It’s Hispanic Heritage Month. Break out a novelty sombrero and a bottle of Patron, because like a taco smothered in salsa, heritage is waay more palpable when it’s smothered in consumerism…
I often encounter people who don’t understand why I identify as Hispanic. I’ve given it a lot of thought and I think it comes down to this: they’re eating the shit sandwich.
The shit sandwich is served-up fresh daily by consumerism. Let’s process culture, strip it of all that gunk we don’t need (like knowledge and power), and behold — now you can buy a poncho at Urban Outfitters. Culture itself has no value outside the bounds of consumption.
Culture is no different than a box of cereal.
So, why would I want that? Why would I want something that has no monetary value when I could just pass as white and be at the top of the pecking order? Fuck you and your pecking order.
Culture is not something to be consumed. It is in our hearts and blood, and most importantly, our minds. It’s more powerful than any trinket, more powerful than capitalism itself.
So, it becomes a threat.
Tacos, tequila, novelty sombreros, those are OK.
Speaking Spanish and Mexican-American studies? Those are not OK.
You can’t make money off learning. Learning is bad for you (read: the Bottom Line.)
There is a mad dash to capitalize off the growing Latino/a market in America. However, the captains of industry just don’t get it. Because what we have as a community, the bond of culture – la plata no vale na.
Oh, and FYI — my name is EH-LEE-SEH. Not Eh-Lease.
Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!