Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15, is supposed to be a time to celebrate Latino contributions to U.S. society and culture. But for some, it feels like a way to sanitize Latino history in the U.S. Or worse, just another excuse to market to Latinos. Host Maria Hinojosa speaks with Prof. Arlene Dávila and humorist Lalo Alcaraz about the uses and meanings of Hispanic Heritage Month.
This is part of our series on Latino identity, “Somos.”
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Lalo Alcaraz is the creator of the first nationally-syndicated, politically-themed Latino daily comic strip, “La Cucaracha,” seen in scores of newspapers including the Los Angeles Times. He is also co-host of KPFK Radio’s popular satirical talk show, “The Pocho Hour of Power,” and co-founded the political satire comedy group Chicano Secret Service. His work has appeared in major publications around the world and he has won numerous awards and honors. Alcaraz received his Bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University, and earned his master’s degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently a faculty member at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles. Alcaraz was born in San Diego and grew up on the border. He is married to a hard-working public school teacher and they have three extremely artistic children.
Arlene Davila is a professor of Anthropology, Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. She is the author of Sponsored Identities: Cultural Politics in Puerto Rico and Latinos Inc: Marketing and the Making of a People, Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos and the Neoliberal City. Her book, Latino Spin: Public Image and the Whitewashing of Race recently received the Latin American Studies Association prize for the best book in Latino studies.