On the Usefulness of Hispanic Heritage Month

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-18 15:02Z by Steven

On the Usefulness of Hispanic Heritage Month

American Mestiza: Living In Between the In Between

Sarah A. Chavez, Visiting Assistant Professor of English
Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia

This fine fall day – and it is a fine fall day: sunny, the leaves are changing and floating softly to the ground in a light breeze, it’s not hot – is the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month. I have mixed feelings about Hispanic Heritage Month, the same way I do about Women’s History Month, and African American History Month. If we just lived in a world that held the accomplishments of Latinxs, women, and African Americans in the same esteem as Anglo Americans, and if we had more fair representation in U.S. text books, we wouldn’t need these token months. Largely, months like these end up being used to assuage liberal guilt for the rest of the year when no one is held accountable for the monolithic literature, art, history, sociological perspective teachers assign. These are the special months where a teacher brushes the dust off their copy of Martin Luther King Jr.’sI Have A Dream” speech and shows their students art by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo (even though they are solidly Mexican and therefore not “Latina/o” or “Hispanic”), and talks about how in the 1940s women got to put on pants and tie up their hair in red kerchiefs and that was very empowering…

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