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Sisters Are Doing it for Themselves…in Spain

Hello Meltingpot Readers,

Black & Spanish = Kinky Gazpacho in my book.

Black & Spanish = Kinky Gazpacho in my book.

So, all of you regular readers know that el esposo is my Spanish husband and that I met him while spending my junior year of college in Salamanca, Spain and from a very young age I’ve had a love affair with Spain. And then all of my dreams about Spain were crushed when I learned that Spain has a very peculiar response to Black people, which I wrote about in my memoir, Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain. Whew, that was a mouthful.

Here's my new online destination for Kinky Gazpacho inspiration.

Here’s my new online destination for Kinky Gazpacho inspiration.

Anywho, Spain has been and continues to be the lover I know I should stay away from, yet I can never resist her charms, so I’m always looking for ways to overlook her shortcomings and stay focused on her positive attributes. But that’s really hard when it seems the only thing written about Black people in Spain seems to be a lament about the country’s deeply entrenched racism and ignorance about cultural sensitivity. Or articles like this. So, imagine the joy when I discovered this new website called, Las Morenas de España (The Black Women of Spain). It is a gorgeous online destination created by Black women expats who are chronicling their own love affair with Spain and helping others along the way. It was just what I needed to get my groove on again with España.

Now to plot my next trip. I’d like to spend some time in Barcelona.

What about you, dear readers? What have your experiences been like while traveling in Spain? Where you welcomed with open arms? Did you find the culture to be racist in any way? Did you eat churros con chocolate at dawn? I’m totally listening.

Hasta pronto!

#WomensLives Being Black in Honduras: One Woman’s Story of Longing and Belonging

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Women Matter!

Women Matter!

I am so excited that I am getting the chance to take part in an initiative to highlight the lack of focus on women and women’s issues in the news media and really in society at large. Public Radio International (PRI) has spearheaded this initiative called Across Women’s Lives and has partnered with Blogher to help get the word out. Blogher is how I get involved.

My job is simple. I get to highlight all of the amazing journalism PRI and its media partners are creating that highlight women all over the world. From the PRI website, here’s a sense of what they are trying to do. ” PRI’s The World and our partners will travel across the globe to share stories of what it takes to change the status of women. We’ll look at how initiatives that raise women’s status affect their communities and countries.

As a female journalist myself, I know I always interpret the news and tell stories from a woman’s perspective, so I am flabbergasted by statistics that show “only about 24 percent of all news subjects talk about women in any way and only six percent of news stories highlight gender inequality.” That’s unbelievable to me, yet not really. *sigh*

But PRI is doing something about it in a big way, and I’m ready to lend a hand and a voice. As I said, my job is to simply show you all what great stories are being produced by PRI about women all over the world. Of course, this story about the plight of Black people in Honduras caught my eye. I have never heard of the Garifuna culture before listening to this story. Now I must add it to my list of “Kinky Gazpacho” communities of color in Spanish-speaking countries.

Here’s the radio version of the story. Enjoy!

Peace!

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due: A Call to Change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Hello Meltingpot Readers,

Did you ever stop to think why you get a day off for Columbus Day? What exactly is it we are celebrating? Some of us didn’t really celebrate anything at all today and reported in for work, but that’s beside the point. The real point is that celebrating the man who accidentally bumped into the American continent, thought it was India, and then tried to lay claim to the land for his European employers, despite the fact that the land was already inhabited, is kind of insane. I mean really, insane. As I saw on somebody’s Facebook page today, we should celebrate Columbus Day by breaking into someone’s house and then telling them that the house is now ours. Yeah, that would be more appropriate.

On national level, a lot of people think it would be more appropriate to honor the indigenous people of the United States on October 12 instead of Columbus. One such person, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, is a professor, activist and author with a new book out called, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (Beacon Press). She has created a petition to send to President Obama to have the holiday officially changed. Two cities, Minneapolis and Seattle have already made the change, but Ortiz wants the entire country to come correct. I signed her petition. If you want to as well, follow this link to WhiteHouse.gov. It’s quick and easy and every single signature makes a difference.

What do you think about this issue? Should we change the focus of the federal holiday? I’m so listening.

Peace!

How Do You Say Colorism in Spanish (and Portuguese)?

A Casta painting that shows all the different permutations of 'race' based on color in colonial Spanish America.

A Casta painting that shows all the different permutations of ‘race’ based on color in colonial Spanish America.

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Since today is Round-Up Wednesday and since it seems I can’t escape the stories about colorism in the Latino/Brazilian communities, I thought I’d just share two stories that really made me realize how much the new book I’m working on is needed. My new book is all about colorism in Black, Latino, Asian and interracial communities. Clearly I can’t write it fast enough.

Check out this story that appeared on the Huffington Post Latino Voices yesterday. It’s a personal essay written by a Dominican-American male who tells of his racial coming-of-age in New York City. In the essay he admits that even though he looks Black, he’d do anything he could to not be identified as such, including perming his hair. It’s deep.

And then turn your attention to this Salon.com article about a Brazilian pop star who had to go through a light-skin makeover before she was deemed ready for primetime. The story goes beyond Brazil in looking at what pop stars the world over have to look like and the answer is White. White. White.

I know this is reality. Heck, that’s why I’m writing the book. But doesn’t it just seem crazy that people can only see beauty in white skin? What is that about in your opinion? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And I mean really, I’m taking notes.

I’m so listening.

Peace!

Wednesday Round-Up: New Year, New Blogs that Taste Like the Meltingpot

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Because I live in academia, the advent of fall feels like the beginning of a new year to me. It’s where the reset button gets hit and we start all over again. I get a new crop of students, new classes and new writing projects to work on. My kids are starting new grades; I’ll have a 7th grader, a 4th grader and a full-day day care/preschooler for the first time. So, with all of this starting over, I’m feeling like I need to freshen up the Meltingpot too. I’m thinking about changing the layout, the colors and adding some new elements too. I also want to update my tasty meltingpot links over there on the side. And that’s where I’d like your help. What websites and/or blogs do you visit on the regular that you think Ms. Meltingpot and her readers would enjoy? Please share your thoughts and ideas and if I do like them, I’ll add them to my updated list. Here are a couple of sites I’ve recently discovered that I think are just delicious.

1. The new and improved MyBrownBaby.com. Denene Millner always has something relevant to say about parenting and pop culture, and she does it in a way that always has me nodding my head in agreement. Now, with her updated look, the site is even more of a pleasure to visit. And note, you don’t have to have a brown baby to visit.

mamiverse2. Mamiverse. I’m not Latina, but I kind of feel like I should know how to raise little Latino children considering my kids are Black and Spanish, which pretty much = Latino. Mamiverse is a beautifully presented lifestyle website with Spanish and English content for Latina moms or people who sometimes pretend to be Latina moms. Like me :)

3. HairStoryOnline. Yes, that’s my new, all-things Black hair blog, but I’m not  the only contributor. Seriously, if you want to know how Black hair and pop culture intersect on a daily and global basis, come check us out. There’s always something happening in the world of Black hair and of course, all textures are welcome.

4. NPR’s CodeSwitch. CodeSwitch’s tagline is ‘frontiers of race, culture and ethnicity,’ so you know Ms. Meltingpot is all over this blog. The stories the CodeSwitch team produces appear online and on the radio and they keep people thinking about race and such all over social media. These are some super smart people from very diverse backgrounds creating really quality content about topics mainstream news outlets often overlook.

Okay, people. Now it’s your turn. What websites should I add to my list for the new year? You know I’m listening.

And don’t forget, you still have one more day to enter to win a pair of tickets to see Romeo & Juliet –the interracial version – on Broadway. Leave your comments on Monday’s post to enter.

Peace!

A Latina Teen “Comes Out” as Black

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

No time to write, but I stumbled upon this interview on NPR about a Dominican teen who finally realized that she was Black after she stopped straightening her hair. Basically she realized that being Black and being Latina were not mutually exclusive. Score one for the Afro-Latinas!

Enjoy!

Babygirl is Bilingual

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

I woke up this morning with babygirl by my side as usual. And as usual, we went through our regular morning snuggle routine which includes me asking babygirl to point to her nose, eyes, mouth and ears. Usually this game means I take babygirl’s hand and guide her to the different parts of her face. Then she  responds by grabbing a handful of my face, usually my lips, and tries like the devil to pull them off. This is followed by uproarious laughter. Hers, not mine. I know, sounds delightful, but I just assume one day babygirl will reward me by actually pointing to her nose herself.

Well, Meltingpot readers, today was that day!

Preparing for my usual lip twist, babygirl shocked the sugar out of me when she very deliberately pointed to her nose when I asked, “Where’s your nose?” I then scared the sugar out of her when I  screamed squealed in delight. Now,  el esposo was close by. And since he believes I carried babygirl for nine months and birthed her without the use of pain reducing drugs for his sole pleasure, he had to show me that babygirl could do the same in Spanish. “Donde esta la narîz? he asked sweetly. And wouldn’t you know it, babygirl pointed right to her nose.

And there you have it. At exactly one year, babygirl has proven to us that she is bilingual. El esposo and I are so proud :)