More thoughts on being “Latino” and Catholic

28 12 2009

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Since no one is reading this blog right now anyway, I feel free to ramble about personal stuff that I ordinarily try to steer clear of. This time, I will touch once again on ethnicity. Again, maybe I am just not able to connect with other “Latinos” on the Internet, but I always find that the way most people reflect on issues of growing up “Latino”, culture, and religion, is profoundly different from my own experience. First of all, “Latino” is a construct that I don’t agree with. Even now, in New Orleans, I work in an office with lots of other Latino people, most of whom are Central American, and to tell the truth, it is the Latino equivalent of Americans working with Australians. (I have lived with Australians too, so I know what I am talking about.) Granted, if you were working in a place where the official language was French, you would probably identify a lot more with the Australians than with other co-workers. But you wouldn’t consider them “your people”.

Of course, my own experience growing up was different than what a “Latino” would experience here in New Orleans. In my small town on the central coast of California, people of Mexican descent were the majority, about sixty percent of the town. During the holidays, the exodus of entire families back to Mexico is a common phenomenon, one that I participated in several times as a youth. There was never the sense that we were a “racial minority”. Where we lived, we were the majority, and our enclaves were sort of “little Mexicos” where our customs, food, and way of life were somewhat preserved in the midst of the American melting pot. I can’t really think that this would be the experience of “Latino” communities in other places, and perhaps with the rapid spread of modern means of communication, it will not be in the near future.
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