We would like to take the opportunity to clarify a few misunderstandings about Latinos and specifically, the Latino Rebels. We’re not hard to figure out. In fact, we’re just like you. Except for one thing: we’re bicultural. We have one foot in each place: the United States and our origin of ancestry.
The group of Latino Rebels represents the most progressive of Latinos. We're making waves and taking names. Take for instance, the Latino Rebels who are online 24/7. What do you think we’re doing? Just playing on Facebook? “Not I,” said the cat. We are building bridges, communicating, writing, reading and educating ourselves about the world in which we live. We are making it happen for ourselves because, let’s face it, mainstream media doesn’t cut it like we can and who’s to say we don’t control the internet at this point.
A lot of what we find on mainstream media is sugar coated or stereotyped. They find it easier to put on a sombrero on it and call it Mexican than to find out that Mexicans don’t wear the hats on a daily basis. We’re not only Spanish speakers and we’re not just English speaking Latinos either (which is what 2nd and 3rd generation has come to mean). A large chunk of us are, in fact, bilingual and damn good at it. We are proud of our culture, especially our language.
Spanish is spoken by a half billion people by world estimates and the “dumbing down” of American media does all it can to trap Latinos (and especially English-only speakers) in a media loop that is full of inaccurate propaganda and biases—sometimes even against their own people, as evidenced in the contemporary Republican sphere of politics.
There have been studies done on us, facts and figures have been posted and the fact of the matter is, we live in an accented world. Yes, that’s right. We speak English and then say, “Boricua” when referring to someone of Puerto Rican heritage. We can roll our Rs and say our names loud and proud the RIGHT way. We feel a connection with our heritage because that’s what we are, that’s our history and is what makes us unique and different. Giving up our mother tongue is surrendering our history.
When we connect with Spanish-only speakers in, at times, parts of our nation and throughout the world, we are encouraging the breaking down of national and ethnic barriers so that our hearts and minds can exchange ideas in a larger world scope. Thus, Latino assimilationists who favor the colonial language of the United Kingdom versus that of España are doing the same as the rest of America: refusing to learn another language—and not just any other language—but the cultural language of our unique colonial history, brilliant and tragic. Speaking Spanish has become a radical act in today’s heightened xenophobic pre-presidential frenzy, and that gives us even more cojones to prove it.
And lest we forget: part of our group also represents another often ignored group in this country.
We’re not stupid. Just because some of us may speak with an accent, doesn’t mean we’re dumb or don’t understand you. In fact, it means that we’re intelligent, that we speak another language; that we’re BILINGUAL. Don’t hate.
“Can you anglicize that?” NO!
We look different, we act different and we listen to different music. But what you don’t realize is we grew up here. We listen to the Smiths, Morrissey, Depeche Mode, Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra, and the Temptations yet, we can’t stand mainstream Latino music because it’s played out and it falls into one genre. We talk to our parents or grandparents in Spanish and can express ourselves in English. We can tell you off in either one though, don’t doubt that. We watch Spanish movies without subtitles and get excited to hear particular words from other countries like, “Vale,” "Pana," "Chamo," Ché," “Joder” and “Tío.”
A part of us wants to say that people are jealous that we Latinos can hold on so tightly to our roots. We know exactly where we come from and how we got here. We know our stories and for some reason, those who don’t, find us strangely peculiar and too attached to our ancestry.
Let’s have a chance to speak the truth for a second though: Even though we graduate from state schools and Ivy League schools, a lot of us came from gang-infested neighborhoods. Just because we knew them doesn’t mean we were one. That was the first steps in critical thinking and precaution. In reality, those of us who did come from those particular situations embrace the fact that it happened to us. We emerge tougher, we emerge as the generation of rebeldes, out to tell you all that we made it and we’re going strong.
While there are many that want to rid our generation of negative stereotypes, including the Rebels, we remember where we come from. We came from the streets, we were discriminated against, we were held to where society’s standards held us and we use all of that to our advantage.
If there’s anything Latinos know, it’s the consumer market and it’s the internet. There have been reports to explore all of these different facets of our lifestyle and guess what: We’re not cheap! In fact, we look for quality over quantity and that goes for videos, marketing arrangements and more. We can see right through you and we know when you’re BSing us. We know what we need because we live it every day. Don’t underestimate the experts.
The bridges that we have built and continue to build are strong and rooted. We find correlations and relationships with each other. Just because I’m Mexican doesn’t mean I can’t listen to salsa on Saturday mornings. Just because I’m Peruvian doesn’t mean I can’t be a kick ass bilingual spoken word poet. Just because I’m Boricua doesn’t mean I can’t love Café Tacuba. Because what Latino Rebels is bringing to the table is a multifaceted conglomerate of real relationships built on similarities and not the fact that we’re different.
We’re educating each other on our realities, explaining inside jokes and becoming stronger every day we communicate among ourselves and with the rest of our fans and readerships on all of our platforms.
Coming from Latin America, speaking Spanish and eating particular foods are traditions within our worlds but in no way does it limit our capabilities or experience in the United States. We’re as brown as brown can get both by skin color and by blood. Yet, we can all honor the flag of the United States and maintain respect for where we live and how this geographical location has allowed us to prosper.
We become angry when we are not heard, especially because we’re screaming loud and clear. We work with you, walk down the street with you, send our kids to the same school, are just as wealthy, have our own businesses, graduated from the same universities and still, we’re looked at a little sideways.
We’re placed in one big pot of BROWN, with no distinction and no respect. In no way will we silence ourselves or what we stand for. We will not dumb ourselves down and stoop to the levels at which we are treated, but we will exceed your expectations.
This is our reality. This is why we have to make our voices heard. No one will do it for us. It will come to the day in which you will either fight us or join us and we’re all more than willing to accept you with open arms.