Victor Landa, editor of the site News Taco.
Victor Landa is the founder and editor of NewsTaco, a website that provides news, analysis and critique from a Latino perspective. He worked as a writer and editor for 30 years, mostly with Telemundo and Univisión. Landa also contributed to the San Antonio Express-News, and he is an adviser on media strategy, message crafting, storytelling and public speaking.
Enrollment for Chicano Studies at San Diego State University is down. Meanwhile, a federal judge ordered Arizona’s Tucson School District to re-implement culturally relevant courses. So where do ethnic studies really stand in the U.S? Latino USA guest host Felix Contreras speaks to Alex Saragoza, professor of History at the Department of Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of California at Berkeley.
Alex M. Saragoza is a professor of Chicano/Latino Studies at University of California, Berkeley’s Ethnic Studies Department. His research involves the racialization and inequity in Latin America, especially in Mexico and Cuba, and their intersections with immigration to the USA. He holds a PhD in Latin American History from the University of California, San Diego.
Filling out the census can be a bit confusing for those who don’t always identify with the limited options on race or ethnicity. But for the first time, the Census Bureau is considering adding “Hispanic” and “Latino” as a race category. We speak to Angelo Falcon, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy, to see if these changes would help gather more accurate information about Latinos.[audio:http://latinousa.org/audio/1237seg05.mp3]
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Angelo Falcon is President and Co-Founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP). Falcón has been able to combine academic and policy research with an aggressive advocacy style based on broad coalition-building and community organizing. He has become one of the longest-serving chief executives of a Latino non-profit in the country.
As presidential elections approach, once again the state of the Latino vote gets discussed. While the Latino population keeps increasing, many are non-citizens, very young and in parts of the country that are not contested. So to what extent does it really matter to mobilize Latino voters in November? We speak to Ray Suarez, host of the PBS News Hour, and to Antonio Gonzalez, executive director of the William C. Velasquez Institute, to get a sense of the figures and the strategies.
Antonio Gonzalez is President of the William C. Velasquez Institute. WCVI, founded in 1985, is a paramount national Latino public policy and research organization.Gonzalez assumed the presidency of WCVI in 1994, after working in various capacities for WCVI founding President Willie Velasquez as well as his successor Andrew Hernandez during 1984-94. He assumed the presidency of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, a non-partisan voter mobilization entity, in 1994.
Ray Suarez joined The NewsHour in October 1999 as a Washington-based Senior Correspondent. Suarez came to The NewsHour from NPR where he had been host of the nationwide, call-in news program “Talk of the Nation” since 1993. Prior to that, he spent seven years covering local and national stories for the NBC-owned station, WMAQ-TV in Chicago.
Latino, Afro-Cuban, Chicano, Mexican-American: For as long as people of Latin American descent have been a part of the U.S. they’ve been referred to by many names. What’s more, we even have different names for ourselves. In this segment of our new Somos series, we talk to writers and activists about what name they choose to identify themselves by – and why it matters.
“Somos” is the name of a series that we are starting where we explore issues of Latino identity. We invite you to tell us how you identify yourself by making a video on youtube, posting a comment here, or leaving a message old-school style on our phone (yes, we have a phone attached to a wall!) at 646-571-1228. Don’t forget to tell us your name and where you’re calling us from. And after you post your video, tell us about it here or tweet us! We love hearing from you.
Marina Garcia-Vasquez is the co-founder and director of MexntheCity.com, a culture site and creative consultancy collective. The group aims to promote Mexican culture and heritage in a positive light through the accomplishments of Mexican nationals and Mexican-Americans both in the United States, Mexico, and globally. Based in New York City, Marina is a working journalist dedicated to writing about art, design, and architecture. She is a recent graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism M.A. program in Arts and Culture and a published poet.
Roland Roebuck is a recognized DC activist nationally known as a leading spokesperson on issues that impact Latino Afro-Descendants. He has worked tirelessly to champion human and civil rights. He is a founding member of several Washington DC community organizations and has compelled national organizations and elected officials to implement initiatives that address the needs of minority groups.
Matthew Yglesias is Slate’s business and economics correspondent and author of Slate’s Moneybox column. Before joining the magazine he worked for ThinkProgress, the Atlantic, TPM Media, and the American Prospect. His first book, Heads in the Sand, was published in 2008. His second, The Rent Is Too Damn High, was published in March.
Florida officials are purging non-citizen voters from their rolls less than six months before the presidential elections. Does this guard the ballot for eligible voters, or is it a way to keep Latinos, Blacks and Democrats from voting? For a closer look at Florida’s most recent voter measure, we talk to Myrna Perez, the Senior Counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.[audio:http://latinousa.org/audio/1222seg04.mp3]
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Myrna Perez is a senior counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a legal research and advocacy organization at New York University. She also works on a variety of voting rights related issues, including redistricting, voter registration list maintenance, and access to the ballot box. Before joining the center, Ms. Pérez was the Civil Rights Fellow at Relman & Dane, a civil rights law firm in Washington, D.C.