Hispanic Heritage Month
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month With Targets On Our Backs
From September 15 through October 15, the United States attempts to celebrate its Hispanic and Latino-descended citizens
Terminology like “Hispanic” or “Latino” is problematic for many Spanish-speaking members of the Global South for its erasure of our respective cultures. It is, however, how we are identified in the United States for social and political reasons. Despite that, Hispanic Heritage Month gives us a chance to clarify the record, define who we are based on our heritage, and emphasize the diversity of our communities across racial and ethnic boundaries.
Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15 to highlight the anniversary of the liberation of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua from Spanish colonial rule. Mexico commemorates its independence on Sep. 16. Chile on Sep. 18. And we can’t forget how Columbus Day falls within the month in what feels like an effort to rub it in a little.
Regardless, the vast majority of us celebrate our culture and heritage beyond colonial rule and prefer to focus on the original stories of our people every day. Because what’s true in Colombia won’t be true in Mexico or the Caribbean and certainly not Spain. Neither is it true for us in the U.S. based on our family’s histories.
As Latinos, or Hispanics in this case, we are far from a monolith exposing how creating groups and labeling them in a way that is often considered “alien” to many in the U.S. can be extremely detrimental to our well-being. Truth is, in a white-dominated society like the United States — known for its exceptional efforts to “other” non-white groups — it’s expected. How to deal with it, however, is the subject of much discussion that has been happening for more than a century.
This brings up the contentious issue of race and how it’s determined in the U.S. compared to much of Latin America and the Caribbean. The “one-drop rule” — how we are considered “mixed” and therefore, not white — and how the U.S. defines what “white” is using Anglo-Saxon Protestantism is how they declared that we’re not good enough for what they call “America”.