Culture

An Instagram Influencer And Actress Threw A Mexican-Themed Birthday For Her Daughter And Her Fans Are Divided

Cultural appropriation is a touchy subject. It’s one of those topics that encourages fierce debate and is also very open to interpretation. For some cultures, to be embraced by those outside their communities in such a way is an honor to their customs and beliefs. For other cultures, it’s systematic of a problem that began thousands of years ago with European colonizers.

In other words, it’s a complicated and emotional topic that is impossible to definitively nail down but easy to grow angry over.

Which is why one Instagram influencer mom and the Mexican-themed party that she threw for her daughter’s birthday is getting so much attention.

Instagram / @happilyevereva

Writer, actress and blogger, Eva Amurri Martino recently posted pictures to her Instagram account of her daughter Marlowe’s fifth birthday. The party included her daughter wearing a Puebla dress and Day of the Dead Sugar Skull face paint, a “Cinco de Marlowe” cake, and a taco piñata. Along with the pics, Martino included a caption that explained the reason for the Mexican theme. Referencing her daughter’s upbringing by “incredible Latin women” and the child’s first language of Spanish, the actress expressed Marlowe’s love for the Mexican culture and the Disney movie “Coco.”

The caption reads:

“Anybody who knows Marlowe knows she is obsessed with Mexico- she has had incredible Latin women taking care of her from three weeks old, and one in particular from Mexico who would always call her “cinco de Marlowe” on May 5th. Spanish was actually Marlowe’s first language before English, which made me really proud that she was getting so much from another culture. We moved from Los Angeles, but when the movie Coco came out, Marlowe loved it and felt really connected to it because she had heard about a lot of the themes of the movie from people she cares about. She wanted all these things brought together for her fifth birthday since she was finally, actually turning “cinco”!”

Besides being fans of Mexican culture, Martino wanted to shed light on the issues at the border.

Instagram /  @happilyevereva

According to the the actress’ Instagram post, she has acknowledged the travesty at the border by writing about it, donating to worthy causes and calling her local representatives. She also included a link to her blog where she has written about family separation.

“From when this all first started, we have been donating to those affected- and I also wrote a blog post which I’m putting in my bio. (unfortunately, this has been going on a long time so the post is from a while ago. Please comment on it with additional charities you love). We also have been calling our senators.”

While she clearly explained the reasons for her theme of choice, many commentators on Twitter and Instagram were quick to call this a case of cultural appropriation.

Twitter / @thedealwithalex

This Twitter user attributed Martino’s later explanation of the party as “White” guilt. They also expressed their opinion that her comments amounted to little more than a fake apology.

This Tweet admitted that, though they didn’t know who Martino is, they felt as if she needed to stop.

Twitter / @_heyliz

We won’t argue that white people are one of the main perpetrators of cultural appropriation but remember that everyone can be guilty of this and all marginalized cultures can be appropriated from. That’s one of the reasons why cultural appropriation is so contentious.

This Insta comment expressed offense over the theme but appreciated the explanation attached to it.

Instagram / @molleeelizabeth

It seems like there would be a big difference between appreciation and appropriation but this is another gray area. One group’s version of appreciation can be offensive to the group being borrowed from. Perspective is what determines it in the end.

However, some found no problem with Martino’s party theme choice.

Instagram / @aylinesteck

This Insta user from Mexico expressed her appreciation for the party’s theme. As the comment says, it’s important to teach kids to respect and value other cultures as much as they do their own. If this party is able to accomplish that, then it’s a success.

Other Instagram users spoke to the sense of community and celebration that the Mexican culture has.

Instagram / @roady

Mexicans have a reputation for being family-oriented fans of a good time. So, naturally, a party honoring Mexican culture is a good way to pay tribute to this.

Still, while some Mexican descendants might feel honored by this party, others might be offended. Likewise, while some white people might say that it’s no big deal, some might call it out for cultural appropriation. That’s what’s difficult about cases like this. We won’t solve cultural appropriation today but let’s all agree to respect each other and extend an invite to the next big fiesta we throw.

 
 

This Coronavirus-Themed Lotería Is The Perfect Kind Of Humor I Needed Right Now And It’s Even Available To Buy

Culture

This Coronavirus-Themed Lotería Is The Perfect Kind Of Humor I Needed Right Now And It’s Even Available To Buy

PINCHE_RAF_ART / Instagram

Coronavirus. Covid-19. Pandemic. Social-distancing. This is all the news we hear these days and as important as it is to stay up to date on what’s happening with the virus and how to stay safe and healthy, forgive me if I don’t want a tiny break from all the seriousness.

So, you can imagine my delight when I was scrolling my Twitter feed and saw tweet after tweet about a Coronavirus-themed lotería. La lotería is a tradition soooo many of us grew up playing so it’s interesting to see it get a 2020 interpretation.

Could this be real? What could the cards for el mano or la botella look like in this Covid-19 reality we’re currently living in? I had to find out.

So I sat down with an artist who’s created his own Coronavirus-themed lotería set to find out more about his inspiration.

Credit: PINCHE_RAF_ART / Instagram

Artist Rafael Gonzales Jr. (on Instagram as @PINCHE_RAF_ART) has created a series of incredibly unique lotería cards that can really thank the current Coronavirus pandemic for their existence: from face masks and hand sanitizer to toilet paper roll, these cards are emblematic of the times we’re living in.

The modern take on the traditional game is called ‘Pandemia Lotería’ and each card (he’s made 31 so far) features a name and image inspired by our new normal of social-distancing, self-isolation, extreme hand-washing, and even the stimulus checks.

What message were you hoping to send about the Coronavirus and our current climate by creating these new cards?

“You know originally this was a very selfish endeavor. I needed a creative outlet for the new experiences we are all going through. It became a project that helped me to connect to others through humor and a childhood game.  Now, I think my message has become one of bringing a lightness to the heaviness of the pandemic. It is a serious global problem, but laughing at our shared experiences is what being human is all about.”

Have you created new interpretations of all 54 cards – or if not, do you plan to create all 54?

Credit: PINCHE_RAF_ART / Instagram

“I have about 31 cards completed and 2 additional specialty cards that won’t be in the game I am putting out soon. My plan for the project is to get as many cards in an art print as possible. I have been a little sidetracked creatively with some of the business side of launching an e-commerce [site] for the game. It has been a whirlwind, but people have responded really well to the cards and my goal from the onset of all this was to try and paint the situation in a light form. To sort of change the heaviness of the news cycle and remind people that better days are coming and those better days often include a game of lotería.”

Are there specific reasons you chose these images to illustrate these titles or what’s your thinking behind them?

Credit: PINCHE_RAF_ART / Instagram

“Visually la Chalupa seems so sincere and serene. I feel it is one of the more complex original illustrations of lotería, so I thought it would be a humorous twist to associate her with fake news and the dolphins in the canals of Venice that were virally shared. The quaran15 was a simple, self-deprecating joke that ran through my head after my wife started to bake more. From banana bread to cookies, I knew I was putting on weight and gonna be built like a barril after all this. I used to see my grandmother’s use Armour manteca all the time to make tortillas and so the coloring became a play on that.”

Are you taking any suggestions? I know people who would love to see Susana Distancia and Los Amuletos (thanks, AMLO!)

“I’ve received a ton of suggestions and I think it has been great. I think part of the reason the cards have been popular is because they are relatable. I sometimes sit with a suggestion and see if it is something I can put my own twist on, while also staying true to my own vision for the project. Some ideas I don’t think I can do justice to or put in the right context so that is why I haven’t taken them on.”

Will it be possible to purchase these loteria cards? Or if it’s already possible, can you point our readers in the right direction?

“The game itself will be printed in a few weeks. Preorders went on April 23 and people can reserve theirs here and other merch like t-shirts can be found on my online store.”

And Rafael isn’t the only one getting in on the game – even Mexico City has its own Coronavirus-themed lotería game.

Credit: @dondeir / Twitter

Like so many other cities around the world, Mexico City is still under a strict stay-at-home order to help flatten the curve. With so many people stuck at home, what’s better than playing a game of an old favorite but with a relevant twist? And as the game’s creators point out – while being reminded of the measures we should all be taking to combat this pandemic.

The Coronavirus Lotería is available as a download to use as a background, you can share it on social media, or you can even play remotely with friends.

And last December, Google commemorated the game with its very own Google Doodle.

Credit: Google

Last December, Google had an online version of the game that replaced some cards for modern talks. The El ApacheEl borrachoEl diablitoEl gorritoLa muerteEl negritoEl soldado, and El valiente cards were replaced with El ajolote (“the axolotl“), El buscador, La conchaEl eloteEl emojiEl gorroEl guacamole, and El xoloitzcuintle (or the Mexican hairless dog.)

Black Mother, Amber Isaac, Tweeted Concerns About Hospital Care During Childbirth Before Her Death

Fierce

Black Mother, Amber Isaac, Tweeted Concerns About Hospital Care During Childbirth Before Her Death

GoFundMe

COVID-19 isn’t the only epidemic that should have you feeling alarmed. Across the globe, Black women continue to be mistreated, overlooked, and undervalued in the hallways of medical facilities and amongst medical professionals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black women are “three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.”

Described by some medical professionals as a public health and human rights emergency the increasing number of birth-related deaths amongst Black women are preventable.

Just like the death of Amber Isaac.

Isaac was a 26-year-old black, Puerto Rican New York mother-to-be who passed away on April 21st.

While news of her death began trending last week on social media, most major news outlets have failed to report on the young mother’s death which occurred at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. According to ESSENCE, Isaac’s death stemmed “from complications in delivering her son Elias who was born after midnight.” Isaac’s partner Bruce McIntyre, 28. In an interview about his partner’s death, McIntyre said that Isaac died less than four days after she’d tweeted about wanting to write an exposé on dealing with incompetent doctors.


Isaac, who died alone due to current measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in hospitals, was pronounced dead due to complications with her cesarean section.

“All of this was 100% preventable. All of it,” McIntyre told The Guardian in an interview. “I feel like she would have got more attentive care if she was a white mother, to be completely honest with you.” According to The Guardian, McIntyre described Isaac’s pregnancy as being “riddled with neglect by rude and unprofessional staff at the Montefiore Medical Center,” who ignored Isaac even when she looked to them for help with her concerns during her final weeks of pregnancy.

Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, founder and president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative described Isaac to The Guardian as being a healthy woman who had done all that she was supposed to during her pregnancy. “And she’s not the only one. That’s the story of the black maternal mortality issue across the United States,” Dr. Crear-Perry said about Isaac.

According to the Guardian “In New York City, black women are nearly eight times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. Latinas in the metropolis – especially Puerto Ricans – also face higher risks of life-threatening complications during childbirth.”

“Unfortunately, what I see when I look at Amber Rose’s case is a beautiful young woman who fell through our big, gaping hole of a healthcare system,” Crear-Perry told the outlet.

Isaac’s death has sparked an outcry over the unnecessary deaths of Black mothers online.

Friends and family of the late mother have created a GoFundMe page to help support Isaac’s son and to give her a funeral service.