Brown Celebrates Latino History Month

by Stephen Beale on March 19, 2010

It seems that hardly any week or month goes by at Brown that some racial or sexual identity isn’t being celebrated. This week we have a two for one—in addition to Sex Week, it is Latino History Month. The theme for the latter is … identity—how shocking! For the kick-off, organizers hosted a former social worker and public school teacher, named Carlos Andres Gomez, who read a poem about someone else who read a poem to his public school students. His poem dealt with the ethical dilemma he faced when the performer let out some expletives and the school principal demanded he ‘shut down’ the performance. Instead, Gomez responded in only the way a good liberal should—he talked about racism and violence. So Gomez gets on stage at the high school and, as he is looking out over an audience filled with gang members and pregnant teens, he suddenly he thinks about how outdated their textbooks are—they of course are from the obsolescent 1950s. So he does the next logical thing: he asks how many students had heard of the holocaust—wait a minute, didn’t they already make a movie about this? In the rest of his talk to Brown students, Gomez confronts—surprise, surprise—the ignorance of a white midwestern woman and her stereotypes about Hispanics. If that failed to inspire you, then just wait for upcoming events like a lecture titled ‘QUEERican,’ a showing of a mockumentary about what would happen if all the Mexicans in the United States disappeared, and a panel that will tackle, among other issues, the ‘marginalizing effects of a heteronormative mestizo culture’—because apparently the evils of heteronormativity weren’t adequately addressed during Sex Week.

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March 28, 2010 at 10:10 am

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Andy March 21, 2010 at 4:00 pm

You’re forgetting that all of the events thus far have been “homosapio-normative.” This is obviously inequitable. Wild Pony Week will announced shortly.

Lorenzo March 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Well I don’t know if being from the University of Puerto Rico you will even allow my comment given that I may you know talk about my Hispanic identity but I’ll still give it a shot. First, I applaud Brown University’s initiative to celebrate sexual/racial identities. If this in fact occurs every week or month I think it’s fantastic that students are encouraged to discuss and take pride in their identities. Specifically for Latinos going to the U.S. the Latino identity sometimes isn’t even discussed until it is juxtaposed with mainstream White America’s values. This experience definitively bears a lot of discussion, perhaps I could point you to some literature regarding the physical and mental health effects of acculturation distress.

I fail to see how criticizing books from the 1950 isn’t a sound and even expectable thing to do. Moreover, I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of students in the U.S. did not know what the Holocaust was, you know there are a lot of issues in education that have nothing to do with Sex Week and Latino History Month.

P.S. The dangers of heteronormativity do not have to be established by a Sex Week, they have been established by say, sex crimes and prejudice. I fail to see how this is intellectually diverse or even intellectual at all (besides the fact that you had good grammar…)

Michael March 23, 2010 at 7:15 pm

With all the greatest respect to the organizers of Sex Week, heteronormativity wasn’t adequately addressed, because heteronormativity will need to continue to be addressed until our culture is no longer heteronormative. That’s the nature of it.

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