El Grito and Mexico’s Independence Day: Viva Mexico!

I just finished reading Diversity Inc.’s short timeline associated with Hispanic Heritage Month. It begins with the “discovery” of the Americas by Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colon) in 1492. Is it a coincidence that Hispanic Heritage Month overlaps with Mexican Independence Day? And what about the definitions of “Hispanic” and “Latino/a”? Are there new insights about ways we differentiate the terms and how does this reflect on our appreciation for diversity?

In Oaxaca, one-third of the population is indigenous. When they immigrate to the U.S. to find work, we call them Latino/a — but isn’t that a misnomer? It is so easy to lump people into categories and define them without asking how they describe or define themselves.

So, at this moment of celebration for Mexico, let’s pay tribute to El Grito — the cry of independence– and remember that Hispanic-Latino/a immigrants represent a growing number of America’s population who contribute to our climate of freedom and prosperity. Together we can strive to create improved economic-social-political conditions for all of us.

3 Responses to El Grito and Mexico’s Independence Day: Viva Mexico!

  1. Hi Norma,
    Diversity Inc. does not understand the term “Latino”. An example is their statement, “The median wealth of whites is 20 times that of Blacks and 18 times that of Latinos.” Latinos can be of any race or combination of races, including white and black. (I wonder why the words “Black” and “Latino” are capitalized, but “white” is not.) “Latino” refers to ethnicity, not race.

    Another problematic term is “Anglo” when referring to non-Hispanic or non-Latino white people. Applying the term “Anglo”, which comes from “Anglo-Saxon”, to people from European countries other than the British Isles is totally inaccurate. This practice is analogous to referring to everyone from Latin America as “Azteca” or “Mexica”.

    The definitions of all terms for race and ethnicity are subjective. The answers we get are dependent on who we ask.

    • Jim, I am so glad you responded with this most informative explanation of terms. It is so important to expand the dialog to truly know and understand what diversity and multiculturalism encompass. Yes, you are right — definitions are subjective and dependent upon the interpreter. I will share your response with our director of multicultural affairs at my workplace (yes, I have a day job!) who put out the Diversity Inc. article in a listserv as a way to educate and inform. Many thanks. -Norma

      • And, her response is that when she sends out things of this nature they are intended to provoke thought, investigation and learning…no matter what is written there are those with a different opinion. For example, there is great controversy over whether or not to capitalize Black when using it to connote race. Many Blacks, she says, feel that it should be capped because a small b implies minimization or inferiority. Most of us, she goes on, are aware of race as a political construct yet it is a categorization heavily embedded in the culture and not likely to go away for some time.

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