Latinavangelist

Before we decide to take away my red lipstick and hoop earrings and change my last name to Smith I get one last chance.

I’ve been notified by the Latina Licensing Review Board that this is it, I’m in danger of getting the red flag–yes, I watched the football world cup (soccer to yanks) which might account for the leniency.

In lieu of going through my abuela qepd’s stuff (what my drug addicted uncle hasn’t claimed when he’s broken into the house by literally breaking padlocks) to recover the plastic furniture covers so I can squeak when I sit in a traditional manner, I’m taking other measures.

Let me tell you about it, but first I have to go stir my sofrito. I actually DO make it from scratch still. As I have in every apartment I’ve lived with cooking facilities beyond a hotplate or an iron available. In Maryland, in Manhattan, in Boise my housewarming dinner was consistent: arroz con habichuelas. Except in Boise where I had to buy frijoles instead, pero ni modo. 😉

And every place I’ve lived, I’ve faced the consequences of being Latina. No, not the invitations to parties or churches or family bbqs. The being followed in stores, the racial slurs and death threats–including KKK flyers and Aryan Nations propaganda. Not the carefree dancing-in-the-streets variety of latinadom: the “wow but your English is so good,” the “you don’t have an accent,” the “why don’t you try babysitting jobs?”

Is my Latina-dom defined by adversity? Is it another form of drag, another shortcut to identity used to facilitate social interaction (or dysfunction)?

How shall I work towards redemption?

Shall I acquire a taste for nopalitos while I dance salsa with a hibiscus flower in my hair and pantallas de coco in my ears?

Shall I buy trendy latina t-shirts just in case I’m mistaken for ____________. Pick one: Indian, Pakistani, Arab, Native American, Samoan, etc.

Shall I become a latinavangelist and share chuletas and vianda with the world? Sofrito as salvation?

Yum.

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