“What exactly does ‘a Hispanic’ look like? Do I need to look like Juan Valdez and sell Folgers in a T.V. commercial, sift my fingers through Colombian coffee beans I picked myself, sitting on the back of my reliable mule, Conchita, next to a brokedown Chiva in an oversized sombrero, — for me to “look” Latino? Or look like “a Hispanic” as you say? And what is “a Hispanic” exactly? I could guess what you mean and assume that it’s a low-priced gardening tool like the one buried in a shed behind your Victorian summer home or that invisible harvesting instrument that picks all of your grapes for you and has to survive on slave wage plantations without unions, bathroom breaks, or vacation. Or maybe when you say “a Hispanic” you mean your stand-in parent? That person who raises your kids for you when you’re tired of being a mom? That mouthless set of infinite hands and knees that scrubs the shit from your toilets and throws away the used condoms when you forget to hide them. And I don’t have a backyard or a lover on the side, or kids for that matter, so maybe I just haven’t had the need yet, but I haven’t come across “a Hispanic” thus far in my life nor have I met “a black,” “a Chinaman,” or “a towel-headed A-rab”anytime recently either, but I have met Latinos proud of the vibrant patch-work quilt we’ve had to weave over centuries across an endless cemetery that cradles our past, a swollen dust underneath our soles – wherever we stand – that we nickname home twisting roots at war, looking for nothing else but to be held – you know “held”? Like a family grasping onto each other because they’ve left behind everything and only have each other left, arriving on Mars without a guidebook or a map. I have met Latinos, who people think are Aboriginal in Patagonia, east Asian in Chile, west African in La República Dominicana, Scandinavian in Argentina, and Native American in Colombia. I have met Latinos who look like Juan Valdez and can’t speak a word of Spanish, others who look like Hillary Duff with a mother who looks like Hillary Clinton that are from Paraguay and teach Spanish grammar in Puerto Rico. Latinos who speak Quechua and nothing else, dance cumbia like the horizon is on fire because of them and now they’re trying to burn tomorrow to the ground. I have met Latinos who cook like their broken English moms and mispronounce their own last names, Colombians who don’t know who Gabriel García Márquez is, dark-skinned Dominicans who hate Haitians because they remind them that they’re African, blue-eyed Cubans who spit poetry about ¡Revolución! and mean it – living in Miami with two parents who lost their mansions in the 1950s to it. I don’t tattoo my body because my veins are already too full with ink, passion-rich pigments that can’t help but pulse and flow look at my heart, you short-sighted fool I mean really look at it – cut open my chest and stare at that proud glow and then ask me if I “look” Latino.”—
Transcript of Carlos Andrés Gómez’ “Juan Valdez” (or “Why is a white guy like you named ‘Carlos’?”):
This video is incredible. MUST watch.
“The term Hispanic, coined by technomarketing experts and by the designers of political campaigns, homogenizes our cultural diversity (Chicanos, Cubans, and Puerto Ricans become indistinguishable), avoids our indigenous cultural heritage, and links us directly with Spain. Worse yet, it possesses connotations of upward mobility and political obedience. ”—Guillermo Gómez-Peña
it really pisses me off how much rockabilly/pinup shit that white girls are into is just a regurgitation of chican@ style. like the tattoos and hairstyles and red lipstick and even mousy haired bitches dying their hair black to be rebelliously dainty as if they made all that shit up. like our abuelas werent doing it before your parents were even born.
they always have to use poc style to be their symbol of rebellion too. because any style that they co opt from other white people just makes them more mainstream and even gives them cultural capital that is largely unattainable for poc. so they have to steal our shit- and then instead of being attacked and stripped and raped like the pachucas were in the zoot suit riots they are told they are the epitome of femininity and just rebellious enough to be cute. but woc with the same style are nasty barrio hoes.
“I have never met any kind of Latino who, although he may have claimed his family was very woman-dominated ("mi mamá made all the real decisions"), who did not subscribe to the basic belief that men are better. It is so ordinary a statement as to sound simplistic and I am nearly embarrassed to write it, but that's the truth in its kernel. Ask, for example, any Chicana mother about her children and she is quick to tell you she loves them all the same, but she doesn't. The boys are different. Sometimes I sense that she feels this way because she wants to believe that through her mothering, she can develop the kind of man she would have liked to have married, or even have been. That through her son she can get a small taste of male privilege, since without race or class privilege that is all to be had. The daughter can never offer the mother such hope, straddled by the same forces that confine the mother. As a result, the daughter must constantly earn the mother's love, prove her fidelity to her. The son - he gets her love for free.”—
I remember the first time I read something Moraga had written and it really affected me, but this was the first time I read something so impactful, true and close to home that it made me cry.
Miedo y La Luz (Fear and the Light) horror game
About the game:
Miedo y La Luz (Fear and the Light) is a small, free “choose your own adventure” style text-based horror game, grounded in some of the cultures and languages of Borikén (Puerto Rico) and diasporicans, and centering femininity and queer/trans* people of color characters. Though the game’s primary language is English, it blends Spanish and Taíno language use throughout.
The game features slow-building psychological and survival horror, mixed with magical realism, dark fantasy, RPG dynamics, and socially-conscious science fiction. Created by and for QPoC. Written by quequieresmrmorden.
Meet the main characters:
Art (above) by knittedlampshade
Art (above) by escl-ert
Vela, they/them/their (ell@) pronouns. A queer Indigenous Taíno person who wakes up to a world of distortions and nightmares and has to fight their way through it, gaining information along the way.
Luz, she/her/hers (ella) pronouns. A queer Black and Indigenous Taíno woman who learns to manipulate the rules of the new horrific universe, and starts to suspect there’s more behind the scenes than meets the eye.
I’m making a prologue/introductory game for Miedo y La Luz with money out of my own pocket. I’ll release that online to play for free. After the game release, I might begin a fundraising campaign to commission illustration art, and maybe even some other boricua QPoC writers on staff. I don’t personally want to make money off this, but I want the other QPoC putting in their energies to get paid for their time and efforts.
For now, I’m not requesting any monetary donations. Not until there’s already a playable game and a more concrete plan for future costs.
However, you’re welcome to ask or submit questions, comments, critiques, art, horror things that scare you, and anything else you want!
If you want to, you can fill out this form to get an announcement when the game is released.
There are options on the form for expressing interest in beta testing or helping with the game, too! (But all those sections are optional. Any info you give will be kept private— no spam, mass emails, or sharing of your info anywhere, etc.)
Once again, here’s the form if you’re interested.
Signal boosting welcome! Thanks!