Dealing with Siblings

Have you ever been so mad with one of your siblings that without even thinking you wish for that brief moment to be an only child? Sharing a space with someone else isn’t always easy and problems are bound to arise for a variety of reasons! You may be upset because you have to share clothes, the TV, the car or even your room. You might dislike the fact they might get “special treatment” because they are older or younger than you. Whatever the issue may be, fighting with siblings is actually a very common thing and learning how to deal with the problems that you face can help you have a better relationship with them.

Challenges – Same Roots, Different Personalities
One of the reasons that most siblings fight is the fact that even thought they are related, with the same parents and same upbringing, they are in fact completely different people. People with different ideas, different tastes and different personalities, and these will end up crashing at times.

Problems between siblings can be a million. You may get mad because they take your things, because they don’t help with chores, or because they don’t treat you fairly. Yet siblings don’t have to be enemies, in fact, they can be great life long friends. Remember that they know what it’s like to grow up the same way you did, and that they have shared many experiences with you, and they can be of great support because of this, even when having completely different personalities.

Many times problems arise because of the difference between the ages of each sibling. Some siblings may take sides with each other for particular reasons or simply because they are closer in age.

One of the things that Isabel Medina, 24, dislikes about her siblings, both male and females, is the way they treat her because she is the youngest of four. ” They feel that because I am the youngest, I can’t give my opinion or I am not wise enough or have enough experience to give an opinion,” said Isabel. Being the youngest child is tough and Isabel shares that sometimes conversations get heated and they speak to each other in a loud voice. This is where their father interferes.

Joys of Having Siblings

They Will Always Be There
We get happy with each other by apologizing when it is necessary or simply acting like if nothing happened,” said Isabel. “I love knowing that, whatever happens, whatever things we tell each or how many times we argue with each other, they will always be there.”

The Good Outweighs the Bad
Elii Lozano, 22, explains that one of the reasons why her sister, now 25, and her used to fight was the fact that she tended to be a bit disorganized, and sharing a bedroom, this often caused problems with her sister who would get stressed because it. Yet even thought this would create fights between them, they never stayed mad at each other for more than two hours and would soon be like if nothing ever happened. ” Most of the time she would take the initiative,” said Elii. “Even though sometimes we fight for dumb reason, the good things weight more than the bad, we help each other and support each other.”

Take Care of Each Other
Like Isabel mentioned earlier, the love they all have for their father is perhaps their strongest bond, and when their mother passed away when she was only 4, she says her older siblings took the job of taking care of her and their home on top of going to school, and for this she admires them.

Best Friends
Not only can brothers and sisters be great role models but also best friends.  Mabel, 22, says she can’t imagine her life without her sister. “Our relationship is ideal, she is like my best friend, we are very close,” she shared. Mabel and her sister even have a day called “Sister Time” where they go out to concerts, to the movies or simply just enjoy movies at home. One rule…no one else is allowed.

Someone To Talk To
Marely Vega, 9, also enjoys having a 12 year old brother. She believes that having a brother is like having a friend at home that keeps you company and someone you can talk to. She advises siblings who do fight with each other to try to understand them. Right now they might fight but once they grow up they will understand them better, just like she read in a book about siblings. “If they were to ask me what a brother is I would tell them, it is a friend…they are like your friends, you can trust them aside from your mom and family. It feels nice to have a brother, to have company and if you have siblings, appreciate them, “said Marely.

Unique Bond
In the end, it doesn’t really matter how different you are from your siblings or how far apart in age. Understanding that these differences don’t have to keep you apart can even give you a best friend or  role model that you will always have no matter what. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have any problems with them. When this is the case, spending a few hours apart or apologizing can solve those small problems that may occur. Yet that bond and understanding that exists between you, is irreplaceable. Remember, not everyone gets to have siblings and it is truly a gift from life. It is an unconditional love.

Crafty Gift Ideas

We all tend to do our gift shopping last minute, and sometimes we can’t find what we want because it is last minute. But why not, instead of stressing out at store check-out lines or whether they would like it or not, why not give them something they’ll love and keep forever.

Crochet Candleholder

DIYCandleHolder
You’ll need: old crochet doilies, a balloon, wallpaper glue, and a battery-operated light
Steps: First soak five doilies into the glue, inflate the balloon, the bigger the balloon the bigger the candleholder is. Glue the doilies on the balloon right next to each other, let them overlap a little. Hang the balloon upside down to let it dry. When it’s dry pop the balloon, and there you go, a beautiful candleholder.

Mason Jar Prism Light

DIYPrismLight
You’ll need: Mason jar, round glass decorative elements, ribbon or twine, e3600 glue, tea light, lighter, and brushes
Steps: First apply the glue to the brushes, then apply it on to the Mason jar. Next apply the round glass decorations in the Mason jar all around right next to each other from top to bottom or the jar. Wait about 15-20 minutes while the glue dries. Then apply the ribbon or twine around the top of the jar to add a little more decorative touches, then insert the tea light inside of the jar and watch how it makes your room shine beautifully.

 

Decorated Coasters

DIYCoasters
You’ll need: Mod Podge (glue), a glue gun, roll of thin cork, Spray Acrylic Sealer, Foam Brushes, Small Tiles, and Photographs or Scrapbook paper
Steps: First with the hot glue gun, glue a squared piece of cork to the back of the tile, make sure it is firmly glued to the tile. Cut out any pretty scrapbook paper or any photographs that you’d like to decorate the coasters with the size of the tile. Put mod podge on the tile where you are placing the paper, place the picture and put mod podge on the picture and the tile until it is firmly on the tile. Let it dry for 10 minutes, then add a second layer of mod podge on the tile and the picture. Then you have to add 3 layers of Acrylic sealer, after every layer, wait 2 minutes. After you see that it’s dry, your decorated coasters are done and ready!

 

Now, you can give many different kinds of presents to your family that will make their heart smile.

Driven By Emotions

It can seem like life is a rollercoaster of emotions with feelings like anger, sadness, fear and nervousness. You may feel like one day you’re up with happiness, the next you find yourself feeling down. Millions of things and situations can make us feel all sorts of emotions and these include bad emotions too. Have you ever done something you regret doing because perhaps you were too busy thinking about what you were feeling and not about the consequences? It is important to make sure that emotions are you not driving you to bad decisions.
Making Bad Decisions
Mariana Govea, age 17,  got an injury on her knee. She recalls how she felt upset, angry and scared and all these emotions led to bad decision making. “The moment I got hurt I was very upset and angry at myself for the fact that I knew I had hurt myself really bad. At the moment, I was very angry and I was kind of scared of telling my mom that I had hurt my knee. So I kept it for a while and I did not tell my parents and unfortunately that led to me injuring myself even more.  I think that if I would of actually express my feelings to my mom, told her what had happened and not let myself get driven by the anger and fear, that wouldn’t have happened to me.”Sisters Mariana and Fernanda Gutierrez, ages 14 and 11, tell similar stories where they both lied when they got taken over by emotions.

“There was this time where my friends were like trying to joke around,” said Mariana. “They were saying that they wanted to have a sleepover and they didn’t technically invite me so that kind of got me angry so I told them I was also going to go to a sleepover party even though I lied to them.”

“I lied to one of my friends that I was going to go somewhere with them and I ended up not going and they got really mad at me,” added Fernanda. “I lied to them because I had a lot of things to do. I had homework and a project coming up that had to involve a book report I had to read over the summer. I couldn’t do anything else, I felt stressed and pressured on.”

Hiding certain things from others or lying to people are very common things to do when you are driven by fear anger or stress. You may do it in order to not upset others or as a way to defend yourself. Yet remember that these decisions can end up being worse and at the end you may end up doing just that, hurting someone else of even yourself.

Once the emotions wear off you probably find yourself  wishing you hadn’t done what you just did. When you’re stuck in this situation there are two things to do. First, think of any way that you can fix the situation. A great example is apologizing. When you know you hurt someone’s feelings without intending too, taking responsibility for your own actions and mistakes shows that you are responsible and that you care for that other person. Hey, everybody makes mistakes, what counts is how you react to them.

Avoid Bad Decisions

Once you’ve apologized there’s one more thing to do. Reflect on what just happened. What a mess right? It is now time to think of how you can avoid all of this from happening again. Think about what steps you can take next time to avoid making the wrong decisions when you’re rushing with emotions.

Jeanette Ortiz, Mariana Govea and Bianca Castrejan give some advice on what to do before acting on impulse and making wrong decisions.

“Stop. Breath and take a minute to think before you act,” shared Jeanette Ortiz, age 24.

“Think about what you’re actually doing because if you don’t stop and listen to what your doing you can commit something that you might regret later and might actually turn worse than how it would of been if you actually took the time to pay attention to what’s going on,” shared Mariana Govea, age 17. “Feelings are just feelings and they can go away if you know how to handle them.”

“The best thing is to try to calm yourself down.When you’re full of emotions it’s hard to think at that certain moment but I think it’s better to just leave the situation and take the time to calm down and once you’ve calm down then you can address the problem that you had,” added Bianca Castrejon, age 24.

Emotions can be controlling and sometimes they can lead to making the wrong decisions. So the next time you are being driven by one of  these emotions just…stop, take a breather and take a minute to think before you act!

Career Spotlight: Claudia Lujan

Entrepreneur/Writer 

Young Latinos across the nation are making advances in professional fields that we were often underrepresented in. An aspiring writer and half-marathoner on her off time, Claudia Luján is now immersing herself in the entrepreneurship culture after graduating college. This is her story.   

Claudia Lujan always displayed at intellectual curiosity for the world around her in her hometown of El Paso, Texas. Immersing herself from literature to understanding the complexity of a cell, her desire to learn helped her get into Swarthmore College. Being in one of the best liberal arts in the nation, Lujan was able to explore her passions and continue asking questions.

Although she enjoyed her college time and was ready to move on to the next chapter in her life, Lujan didn’t graduate this year without having made an impact on her campus and her community. Having double majored in Biology and English Literature, she explored opportunities that would give her further insight into these seemingly opposite worlds.

She was a research intern at the National Institutes of Health in Phoenix, Arizona, in the summer of 2013 where she studied the role of cortisol in gestational diabetes in Native American women. Lujan wanted to study “if physical manifestation of disease was due to the Native American [traumatic historical] experience.” She realized through this internship that doctors tend to ignore the “social environment that people exists and live in” and it prompted her to become involved in Public Health for her remaining college years.

“I wanted to create social good and Public Health was the answer,” reflects Lujan. “Public Health is an avenue in which to close disparities among people.”

Lujan was an active member of Global Health Forum at Swarthmore, acting as the executive board member and coordinator for about three years. There she helped raise several thousand dollars for the organization, coordinated panel discussions and promoted health education on topics such as AIDS, vaccines, and medical tourism.

She was co-creator of non-profit organization in 2014 with a Swarthmore alumni that focused on “social-economic healthcare and racial dimension of cancer care” in Santa Clare County, California. The non-profit, ERACE Cancer, operated under supervision of the Department of Oncology in Stanford University. The team was able to reach out to the community to identify their needs and come up with solutions about the cancer care.

Searching for a way to combine her writing and science skills, she founded, and was editor-in-chief, of the Swarthmore Journal of Science. This magazine represented the first journalism publication of the college and an excerpt in the first publication explains why the magazine was created. The editors explained how in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, there seemed to be an “underepresentation of women and people of color.” This magazine drove to provide a platform where “students from a variety of scientific backgrounds…can share their experience [in an attempt to ask] questions, share their work, and engage in conversations…”

Her hard work was geared to enter medical school, but by senior year she was “disillusioned by the barriers of entry, debt, and time that would be required before [she] can actually become a doctor.” Struggling on how to continue doing social good, Lujan soon realized that she can still achieve the same thing but though entrepreneurship. She applied to Venture for America, a two year entrepreneurship fellowship designed to recruit top graduates across the nation to create startups in cities that need revitalization. Accepted into the competitive program, she embarked on her new journey after graduation.

She recently finished a six-week training in marketing, business development, and startup culture at Brown University and will soon start working in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She will be working for Message Agency, a corporation that creates websites for non-profits across the nation.

Undoubtedly Lujan has been successful in her field, but what drives her?

“A great deal of it comes from my family and El Paso. Although it’s home, the city had a lot of problems that had racial and socioeconomic dimensions. I was very frustrated to live within that system. It led me to push the boundaries of what I could do.” she adds.

Breaking Stereotypes

As Latinas, many of us have experienced hearing and possibly experiencing Latina stereotype. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a stereotype is to believe unfairly that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same. Stereotypes can come from what people see based on TV or simply because what others have seen a few Latino people doing. With stereotypes, Latinos can be unfairly judged based on their accent or how they look. Listen to some Latinas speak out against common stereotypes.

Not All of Us Love (or know how) To Dance
Latino music and dancing has been recognized all over the world, and it’s an honor that many value and appreciate that. But that doesn’t mean that we all are experts and love to dance!

“To be honest, I’ve only been to one dance my whole life, and I hated it,” shared Paola Lopez, age 16. Many feel like this. Just because we are Latinas it doesn’t mean that as soon as the music starts, you can find us on the dance floor making everyone else look like fools.

We are not spicy hot girls
Just because you see some really beautiful and curvy Latinas in videos or TV shows, doesn’t mean that all of us are like that. A common image is of Latinas having a curvy body and tanned skin. The reality is that most of us are not that way. This stereotype needs to stop because many of us feel forced to meet those expectations and go through serious issues because of them. We all are beautiful, it doesn’t matter what type of body or skin we have. We are equally beautiful and amazing.

We are not all maids
This stereotype has been here for a really long time. Many immigrants come here to the US and spend their days working as maids to support their families and a place to live. Now it has become something “characteristic” of Latinas. It’s just a job and it shouldn’t be used to mock people, no matter their race. Just because we’re Latinas and many work as maids, doesn’t mean that we are destined to be one. Thanks to many opportunities, many Latinas everywhere are getting more chances to study to get a career and better jobs. Hopefully in a few years, this job won’t be stereotypical of us and people will realize that Latinas can excel in many fields.

“I don’t want to be a maid. I want to continue studying so someday I’ll get my degree on English,” said Alejandra Perez, age 18.

We are not all parties
We see music videos everyday and when it comes to Latinos, we’re supposed to party hard. People assume that we are like that most of our time, but the reality is that we’re not. We like parties and to have fun just like everyone else, but our lives are not always parties. We also care about other things and have many responsibilities.

We are not all Cholas
Another stereotype you see in the movies is of a chola, gangster or trouble maker. Latians are seen as rude and as queens of the barrio wearing big earrings and drawn eyebrows. Of course, not all of us are like this. Every culture has groups people who are mean, violent girls, but this is not true for most Latinas. We are not all cholas, most of us are not part of a gang or show pride in belonging in one. This is just part of something that exists in some areas around the US.

“I used to live in California and when I moved out, everyone thought I used to live in East LA and be a chola or some thing like that. To be honest, I never went there,” said Ana Diaz, age 16 shared.

No matter the stereotype, it is important to remember that not everyone from our community is the same. We are regular amazing people just like everyone else.

5 Latina Musicians to Check Out

These Latina musicians are worth listening to and their sound is getting them noticed. They are great artists and are a part of the Latina community. Check out these amazing Latinas below!Carla Morrison

Carla Morrison:
This girl has a tremendously special voice. It is unique and peaceful. Her melancholic and acoustic sound will make your time pass without even noticing. Between sad and love songs, you have a variety to listen to. If you like to listen to music in Spanish, this girl is a great addition to your music library. Born in Mexico, Carla has reached audiences in many Latin American and European countries in the past years by participating in big music festivals and solo shows. She has released 6 albums, so be sure to check her discography!
Listen to: “Dejenme Llorar”, “Compartir” and “Hasta La Piel”.

Melanie Martinez:
With her fresh, new and different sound, Melanie Martinez is here to steal our hearts. She was part of The Voice’s season 3 and since then she has been working to be famous. Melanie was born in New York and has Puerto Rican and Dominican roots. Similar to Lorde and Halsey, only 20 years old and she already has a huge fan base with her electronic/pop/alternative sound to listen to everyday.  Listen to: “Pity Party”, “Soap” and “Carousel”.

Kat Dahlia KatDahlia
With a slightly faster sound, Kat Dahlia is here to stay, she has combined rap, hip hop and her melodic voice with an influence of Latina. You can hear that on “Crazy.” She was born in the US with Cuban and Lebanese roots. She has a more aggressive sound and she knows how to mix it with different musical vibes. Her lyrics are strong. She talks about being a woman and getting through tough moments alone, and how girls can be strong without the need of a man to her side.
Listen to: “Gangsta”, “I Think I’m In Love” and “My Garden”.

Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas
The combination of rock, soul and pop in this band is incredible. The melodies, the voices and everything is amazing. This band’s sound is similar to Amy Winehouse and Alabama Shakes, they have Latin influences un their sound and you can hear that on “Sorry I Stole Your Man.” Jessica Hernandez has been performing since an early age. After trying for a long time, she signed with a record label and started to release music. Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas made an apparition on The Letterman Show and that set a starting point for the band to be heard for many more people.
Listen to: “Sorry I Stole Your Man”, “Don’t Take My Man to Idaho”, “Caught Up”

Hello Seahorse!
The surrealist Mexican band Hello Seahorse! has music in both English and Spanish. They got together around 10 years ago. Their sound is incredibly unique because they have combined many different vibes, from synth pop to rock to experimental music. Denise Gutierrez, the lead singer, has an exceptional voice. Not a lot of singers can reach her tone. Hello Seahorse has won multiple awards and has shared the stage with many American artists such as The Killers. They’ve participated in different music festivals around the American continent.
Listen to:“Won’t Say Anything”, “Velo De Novia” and “Un Año Quebrado”.

If you know any other amazing artists let me know!

Preparing for College

By Sarai Melchor CollegeChica1

As young Latinas, we are advised by not only our elders, but also our community to take advantage of what this country has to offer and to put ‘mucho esfuerzo’ in everything.

As a rising senior, I want to help you chicas who are getting ready to enter college by giving you some tips.

1. Don’t feel pressured to attend a prestigious school
Seriously, folks. You can save thousands of dollars by attending another school where you will get a bigger bang for your buck.

2. For those of you who are moving away…
Do not pay attention to your families if they try to guilt you into staying. Our community loves to stay close to our relatives, but some might accuse you of abandoning them. Of course this isn’t true for anyone, but I have heard many of stories like these. Heck, even my parents tried to dissuade me from the idea of living on campus, but I kept my ground.

3. Don’t rush on choosing a major.
Unless you are more or less certain that you love it, but keep in mind that college courses are WAY different than high school.  Basically, the first two years of college are going to be about completing those basic general requirements. While doing so, register for classes that catch your interest from different departments, so that you’ll hopefully find a major that fits you.

4. Do not choose a career path that your parents want.
They might say “this job is worthwhile” and pays great or “mejor seas una abogada” (better become a lawyer). Defend yourself and say that they are not the ones studying. It is your career path and your future. You are going to get that degree with bountiful knowledge.

5. Rent your books or buy them used.
If you get your syllabus a couple of weeks before the semester starts, buy your textbooks cheap by researching the best places to order.

6. Stay on top of your coursework!
College coursework can be more challenging. This is usually the biggest shock for freshmen. Make sure that you keep a planner, either paper or an app. This will help you avoid that feeling of ‘Oh, I have a quiz tomorrow!’ I know I have.

7. Take Risks.
College is YOUR time to shine and try new things. Join clubs. Go to that karaoke event. Introduce yourself to fellow students. Have an open mind.

8. You don’t have to stay in college if you feel that it’s not right for you.
If you come to this conclusion and feel afraid to leave because of negative feedback, forget about everyone else. This is your life. You have every right to choose a better path for yourself. Do you.

Take care, queridas!

Girl Talk: Tips to De-Stress

In order to fight stress, first you have to know what it is. Stress is a a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, may it be at work, school, bullying or even family. Stress can result in insomnia, extreme fatigue, headaches, tense muscles and an upset stomach among others. I bet you’ve felt this way before, maybe you were nervous about a presentation in school or an interview for a job or internship. Now the first thing to do is to find what’s causing you to feel this way and how to deal with it. Follow these steps to de-stess.

  1. Start a journal: Find a little notebook or diary as your stress outlet. Besides writing the highlights of your day, write about the things that are making you feel stressed.

  2. Find a special place: Search for a place where you feel relaxed and comfortable to be yourself. It can be your room, backyard or the coffee shop down the street. Go there anytime you feel like being alone and disconnecting of the world.

  3. Find a hobby: Hobbies can be a great distraction. Just try not to spend so much time at it. Remember responsibilities are always first. Try drawing, painting or playing a musical instrument.

  4. Make a calendar: If you’re stressed because of the amount of assignments or activities during your week, then write them in order of priority,. Write deadlines and dates to start working on them if they will take more than a day to do. Mark them as you finish each one of them. This way you’ll see what you’ve accomplished and feel more motivated to do the rest.

  5. Exercise regularly: Not only is it a way to stay healthy physically, but exercise is also great to help your brain. Physical activity enhances memory and learning. Exercising helps your body release endorphins, which are pain killers and will make you feel really happy. Try a sport to make everything more interesting and maybe find a workout buddy. Yoga is the ultimate stress reliever.

  6. Get enough sleep: Do you remember all those cranky mornings? Well that’s because sleep is very important for your emotional well-being. If you don’t sleep enough, you’re not able to function properly. Don’t even think about handling stress when you’re sleepy; it won’t work. If you didn’t sleep those beautiful 8 hours, try a power nap during the day. You don’t know how valuable it is until you try it. Just don’t oversleep.

  7. Pamper yourself: You don’t have to go to the spa or spend a large amount of money. Simple ways to pamper yourself can be done at home. You can take a bath, moisturizing and putting cucumbers over your eyes while you listen your favorite song.

  8. Focus on the positive stuff: Of course stress can be caused by more than one thing, but try to think of all of the good things in your life. It may not change the situation, but thinking of the good things can help you feel better. Some gratitude and positivity can be a big help in de-stressing. Think about the good things in life, you’ll know where to find the support you need.

Now that you know the tips to handle stress, try each one of them and feel the difference.
Good Luck!

Check One: Hispanic, Latina, or Spanish

census-hisp-q

In the wake of new and upcoming presidential debates, we are preparing ourselves to hear candidates’ proposals on improving our nation for the people who calls it home. The issues are broadly ranged, discussing topics such as healthcare, education, reproductive rights, and, of course, immigration.

It’s no surprise that the subject of immigration – which is somehow mostly referenced to Latinos – are going to be brought to the debate table in both negative and positive perspectives. It’s inevitable. However, there are perhaps a few simple adjustments every political party should make in their choice of wording regardless of their position on immigration. One of these vocabulary cautionaries includes attaching the description “illegal” and using derogatory stereotypes to purposely dehumanize us.

In this article, we will be talking about another flawed system of categorization when it comes to Latinos that is made by politicians and even Latinos themselves. It’s the difference between the terms Hispanic, Latino, and Spanish.

First, let’s review the difference according to their dictionary definition:

Hispanic - “of or relating to Spain or to Spanish-speaking countries, especially those of Latin America; A Spanish-speaking person living in the US, especially one of Latin American descent.”

Latino/a - “a person of Latin American origin or descent.”

Spanish - “the people of Spain; the Romance language of most of Spain and of much of Central and South America and several other countries.”

In a simpler explanation, we are not all Hispanic. Brazilians, who are Latino/as, are not a primarily Spanish-speaking country, but Portuguese-speaking. It is also important to note that not everyone of a Spanish-speaking country necessarily speaks Spanish. A lot of indigenous civilians converse in their native language. And for those of us who speak Spanish, we are still not Spanish. To be Spanish only means if you are a person of Spain. Since Spanish people obviously speaks Spanish, they are Hispanic, but they are not Latino/a because Spain is located in Europe.

This should be a vital observation. Every September, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, but porque “Hispanic”? Why are we disqualifying Brazilians from this annual celebration when Hispanic Heritage Month is not celebrated by the Spanish either? Is it because the term Hispanic is automatically assumed to coincide with Latinos? Is that wrong?

An experiment was recently conducted in a video by Peruvian and Columbian Youtube personality Kat Lazo. She displayed three different Latinas in pictures to the people of New York, asking them which one is Latina. The Afro-Latina was least likely to be chosen as the Latina. After, Kat Lazo asked the participants if they knew the difference between Hispanic, Latino, and Spanish. Spoiler Alert: most of them didn’t.

However, commenters brought another perspective to the discussion of terms. Many argue the labels are only important in the US, and the confusion wouldn’t of occurred if it wasn’t for European colonization. This is why several people of Latin America with indigenous roots are starting to reject the labels ‘Hispanic’ or even ‘Latino’.

And the various terms do for the most part complicate us. Latinos are united, but we are definitely not duplicates. We are not a race. Some of us are Indigenous, White, Black, Asian, or a mix of some (or all!). It is important to remember that each heritage and culture is unique.

What are your opinions, chicas? What do you describe yourself as? Are labels important to you? Let us know in the comments down below!

My Culture is Not a Costume!

My Culture is Not a Costume! The Deal on Cultural Appropriation

The leaves are changing hues, pumpkins are being sold on the side of the roads, children are preparing for their annual sugar high; this can only mean one thing: Halloween is creeping around the corner! And while the spooks of goblins, ghosts, and (fake) gore are traditionally expected this time of year, there is another horrid — and unfortunately, quite real — monster we most definitely rather shoo away.

Yes, chicas. This monster is called *cue the scream* cultural appropriation.

Dun, dun, dun, dun.

But have no fear! In this article, you will learn about this problematic trend, and you all will soon be anti-culture vulture queens.

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What is cultural appropriation?
Cultural appropriation is when elements of a culture is adopted, worn, or mainstreamed by another culture. It’s extremely (and ignorantly) sought-after in pop culture, but more and more people, especially those who identifies as intersectional feminists, are understanding the negative concept of this “trend.”

Why is it bad?

Intentional or not, cultural appropriation is a form of racism. Not too long ago, teen actress Amandla Sandberg, who is African-American, called out white television personality Kylie Jenner for wear cornrows which she displayed in an Instagram selfie.

In Amandla’s words: “When you appropriate black features and culture but fail to use your position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards your wigs instead of police brutality or racism…”

Her mature and insightful comment gained national notice. While a lot of people applaud Amandla, many labeled her as the offensive “angry black woman” stereotype. This is a perfect example of how cultural appropriation belittles the members of the culture being appropriated. Kylie is easily allowed to wear cornrows (she did again), while Amandla and other black women are discriminated for simply being themselves.

How does it affect the Latin@ community?
I’m pretty sure we’ve all seen a Halloween costume resembling the uniform of a Mariachi performer, a department store dress with indigenous patterns, or a white celebrity playing dress up and imitating Chola fashion.

But, what happens when a Latina identifies as and embraces Chola culture? What’s happens when an indigenous man or woman wear their customs in public? What happens when a Mexican musician is caught in their performance suit? Most likely, they will be mocked.

The issue is: our culture is not accepted in society until a mainstream brand declares it as vogue. And it’s only certain parts of our culture, like the pretty Aztec-inspired patterns or the colorful Dia de Los Muertos sugar skulls, but the people and history that formed these cultural customs are treated without dignity and respect.

Remember: You can appropriate, too.

In 2013 during the MTV Movie Awards, the beloved Mexican American cantante Selena Gomez staged her pop hit Come and Get It in a Bollywood-inspired performance which included accessorizing herself with a bindi, a sacred forehead decoration worn by Hindus. Although many of our readers and writers adore Selena, her actions were inexcusable, and she continues to be problematic (a year ago, she posted a picture on Instagram wearing a bindi and a traditional Indian sari, captioning “sari not sari”) despite members of the Hindu and Indian community asking for an apology, and most importantly, to stop.

Before you decide to wear a bindi, to decorate your hands with henna, to buy a kimono, to ask your stylist for dreadlocks, think: Is this my culture? How does this affect my friends in different communities than mine? How would I feel if someone from a different culture was wearing or using [insert your culture’s customs]? Chicas, your culture, as is everyone else’s, is unique and celebratory. Be you!

What do I do when I see cultural appropriation happening?
Speak out. Whether someone is a appropriating your culture or another’s, it’s important to educate society on the effects of cultural appropriation. Do not get discourage if someone chooses to ignore or disagree with your views because, sadly, it will happen. Instead, be glad if someone acknowledges your thoughts and recognizes their wrongdoings. You, your intelligence, and your words can make a difference.

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