I don't want to talk about revolutions which have happened, but ones which should happen, and as this is a literary blog, I would like to do a shout of for the Latino writer or should we say: Donde estan? Or in my tongue of Portuguese: Onde sao? Or in my slag English: Where in the hell are they?
Ok, there are SOME. We are given Sanda Cisneros et al so that we don't feel completely ignored. We are told that our work, is like Marquez (even by those who have never read Marquez), but why aren't we among other authors? Look at lists of Awards, look at lists of faculty in MFA programs, go through Poets and Writers and look at how many of our beatiful names are listed. Almost nada. I find myself counting "how many Latinos" in lit magazines and lit venues. It reminds me of when I first had sex I used to count how many times I've done it, until it became so many, I didn't count anymore because sex was normal and I was initiated into the adult culture. Latino writings too, need to be a part of our NORMAL culture. Authors, especially Latino writers are so grateful to be recognized at all, we almost do not mind being ghettoized in "special" readings, special Awards, special this and that. (And why-oh-why are the hottest grammies, the Latin Grammies only on the Spanish speaking station where most Anglos dare not tread? Bring us out in the open, companeiros.
And yes, Latinos/as writers you too. We cannot ghettoize each other. Being a Brazilian writer, I've been accepted as a Latina writer by some Latino venues, and rejected by others. And Brazilians you TOO, those of you who claim not to be a part of the Latino/a community, vergonha on you. Mexicanos, Puerto Ricanos, Cubanos, El Salvadorenos, Peruvianos, etc. We are at least one fourth of the world each with its powerful beautiful culture, we cannot stay silent. I have had people say to my face "I do not read Latino writers, yet in a heartbeat, go to Pancho Villa for a burrito and figure how much they love diversity. Loving diversity means opening your minds. Buy a Latino book. Go to one of our movies. Include us in more general readings (not just in the special "Latino authors" section). Give us recognition. Hire us. We are an amazing gente. It's not just the Che t-shirt. It's really about letting us in.
Kathleen de Azevedo
author of Samba Dreamers (about Brazilians in the US!)
Causes Kathleen de Azevedo Supports
San Francisco Food Bank
Doctors Without Borders
Friends of the San Francisco Library