A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Latinos are poised to become the largest minority group in the United States, if they are not already. Additionally, by 2050 they might comprise the majority of people in the U.S.

Latino birth rates and our mobility (i.e. traveling to where there is work regardless of national and regional borders) have given us an edge as the birth rates of Anglos and Blacks have decreased. Latinos constitute an ethnic group whose parameters are difficult to define. The actual definition from the 2000 Census is even more abstract,

"Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano," "Puerto Rican", or "Cuban"-as well as those who indicate that they are "other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino." Persons who indicated that they are "other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino" include those whose origins are from Spain, the Spanish-speaking countries of Central or South America, the Dominican Republic or people identifying themselves generally as Spanish, Spanish-American, Hispanic, Hispano, Latino, and so on.

An important caveat is that people who define their "origin" as Latino can actually be of any race, which is pretty singular if you think about it. I mean, how many Italians do you know that would classify themselves as Black? Or, how many Irish do you know that would classify themselves as Asian? And yet Black and Asian are two races that share a rung of the Latino chromosome. For example, you can be Black and Honduran and yet have a very different experience than a Dominican mulatto.

Believe it or not, these two subsections of the larger ethnic group, Latino, would have very different ways of talking Spanish, and their phrases, vocabularies, and symbols for things would be very different(i.e. the word for kite in the Mexican dialect of Spanish versus in the Argentine dialect of Spanish, etc.). In addition, users educational attainment, sophistication, and manipulation with Spanish and English might be galaxies apart.

To bumblefuck (academic term) the matter a little more, an Anglo-American or token white guy would look at both and conclude that they are both African-American. It is with that same confidence that a token white mammal would look at me and say, Mexican or Yemeni or Pakistani, when I am a first generation American whose parents are from Argentina. Latinos are different because, the variances found within the Latino group are held together by the Spanish language.

Language is aorta of poetry; Poetry is a vital conduit of culture; it is the lightning rod for Poesis, or the study of culture and language. Poesis is also concerned with the interplay of artistic mores.

While readership of Poetry has certainly dwindled, it has followed similar attrition rates than Literacy in general (as Dana Goia has been descrying since 2004). Less and less people are reading poetry is definitely true, but less and less people are picking up books is true as well.

In addition, poetry's biggest readers (read: followers) are poets or student of poetry themselves. A collection for any library make sense in light of these arguments, but what practical value is there for a library to carry the Poesis of the dominant minority group?

1 comment:

J E Molinas said...