Culture

@blaxicansofla Gets an Intimate Portrayal of What It’s Like Growing Up Black & Mexican

It’s already difficult trying to convince your others that you’re Mexican, Salvadoran or even Latino enough. But being part of two minority groups is twice the battle. @blaxicansofla is a platform that captures the true experience of biracial black and Mexicans living in Los Angeles.

It started with Walter Thompson-Hernandez who created this account dedicated to the research he was doing in grad school.

"My mother is from Jalisco, Mexico and my father is from Oakland, California. They met in South LA in the early 1980s and came of age in this community. My mother was almost always the only Mexican woman in my father's circles and vice versa. There was explicit racial discrimination that they had to navigate through for their relationship to have a chance. On top of that, South LA, in the mid-1980s, was experiencing one of the largest demographic, racial, and social transformations that it had ever encountered. And there was a strong movement to divide African American and Latinos in and around LA. Defining myself, with the understanding of this historical context, is why I have always said that identifying as a Blaxican is a political and revolutionary act." ?: @mychivas

A photo posted by Blaxicans of Los Angeles (@blaxicansofla) on

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

“I have always said that identifying as Blaxican is a political and revolutionary act,” he said in his personal account.

Dozens have joined his efforts and agree that Blaxican is it’s own identity.

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

And that the discrimination they face may be more than what others experience – But it has only made them more powerful.

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Especially because they’ve had the strength to not identify with one group or the other.

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Because why should anyone have to pick sides?

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Or be discriminated by their own race?

"I went to Mexico when I was five. It was nice but I could still feel the division. I'm speaking Spanish but people were looking at me like I was diferente. But my family never discriminated. My great-grandma loved me and treated us good. We could see a couple of stares and could feel a little of that on our backs but nothing bad. But it's difficult here. There's such a divide because even though we are Afro-Latinos and getting our numbers up you don't find too many. In New York you do and they have a good Muslim community out there. So they have a lot going on out there, but in LA our numbers are lower and we got to find where we fit in. That's why I was drawn to this project because it's hard growing up and going to your black family and they would be like why is your hair like that? Oh you got long hair? I'm gonna cut it off. And on your Latino side you're La Morena — it's definitely a struggle and it's good to be open minded." ?: @mychivas

A photo posted by Blaxicans of Los Angeles (@blaxicansofla) on

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Being Blaxican is beautiful.

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Participants are proud to share their parents’ love stories.

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Even R&B star Miguel understands the mix of cultures is a unique experience, yet sometimes frustrating.

#Repost @nytimes with @repostapp. ・・・ @miguel at the @boweryhotel in New York, where @malinfezehai photographed him earlier this month. @miguel’s first headlining tour — for his new album #Wildheart — will bring him back to the city in August. On his first two albums, @miguel, 29, presented himself as a typical R&B figure. Now, he's claiming his own more specific identity: a songwriter who finds his hometown — Hollywood, beaches, the suburbs, the ghettos — both around and within himself. “I really am #LosAngeles,” he said. “Not only in the sense that I’m Mexican and black, and they’re the dominating ethnicities in this city, but in the energy of Los Angeles, and how everywhere you go there’s this weird juxtaposition of hope and desperation. And that’s my life, that’s who I am.”

A photo posted by Blaxicans of Los Angeles (@blaxicansofla) on

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Although some feel they’ve had something to prove…

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Most use one word to describe their heritage: proud.

"If I had to use one word to describe how I felt about my racial background? Proud." ?: @mychivas

A photo posted by Blaxicans of Los Angeles (@blaxicansofla) on

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

What are your thoughts on this Instagram account? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to ? us on Facebook to follow all the cool things we’re doing at mitú. 

Now That Christmas Is Over, A Lot Of Latinos Are Getting Ready For Día De Reyes—Here’s What The Tradition Is All About

Culture

Now That Christmas Is Over, A Lot Of Latinos Are Getting Ready For Día De Reyes—Here’s What The Tradition Is All About

Now that Christmas is over, most of the world is getting ready to put the Christmas tree away and pack it up until next December arrives; not Hispanic people though. A lot of Latinos still keep the party going, and it doesn’t end until Jan. 6, when Día de Reyes, or the Epiphany, arrives bearing more gifts. 

What is ‘Día de Reyes’?

On January 6, most Hispanic cultures celebrate El Dia De Reyes, or the Epiphany, in remembrance of the day when the Three Wise Men following the star to Bethlehem, arrived bearing their treasured gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for Baby Jesus.  

The three kings of orient

Guided by a shining star, the three Kings of the Orient, riding a camel, a horse and an elephant, rode off into the desert to find baby Jesus. They came from different parts of the world, one was from Africa, another was European, the last was Arabic. The gifts they gave Jesus were gold: for a king, myrrh: for a man, and incense: for a god. This story represents the first time that gentiles turned to Christianity. 

The tradition in Latin America

The celebration of Jan. 6 is a tradition that dates back to the evangelization of the New World in the time of the Conquistadors, and has carried on to actuality. In Mexico and other countries, it’s the Reyes Magos who deliver the toys, not Santa Claus. 

In Mexico

Just a few days earlier, the children write their letters to the Wise Men, or to their favorite Rey Mago: Melchor, Gaspar, or Baltasar, asking for the presents they would like to receive. They tie their letter to a balloon and let the balloon float into the sky. On the eve of January 6, they’re supposed to leave their shoes by a window, with a little bit of hay for the Kings’ animals to snack on. The next morning the hay is gone, and the shoes are stuffed and surrounded with toys. 

Another traditional aspect of Día de Reyes is eating Rosca with cafecito or atole. The host usually invites family and friends over to ‘cut the rosca’. Inside the bread, there are several miniature baby Jesus dolls, and the person or people who find a baby Jesus in their slice of bread, must make tamales and atole for everyone on February 2, ‘Día de la Candelaria.’ 

In Argentina

As opposed to Mexico, where children write their letters and send them to the Reyes Magos via a floating balloon, in Argentina, the little ones leave their letters inside their shoes on the eve of Jan. 6.

A different tradition in Bolivia

In this South American country, the tradition is not so much around gifts and toys. It’s more of a family affair. In Bolivia, it’s traditional for families to take their ‘pesebre’ figurines to church, and have them blessed by the priest. At the end of mass, several families gather around the church to exchange figurines or ornaments and sometimes they give gifts to families in need. 

In Puerto Rico

This Caribbean country has another way of celebrating too. In Puerto Rico, it’s traditional to see children running to parks to rip off patches of grass. At the end of the day on the eve of Epiphany day, they stash the grass in a shoe box that they put under the bed for the Kings to find. The grass is meant to feed the camel, horse, and elephant and the Kings take it in exchange for presents for the kids.

READ: The Rosca De Reyes Is A Mexican Classic But Do You Know The Story Behind It?

We Found The Best Latino Eats At Trader Joe’s So You Wouldn’t Have To

Culture

We Found The Best Latino Eats At Trader Joe’s So You Wouldn’t Have To

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s may not be the first name that comes to mind when you’re thinking of authentic Latin food. But surprisingly enough, this cult-favorite specialty store has a variety of foods from across Latinidad that (while they may not be as good as abuela’s) hit the spot when you’re in a pinch. 

From Frozen quesadillas to packaged plantain chips, Trader Joe’s has a ton of foods from Latin America to satisfy your wallet and your tastebuds. And who knows? Maybe even your abuela will approve. Take a look at 10 of the best Trader Joe’s Latin food options below! 

1. Southwest Chicken Quesadillas

via Trader Joe’s website

According to Reddit user u/gratefulem220, these treats fly woefully under the radar. “Southwest quesadillas are so good. They’re like southwest egg rolls from any chain restaurant but in quesadilla form”

2. Chili Spiced Dried Mango

via Trader Joe’s website

You may have grown out of your Vero Mango days, but Trader Joe’s offers a sweet and healthy alternative to the famous Mexican candy. According to Trader Joe’s, this dried fruit is lovingly coated in a “blend of paprika, cayenne, sugar, & salt”. What’s not to love?

3. Chicken Enchiladas Verde

via Trader Joe’s website

According to Trader Joe’s, their Chicken Enchiladas are filled with “chicken breast, Monterey jack cheese, and a special enchiladas verdes sauce made from crushed tomatillo, onion, green chili peppers, and diced poblanos.”  We know it’s hard to beat homemade, but Trader Joes usually comes through with yummy late night snacks.

4. Mini Chicken Tacos

via Trader Joe’s website

Sure, these aren’t your madre’s tacos, but these Mini Chicken Tacos haven’t become a fan-favorite for nothing. According to Trader Joe’s, these tacos are made with crispy yellow corn tortillas, and then “are filled with chunks of chicken leg and breast meat that’s been simmered in a tangy, green chile tomatillo sauce kicked up with a bit of jalapeño pepper”. Sounds delicious.

5. Cuban-Style Citrus Garlic Bowl

via Trader Joe’s website

Finally, a snack fit for the Cubanos out there. While Trader Joe’s may be famous for it’s iterations of Mexican food (it was founded in Southern California, after all), once in a while, they throw the rest of Latinidad a bone. This time, they tried their hand at a Cuban Style Citrus Garlic Bowl. According to TJ’s, the bowl is made of marinated chicken thighs, yellow rice, diced bell peppers and onions, black beans, plantains, and cilantro. And to make matters even better, it’s topped of with mojo criollo sauce.

6. Black Bean & Cheese Taquitos

via Trader Joe’s website

Taquitos are arguably the perfect snack food. If it’s gameday finger food or mouth-watering appetizers, taquitos always hit the spot. These ones are made with “seasoned black beans & Monterey Jack cheese”. You can’t go wrong with this tasty vegetarian snack option. 

7. Chicken Chilaquiles Rojo

via Trader Joe’s website

Chilaquiles are a breakfast staple in Mexico, and TJ’s has offered up it’s own version on this savory treat. If you really want to take this frozen food to the next level, don’t be afraid to experiment in the kitchen a bit. “We made this this weekend, topped with sour cream, avocado, a sunny side up egg and a dash of hot sauce,” said Reddit user u/Pepperpeople444.

8. Roasted Plantain Chips

via Trader Joe’s website

In many parts of Latinidad, plantains are as common to Latinos as apples are to North Americans. Those who miss their sweet banana snacks are in for a treat when they visit Trader Joe’s. “They’re just crispy, crunchy, starchy goodness!” says Reddit user u/Hazy_Cat. “There’s just a teeny-tiny hint of sweetness that makes them ultra addictive. The TJ ones are my favorite”.

9. Giant Peruvian Inca Corn

via Trader Joe’s website

If you’re in the mood for something salty and crunchy but know that potato chips won’t hit the spot, opt instead for a bag of Giant Peruvian Inca Corn. “For years of my life, my favorite go to snack was TJ’s giant Peruvian Inca Corn. It’s crunchy salty goodness got me through many nights of school and games. Satisfied me through many hungry afternoons,” says Reddit user u/Doombuggie41. “Corn nuts don’t do the same thing”.

10. Trader Joe’s Peruvian Style Chimichurri Rice

via Trader Joe’s website

According to Reddit user u/crazypterodactyl, there’s a million ways to use this delicious frozen rice: “We make ours into soup (they had it as a sample one time). One bag chimichurri rice, one can black beans, one carton black bean soup. I add garlic and lime juice, but that’s not necessary. Serve plain, or with cheese, sour cream, and/or cilantro. So good and so easy!”