Hispanic Heritage Month 2017: Learning vs politics

Perhaps finding out that we carry New World history in our genes will transcend racial checkboxes altogether and enable Latino-Americans to rethink what America is supposed to look like ~ Raquel Cepeda

Today, as never before perhaps, we are eager to learn more about the heritage of our shared New World neighbors.  Midway in the commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we are immersed in a political environment that challenges to us to focus!

For the past half century Hispanic Heritage Month has been commemorated from September 15 to October 15.  September 15 marks the anniversary of the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.  Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence during this time period.

The official Hispanic Heritage Month website (https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.org) offers some basic information for those of us who need to refresh our knowledge of the fundamentals – including these:

  • The term “Hispanic” or “Latino” refers to Puerto Rican, South Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.  On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish, Hispanic and/or Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.
  • Today, 55 million people or 17% of the American Population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This represents a significant increase from 2000, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13% of the total U.S. population.

Because Hispanic Heritage Month 2017 coincides with political and media focus is on Dreamers, our first challenge is to understand just who the Dreamers are:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/09/07/dreamers-arent-just-coming-from-latin-america/?utm_term=.dc4cb498346b

Having countered that myth, you can proceed to the real facts about Hispanic heritage.  The first place to start is with the Hispanic Heritage Month website cited above (https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.org)  This will lead you directly to this major PBS project which lists several readily-accessible digital resources: http://www.pbs.org/latino-americans/en/watch-videos/#2365075996.

Some additional links of interest:

UPDATE: 

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