Mexican immigrant parents: From my shame to my pride

dignidadlaloWhen I first applied to UCLA, I wrote in my personal essay that I didn’t have any positive role models in my violent neighborhood.

Having grown up in East Los Angeles’ Ramona Gardens housing project, I wrote that most of the adults represented gang members, drug dealers, thieves, tecatos (heroin addicts), alcoholics, felons and high school dropouts (or push-outs). I also wrote about my disdain for housing authority officials and government workers for behaving like prison wardens and guards toward us: project residents who depended on government aid or welfare.

Moreover, I decried the police abuse that I had witnessed and experienced, like the time when a cop pointed a gun at me. My crime: being a 15-year-old making a rolling stop while learning how to drive.

Mas…Mexican immigrant parents: From my shame to my pride

Pocho Nerd Pride Alert: The Maya counting system is awesome (toon)

articles-31071_recurso_jpgThe Maya, as we all know from Stand and Deliver, were bad ass – one of few ancient civilizations to create the concept of zero.

Since I am an awesome Latina nerd myself, I must share this awesome official Chilean government education ministry photograph of an actual ancient awesome Maya dude counting some stuff out in front of a chart of the awesome Maya counting system.

Mas…Pocho Nerd Pride Alert: The Maya counting system is awesome (toon)

In Rio de Janeiro’s favela, kite flying sets you free (video)


After futebol, soltar pipas, is Brasil’s most popular sport. In the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, flying the pipa is more than a leisurely escape from on-the-ground realities — it’s a venue for battle, with the entire sky as the arena. Pipa designs and airborne “cutting” strategies have been passed through generations, from rooftop to rooftop.

Filmmakers Guilherme Tensol and Leandro HBL spent time in Rocinha, Rio’s largest favela, among its young pipa warriors and elder statesmen, absorbing their secrets and documenting their stories.

Student stunned to learn blue contacts don’t make her look white

(PNS reporting from SAN ANTONIO) Marisa Rodriguez just wanted to look “fresh” for the summer.

What she didn’t want was the public humiliation from finding out the blue contact lenses she bought at the Mothers’ Day car show and swap meet at Traders’ Village didn’t actually make her look fresh, or more white.

“It happened at school when one of my classmates laughed at me when I asked him if he noticed something different about me,” the Harlandale High School junior tearfully told PNS.

“Justin is a bully, he just laughed at said I had a nopal on my forehead and that I looked lame with these blue contacts!”

Mas…Student stunned to learn blue contacts don’t make her look white

Hey, honky! The origin of the world’s most heinous racial slur


POCHO Jefe-in-Chief Lalo Alcaraz‘s recent article about the word gringo ignited a shitstorm of debate. White people came out of the woodwork to declare how they’ve been traumatized all these years because of it.

This got me thinking about racial slurs and how we use them in these oh-so-modern times. Rand Paul used the term chili-choking pepper bellies the other day when he was talking about immigration reform. What’s the gringo equivalent of a chili-choking pepper belly? Twinky-gagging sugar gut? Sounds stupid, right?

“You cornbread-gobbling butter stomach!”

Mas…Hey, honky! The origin of the world’s most heinous racial slur

Letter to the Editor: The Ghetto Manifesto by Lady D (NSFW audio)

It came in exactly this way via our handy SUBMIT form. (On the go? There’s a NSFW two-minute audio podcast version we created at the bottom of this article):

This is to every person who wants to get out and break free to be human and not be a fucking stereotype. I call it the Ghetto Manifesto. I was bred from a culture that lives in fear to succeed. We were once the Gods of the Temples- the living legends standing proud on the steps of Tenochtitlan- Now we are on our knees glorifying the filth around us. Our streets are filled with soldiers of ignorance and rage- fighting brother against brother- for what? A piece of land that we don't even own? For the love we did not receive at home? We call out names- spill our hateful rhetoric, beat each other to be let in to an exclusive group of clowns with silly names. Taking family trips in to unknown territories using hurtful toys to shed innocent blood. The family. What a fucking joke.

Mas…Letter to the Editor: The Ghetto Manifesto by Lady D (NSFW audio)

The importance of ethnic studies and thanks, Sandra Cisneros

Save Ethnic Studies by Julio Salgado

I honestly don’t remember the first book I ever read. It probably wasn’t that good if I can’t remember it right? But I do remember the first time I read a Sandra Cisneros book. I was in the tenth grade and I picked up House On Mango Street because of one thing: Sandra’s last name.

It just clicked with me.

It wasn’t until I read Cisnero’s Caramelo in college that I realized the importance of knowing about someone like her when I was still young.

Mas…The importance of ethnic studies and thanks, Sandra Cisneros