Culture

Some People Are Attempting To Discredit A Student’s Recent Perfect Score On A Spanish AP Exam Because He Is Latino

For those that believe Latinos automatically do well in Spanish class think again. The Spanish language among Latinos continues to decline. According to Pew Research, 73 percent of Latinos spoke Spanish at home in 2015, which has dropped from 78 percent in 2006. That’s to say, the younger generation of Latinos do not go hand-in-hand with Spanish as it is believed to be, and that’s what makes this story so extraordinary.

A 17-year-old Chicago student got a perfect score on his Spanish AP exam.

Before you think, well, of course, he got a perfect score, he’s Latino. That assumption that young Latinos understand Spanish and write it perfectly is entirely ridiculous. Speaking Español with mom and dad is not the same as writing comprehension in Spanish.

Out of 189,658 students, Arturo Ballesteros from Chicago was one of 100 to get a perfect score.

“I saw I had gotten a perfect score and was like, ‘Oh my God,’” the high school junior told NBC News. “I was blown out of the water.”

Ballesteros was in shock because he didn’t believe he did that well on the test.

“On some of the sections, I felt like I could’ve done better,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times.

His teacher, Benita Arguellez at Back of the Yards College Prep and Principal Patricia Brekke, knew Ballesteros had it in him.

“He has an incredible level of humility,” Brekke told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Yes, he’s incredibly smart, we all know that. But he’s a really good person, and that’s what makes him great.”

“Everything comes natural to him. He’s able to elaborate with the richest vocabulary,” Arguellez added.

So what exactly does this Spanish AP test cover? Lots.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the exam includes 65 multiple choice questions, a written persuasive essay that must outline “the value of digital library resources over physical texts,” a business email response, “an impromptu two-minute presentation comparing the cultural norms around keeping pets in Mexico and the United States, and discuss the merits of a career in law with a hypothetical acquaintance. All in conversational, college-level Spanish.” Holy cow.

Ballesteros credits embracing his Latino culture and the Spanish language for his perfect score, and of course, his parents.

“Spanish is a really great language. It’s the second most spoken language in the world,” Ballesteros told NBC News. “So I would say to students and young people who come from Spanish-speaking families to embrace that and learn from a young age, because it will be useful in your professional and academic life.”

He added that it is because of his parents that he will hopefully attend the University of Chicago when he graduates.

“I told my parents because I owe my accomplishments to them, but I don’t like to randomly talk about myself like that or come off as arrogant.”

We love that humility! Congrats, Arturo!

READ: Texas Official Under Fire For Telling Latina County Judge To “Speak English”

These Spanish-Language Films Were Some Of The Best Movies Of 2019 And Need To Be On Your Watch List

Entertainment

These Spanish-Language Films Were Some Of The Best Movies Of 2019 And Need To Be On Your Watch List

El Deseo Productions

Spanish-speaking cinema is perhaps in one of its best moments ever. After the huge success of the Mexican film Roma in the Academy Awards, the film industry’s spotlight has been placed on Spanish-speaking filmmaking coming from Spain and Latin America. Distributors and producers scramble to find the next big thing that can disrupt the status quo. We have selected a handful of movies that show that the region is one of the most interesting today when it comes to film productions.

Latin America is still coming to terms with the colonial past that still shapes everyday interactions, and also with military dictatorships whose right-wing politics are now resurfacing much to the disdain of activists and large segments of the population. Spain has also experienced recent turbulent years that have made Spanish citizens look at the mirror and question who they are.

But there is a common denominator in these films: Spanish language, perhaps one of the most expressive in the world. Some of these films were released in their home countries in the second half of 2018, but only travelled the festival circuit or were released in 2019 in other markets such as the United States and Europe.

Araña (Spider)
Country: Chile
Director: Andrés Wood
Cast: María Valverde, Mercedes Morán, Caio Blat

Credit: Arana Bossa Nova Films

A thriller that looks into the fascist right-wing CIA supported groups that did the dirty work for the government during the Pinochet years in Chile. A testament of the dangers of extremism in the South American country that gains relevance given the current sociopolitical climate, where activists are protesting against the neoliberal policies of president Sebastian Piñera. Wood is one of the most interesting Chilean filmmakers of the past decade and joins others like Sebastian Lelio and Pablo Larrain as the next big thing in the industry, 

Así habló el cambista (The Moneychanger
Country: Uruguay
Director: Federico Veiroj
Cast: Germán de Silva, Dolores Fonzi, Daniel Hendler 

Credit: El Cambista Oriental Features

Uruguay is not what you would call a filmmaking powerhouse, but when one of its films makes it to the festival circuit it is usually with surprising results. This comedy of errors follows a master manipulator and schemer through two decades, from the fifties to the seventies, as the main character finds increasingly convoluted and shady ways to hide money in Swiss accounts. A delicate indictment of capitalist greed. 

La Flor
Country: Argentina
Director: Mariano Llinás
Cast: Elisa Carricajo, Valeria Correa, Pilar Gamboa

Credit: El Pampero Chile

A kaleidoscope in narrative terms, this Argentinian film is made up of six episodes connected by four actresses. This film is as inventive as it gets, as each episode corresponds to a cinematic genre… this movie is film history packaged in a colorful and inventive audiovisual box. The film reminds us of the playful Historias extraordinarias, an episodic movie that reminded viewers of early Quentin Tarantino and his deconstructed storytelling, 

Monos
Country: Colombia
Director: Alejandro Landes
Cast: Sofia Buenaventura, Julian Giraldo, Karen Quintero

Credit: Stela Cine

An intimate war film that follows a group of teenagers who train as commandos in the jungle. Evocative and high in symbolism, this Colombian film reminds us of the intense yet contemplative nature of Coppola and his Apocalypse Now. Colombian cinema is alive and well, and Monos is proof of this. Colombian filmmakers have done wonders recently in showcasing rural identities… please watch The Embrace of the Serpent (El abrazo de la serpiente) if you have not already done so. 

La camarista (The Chambermaid)
Country: Mexico
Director: Lila Avilés
Cast: Gabriela Cartol, Agustina Quinci, Teresa Sánchez

Credit: La Pantera

After Alfonso Cuarón revealed how complex the lives of domestic workers, generally indigenous women, is in Mexico, Lila Avilés offers us an intimate look into the soul of a chambermaid who works in a high end hotel. Practically invisible to the people for whom she makes beds and cleans rooms, her existence is an intricate dance of entering and exiting spaces of luxury and the labyrinth-like entrails of the hotel. Unmissable. Lila Avilés will surely become a strong voice in the Mexican and international film industries. 

Dolor y gloria (Pain and Glory)
Country: Spain
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas

Credit: El Deseo Productions

The great Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar gives us what is perhaps his most personal film to date, and finds the perfect alter ego in one of his old collaborators, actor Antonio Banderas in what is perhaps the best role un his already legendary career. Perhaps the best film of the year regardless of language. And you know what to expect from Pedro: a colorful film with exuberant and sexy settings, gorgeous people, stabs at Spain’s fascist past and plenty of double entendres. 

These Are Our Favorite Latinx Comedians Who Have Comedy Specials On Netflix Right Now

Entertainment

These Are Our Favorite Latinx Comedians Who Have Comedy Specials On Netflix Right Now

Riase El Show / Netflix

Spanish is a rich and exuberant language that lends itself to creative use of words. In Latin America, using words in double entendre or doble sentido is a way of expanding the communicative capacities of español. And the comedians listed here let our darkest fears and deepest desires come out bursting as laughter. 

Netflix is investing heavily on Latin American original content, particularly in Mexico, Argentina and Colombia, where the stand up industry is more developed. Through humor, Latino comedians have a knack for talking about touchy subjects in Latin America, such as the traumatic historical past (including processes of colonialism and military dictatorships), gender and sexual diversity, and machismo. However, they do this with pointy comments and provocative acts that are designed to trigger strong reactions (some of them incite strong responses by being overtly open and even a bit inappropriate). If you wanna practice your Spanish, here’s a few titles that you def need to check out. 

Mexico: Franco Escamilla, Bienvenido al Mundo

Credit: Bienvenido Al Mundo / Netflix

Contemporary Mexico is a place of many contradictions, and some would argue even highly divided. Franco Escamilla uses crass humor to talk about his parenting experiences in a moment in which issues such as gender roles, woke culture and globalization have made Mexico a confusing but fascinating place to grow up. 

Mexico: Franco Escamilla, Por la Anecdota

Credit: Por La Anecdota / Netflix

Yes, Escamilla makes the list twice due to the variety of his repertoire. In this earlier show he laughs at himself and his many social shortcomings. This act is a provocation that invites us to rethink what masculinity means today, and how ridiculous it can be when it tries to hang on to senseless tradition. 

Argentina: Fernando Sanjiao, Hombre

Credit: Hombre / Netflix

If you speak Spanish you know how different Argentinian Spanish can be. It takes words from Italian and German… and Argentinians, particularly from Buenos Aires, tend to speak in a dramatic and very expressive way. Sanjiao speaks about masculinity and fatherhood in a hilarious way, talking about anything from the mysterious disappearance of Tupperware lids to how painful tango can be. And like any Argentinian he talks about therapy. 

Colombia: Arango y Sanint, Riase el Show

Credit: Riase El Show / Netflix

These two old timers are a true institution in their native Colombia. They can be judged as using a bit too much political incorrectness as they mock Argentines, dirty old men and everyday Colombians. If you wanna share a laugh with your old man, get a couple of drinks, put this on and build some memories.

Colombia: Alejandro Riaño, Especial de Stand Up

Especial de Stand Up / Netflix

Anyone who grew up in or has visited Bogota will ROFL with Alejandro’s witty social commentary. He is a bit of an ass at times, but he does it for the sake of his provocative style. He discusses issues that define  cosmopolitan life in the Colombian city, such as the dating scene, soccer fanaticism and styles of dancing. 

Mexico: Simplemente Manu Nna

Credit: Simplemente Manu Nna / Netflix

Manu Nna is a non-binary comedian who is open about the challenges and humor associated with being an LGBTQ person in Mexico City. Many Nna draws from Mexican popular culture and references old musicians like our eternal Juanga, as well as telenovelas and the way in which they have shaped the melodramatic psyche of Mexicans for generations.

Argentina: Lucas Lauriente, Todo lo Que Sería

Credit: Todo Lo Que Seria / Netflix

One of the oldest tricks in comedy is making fun of age, particularly if it concerns your own journey into adulthood and grumpiness. Lucas makes fun of different generations, placing himself as a middle-aged man who is starting to realize that hope is perhaps dead. His rants about millennials are particularly funny in their senselessness. 

Argentina: Malena Pichot, Estupidez Compleja

Credit: Estupidez Compleja / Netflix

Pichot takes the feminist flag to raise questions about sex, abortion, inclusive language and those men who just didn’t get the memo that the 19th century was over. A lot of cringe worthy moments that will make you rethink gender dynamics.

Colombia: Liss Pereira, Reteniendo Líquidos 

Credit: Reteniendo Líquidos / Netflix

Some Colombian women are truly hilarious when it comes to explaining the crazy expectations that society places on them (Sofia Vergara, anyone?). Apparently they have to look good and do everything as traditional gender roles are shifting and they also make up an important chunk of the productive force. Liss Pereira navigates the tribulations and involuntary comedic moments that pregnancy brings, Move over Kylie Kwong, we have a new reina embarazada in da house!

Mexico: Carlos Ballarta, Furia Ñera

Credit: Furia Ñera / Netflix

The ultimate dude comedian. He created a persona based on the iconic grunge legend Kurt Cobain. Ballarta does plenty of deprecating humor both about himself and the city of Guadalajara, where he lives with his family. He is real good on stage, and uses his imposing physical presence to give a clumsy but witty vibe.