Fierce

In “Negra Yo, Pero El No!” A Woman Tears Down The Racism That Exists In Her Mother’s Latinidad

We all know how annoying family can be, nitpicking and offering opinions about how we choose to live our lives. Sometimes, though, our relatives’ perspectives are more than frustrating—they can be hurtful, causing us to question and doubt our place in the world. For many of us, it may be really difficult to address these issues with our loved ones, and we might often need to process these complex situations on our own before we can make any progress within our relationships. For Twitter user Hot Girl Scholar (@2shotsofmely), art was part of this process. She addressed some deep family conflict through poetry, and y’all, Twitter was shook.

According to her pinned tweet, @2shotsofmely and her family emigrated to the US from the Dominican Republic when she was seven years old. In May of this year, she graduated cum laude from Clark University with a BA in English and a minor in Education, ecstatic to dedicate her degree to immigrant and first-generation students. By embracing her role as a “hood girl, educator, and undercover poet,” @2shotsofmely is “living [her] mama’s wildest dreams”—although the poems that have electrified Twitter focus on some hard-to-swallow cultural viewpoints, reiterated by su madre y su abuela.

In poetry, the author of the poem is not always the speaker of the poem, but because of the caption in @2shotsofmely’s post (“Heard it so much I wrote poems about it”), it is clear that these poems—displayed on the walls of Elevated Thought, a Lawrence-based art and social justice organization—are written from her perspective. 

In one poem, “Negra Yo, Pero El No!,” @2shotsofmely acknowledges the hypocrisy (and the shadowy nature of racism and colorism) that defines how her mother reacts to a hypothetical boyfriend: based on the title, we know that @2shotsofmely’s mother is black, yet she proclaims that if @2shotsofmely ever dated a moreno, he must have a thin nose—la nariz fina—green eyes like @2shotsofmely’s grandfather, and “good hair.” In other words, he must not have black features. Why? “Because hay que refinar la raza.”

In the other poem, “LGBTQue?,” @2shotsofmely explores the cultural stigma attached to LGBTQ identities, affirming that her grandmother would “prefer [we] open [our] legs for all the men in the barrio before we walk around with a sister in our arms.”

The original tweet has garnered over 2.3k likes and 900 retweets—people can’t stop gassing @2shotsofmely’s badass display of honesty, the simultaneous pride in and critique of her roots. Several people expressed solidarity, citing events from their own lives that mirrored @2shotsofmely’s poetry.

This Twitter user really related to @2shotsofmely’s experience on the receiving end of her mother’s words.

This Latina responded in Spanish, explaining that her own grandmother married a white man para “mejorar la raza,” but affirmed that it wasn’t her fault—this point of view, according to @ditasea88, is a remnant of colonization.

This Twitter user applauded “LGBTQue?” for its resonance and truth.

Her poems even moved some folks to tears.

Although each of these tweets suggests a common experience which is largely negative, the response to @2shotsofmely’s poetry was rich with compassion—not only for those other Twitter users who share that experience, but for the madres y abuelas whose lives were very different than ours, and who had to make different decisions as a result. History is complex and difficult to synthesize without a broad contextual understanding, and @2shotsofmely’s work draws attention to how cultural patterns from the past can leave a dark impact on the present. However, alongside the criticism and pain at the core of these poems, there is something else: a sense of defiance and hope.

Now, in the midst of the political chaos within our country, it is especially important to celebrate the victories of individuals and groups creating supportive platforms for folks—particularly people of color—to express themselves. It is always exciting to see expressions of Latinidad—from art to poetry to a bomb Insta selfie—spark conversation and communion, even if people are relating about moments that have left them hurt or bruised. In a way, this type of conversation creates a sense of camaraderie, amistad—a feeling of familia.  

And although a lot of Latina familias struggle with antiquated viewpoints (like those presented in @2shotsofmely’s poems), times are changing, and cultural expectations are becoming more inclusive to Latinx people with a range of diverse identities. Often, the more difficult aspects of our upbringing lead us to create meaningful work and connect with others who can relate to us—@2shotsofmely’s poetry is a great example of how intergenerational trauma can produce beauty, connection, and personal growth when you honor yourself and your dreams. @2shotsofmely, you go, girl!

Here’s What My White Husband Has Learned About The Latino Culture One Day At A Time

relationships

Here’s What My White Husband Has Learned About The Latino Culture One Day At A Time

My husband and I have been married for a little over three years now and he is still learning so much about myself and what it means to be Latino. I’m not talking about me having a big Cuban family all stationed in Miami (3-0-5 🙌🏽) or the fact that the best jokes in Netflix’s “One Day At A Time” are in Spanish. I’m talking about the little things that to me have always been a normal part of life. This is what has continuously caught him off guard…

If you ask him, I’m already turning into my abuela because of the things he is finding out, which to me is a compliment. Here are just a few of the things that he is starting to understand about our future together.

1. Seasoning your beans is hard AF but abuela makes it look easy.

CREDIT: gifnik.com

No matter how many times I try or how many techniques I use, my bean always turn out bland AF. This wouldn’t have been a problem if he didn’t have my abuela’s frijoles negro because now he has a reference point as to what beans are supposed to taste like. Though, he doesn’t cook so my bland beans will have to do.

2. That whole personal space thing is a white construct.

View this post on Instagram

I missed my hot mess buddy!

A post shared by Jorge (@cantstayput) on

One of the first things he realized about being married to a Latino is that all that personal space he once had is gone. I even go into the bathroom to talk to him when he’s in the shower because that’s 👏🏾 how 👏🏾 I 👏🏾 was 👏🏾 raised. 👏🏾

3. Family obligations cannot and will not be avoided.

Even if it means that you have to spend $800 to travel 3,000 miles back home for a weekend for your nephew’s first birthday, there is no getting out of family events. #BasedOnTrueEvents

4. My family raised me to be super eco-friendly (and very frugal).

The first time my husband saw me washing a Ziploc bag he asked if we had run out and that he could get some from the store. My response: “But, like, why do you want to waste money like that?”

5. Selena was and will always be La Reina.

CREDIT: anything-for-selenaaas / Tumblr

I know. I know. How did he not know this before is what you’re thinking, right? But you can’t hold it against him. I don’t think Selena had a very big following in West Virginia. There was no way he could have known that she is more relevant now than ever. Not to mention that she still wins Latin Billboard awards and I play her music nonstop.

6. My abuela’s obsession with reusing containers has been passed down.

After he came down from the initial shock of thinking that I left the sour cream in the Tupperware cabinet overnight, he made a joke about me becoming my abuela. I’ve never been so proud.

7. Calling a loved one “gordo” is not offensive.

View this post on Instagram

@f_uanteik #migordo #iloveyou #happiness #happynights

A post shared by Maka (@makare.92) on

Because, you know, someone calling you “my little fatty” is not okay. Imagine his shock when he heard a family member call me “gordito” in front of him. He was shook.

8. Every chore I do is just an excuse to put on Celia Cruz and dance.

CREDIT: mitú

Sure, I can cook in silence but nothing makes my time in the kitchen more enjoyable than some “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” or “La Vida Es Un Carnaval” blaring in the background. Plus, he is starting to learn some of her greatest hits.

9. Seventy-five percent of Latino cooking is just making that sabor.

To quote my husband: “Oh. So ropa vieja is like making pot roast then you make the flavor (sofrito). Yeah. White people are too lazy to make all that flavor.”

10. Being extra and loud is just in our blood.

I still have that trophy on our desk in the living room and he has mentioned moving it a couple times. Then I stubbed my toe, fall to the floor in tears, and he remembers why it is so prominently displayed.

11. Hot Cheetos are life.

He didn’t know they were so versatile but he’s not upset that we get to eat them all the time.

READ: 14 Things That Happen When A Gringo Marries Into A Latino Family

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

As A Queer Latina, I Can’t Praise Showtime Enough For Their Representation In ‘The L Word: Generation Q’

Culture

As A Queer Latina, I Can’t Praise Showtime Enough For Their Representation In ‘The L Word: Generation Q’

The L Word / Showtime

The highly anticipated sequel to Showtime’s iconic lesbian drama series, “The L Word,” is moving far and beyond the Latina tropes and giving us two very different Latinas of different classes, wealth, and family support systems. And they’re in love. The original series was set in West Hollywood, California, a place as sexuality-diverse as it is accessible only to the wealthy, thereby excluding racial diversity. The sequel, however, is set in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in East LA that has become the de facto capital of queer for a new generation of LGBTQ+ people. Bette Porter (Jennifer Beals) is running for mayor of Los Angeles, but is facing setbacks because of the queerness of her love life. Shane McCutcheon (Kat Moennig) has become a successful androgynous model, which hasn’t prevented relationship problems with her wife. Alice Pieszecki (Leisha Hailey) has become the new Ellen Degeneres, with a foundation set before her by the talk show host, Alice is able to offer a provocative talk show defined by feminism and queerness instead of just making people laugh. That very show becomes the grounds where we meet Generation Q. We meet two women who work together and are roommates and follow them back into their home to meet their roommates, girlfriends, and very hot property manager.

Instead of a Persian woman playing a Latina, “The L Word: Generation Q” has two main cast members who are Latina and are surrounded by their Latino family members who become the source of support or conflict in their relationship. Relatable already, no?

Dani Nuñez and Sophie Suarez are the central couple to
“Generation Q.”

CREDIT: @ARIENNE_MANDI / INSTAGRAM

Sure, Alice is starting up throuple’s with her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s ex-wife, but that drama feels far too out there to hit home. Dani and Sophie, however, offer a story we’re all familiar with, especially if you, too, are a queer Latina. Dani Nuñez (left) comes from a wealthy background. She is essentially the heiress to her father’s company, Nuñez, Inc, which deals in promoting opioids. In this alternate reality, the Nuñez’s are reflective of the Sackler family, which has faced harsh criticism as the face of the opioid crisis. America has turned to question crisis by questioning the insular morals of a singular family which has built an empire. “Generation Q’ re-envisions that moral conundrum by giving us Dani Nuñez, the Director of Communications of Nuñez, Inc., who begins to question her morals after Bette Porter asks her point-blank: “How do you sleep at night?”

Meanwhile, Sophie’s morals are perfectly aligned in her career as a producer for Alice’s feminist, queer talk show of the same name.

CREDIT: @80SBIANS / TWITTER

Sophie comes from a different class of Latinidad, which includes the perks of a tight-knit family unit. She exudes confidence while wearing a Wildfang coverall suit instead of an expensive business suit. Sophie enjoys the support of her family and knowing exactly who she is and what she wants out of life.

Meanwhile, Dani’s father’s homophobia becomes intolerable for Dani as the two take their relationship to the next level.

CREDIT: @LOGOTV / TWITTER

As a queer Latina literally named Dani with a homophobic father herself, I couldn’t feel more seen by how “Generation Q” portrays the psychological hardships that family homophobia can place on a relationship. Dani grew up with an implicit understanding that if her feelings didn’t fit into her family values, that the only way she could feel and process them was in isolation. That learned behavior trickles into her relationship with Sophie, and Sophie has a problem with it. Sophie’s family is constantly around, supporting them, and openly processing their feelings. There are no secrets.

“Generation Q” illustrates the nuances in how the child of a homophobic parent learns to navigate life and how it has much larger effects on their personal relationships. 

CREDIT: @SHO_THELWORD / TWITTER

So far, the show hasn’t just given us an Afro-Latina and a brown Latina. It’s given us a range of family dynamics that feel so familiar to so many of us. Whether you have Sophie’s family, who’s constantly bringing over tin-foil wrapped homemade food, even on a tour of a ritzy wedding venue, or Dani’s family, who, in order to please them, you have to compromise too much of your self. 

You can stream Showtime’s “The L Word: Generation Q” on Sundays.

READ: ‘The L Word: Generation Q’ Trailer Is Here And There Are Latinas Playing Latinas