Culture

8 Book Characters Who Could Honestly Be Latino

With the casting of a black actress as Hermione Granger in the upcoming play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” there’s been a lot of talk as to whether that’s true to the canon or not.


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Credit: Pottermore / Twitter

While many a faceless person on the internet was outraged by the fact that a black woman was portraying one of literature’s most beloved characters, author J.K. Rowling shut down the haters immediately:


Credit: Twitter / J.K. Rowling

This brings up an interesting thought: How many of our favorite literary characters could actually be people of color, and more specifically, Latino? Without Hollywood’s habit of whitewashing, could there be more opportunity for beloved book characters to shine as Latinos on the big screen?

Here are eight book characters who could totally be Latino (hint hint, Hollywood):


1. Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games

Credit: Jason Chan / JasonChanArt.com

Everyone’s favorite dystopian YA character is described as being slender with “black hair, grey eyes and olive skin.” Seriously — olive skin and black hair? Sounds like quite a few Latinas I’ve known! What’s a little upsetting is that the casting call for Everdeen asked specifically for a Caucasian actress (who is “underfed but strong”), despite the fact that an olive complexion and dark hair could open the door to many ethnicities. But, hey, it’s Hollywood after all.


2. Hazel Grace Lancaster, The Fault in Our Stars

Credit: 20th Century Fox

If just reading the name of the protagonist from John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars” made you cry, hang in there. The only physical descriptions of Hazel Grace are that she has brown hair and green eyes. Who’s to say this character couldn’t be portrayed by a Latina? No hate to Shailene Woodley, who is a true queen; we’re just dreaming here!


3. Bella Swan, Twilight

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Credit: Summit Entertainment

Bella is described as having brown hair, brown eyes and pale skin, which totally leaves the door open for Bella being Latina. Also, it’d give her name that much more impact! It might feel like a stretch, but look at this way: So much of mainstream pop culture automatically assumes the default human is a white gringo. (Spoiler alert: There’s some pale Latinos out there, too!)


4. Jonas, The Giver

Credit: The Weinstein Company

OK, let’s put aside the fact that in the film adaption of “The Giver,” they tried to make Jonas into some sort of One Direction understudy heartthrob even though he’s literally an 11-year-old boy, people! Regardless, he’s really only described as having brown hair. You know who else has brown hair? LOTS OF LATINOS. I mean, if you’re asking me, it’s pretty obvious Lois Lowry wrote her protagonist as a young, Latino boy, yeah?


5. Elisa, The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Credit: Green Willow Books

Elisa (full name: Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza) is the main character in Rae Carson’s series, “The Girl of Fire and Thorns.” Despite what the cover art might lead you to believe, Elisa is described as “overweight” and “brown-skinned.” So what’s a skinny white girl doing on the cover? Who can really say, beyond causing all of us thick Latinas to roll our eyes, I guess. No movie has been made of this series yet, so if it ever does head to the big screen, here’s hoping for casting that stays true to the source.


6. Elliot North, For Darkness Shows the Stars

Credit: Balzer + Bray

Ahhh yes, another book where the cover depicts the protagonist as a willowy, nearly translucent woman when in fact she’s described as having dark skin, almond-shaped eyes and dark hair. This is another book that has yet to see a film adaption, so this is another chance for casting to get it right.


7. Sam, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Listen, I’m all about the casting of Emma Watson in anything. But Sam is a character that could’ve easily been a number of different races and backgrounds. Charlie describes her as beautiful and dark-haired, with green eyes. There’s not much else to speculate on, and yet it’s one of those things where she could’ve just as easily been a Latina. The point is: WHY NOT?!


8. Johanna Mason, The Hunger Games

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Credit: Lionsgate

Only Johanna’s hair color and physical strength are described in the books. Noticing a trend here? There’s so much room for diversity in books, and the ones that are made into movies could easily include people of color. All of the characters here just happened to have dark hair, but who’s to say that if a character has, say, blonde hair she automatically has to be white? We Latinos come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Hollywood might still be stuck in the ’50s in a number of ways, but here’s hoping for a more open mindset.


READ: 7 Young Adult Authors You Need To Read Before You’re 30

Who are some book characters you think could be Latino? Let us know in the comments below!

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Latinas Share Why They Wanted To Teach Their Children Their Native Language

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Latinas Share Why They Wanted To Teach Their Children Their Native Language

Stephen Dunn / Getty

In a world with so much rising intersectionality and access to language tools, many still feel that passing along the traditions of their languages is necessary. Studies have shown for decades that children who grow up in an environment where they’re exposed to different languages have a pathway ahead of them that is full of promise. Particularly when it comes to education and career opportunities.

But why else do some parents find it essential to teach their children their family’s native languages?

Recently, we asked Latinas why learning their native language is important to them.

Check out the answer below!

“So they can be a voice for others in their community .” –_saryna_


“Besides the fact that bilingual kids use more of their brains. I’d like to teach my baby my native language so they can feel closer to our roots and be able to communicate/connect with our community not just in the US, but in Latin America too.” –shidume

“So that when the opportunity arises they can pursue their endeavors with nothing holding them back!” –candymtz13


“It not only helps them be multilingual, but also reminded them of their ancestry. Their roots. It builds a certain connection that cannot be broken.”-yeimi_herc


“So they can communicate with their grandparents, so they have double the opportunities growing up so they know their roots. So many reasons.”
elizabethm_herrera

“Know where you came from, being bilingual for more job opportunities later, being able to communicate with family members.”- panabori25

“I don’t have children but I think a language is tied to the culture. For me Spanish is a direct representation of how romantic and dramatic and over the top in the most beautiful way latin culture is. Also I’m Dominican and we just blend and make up words which really represents how crazy my family is.” –karenmarie15


“If I don’t and they lose ties to their people meaning my family who only speaks Spanish and Italian than I myself am harming them. As a preschool teacher I always tell parents English will happen eventually that’s the universal language but teach them their home home language the one that grandma/pa and the rest of the family speaks. They lose their identity. Sure they make up their own eventually but they must never forget where they come from.” –ta_ta1009


“So he doesn’t lose the connection to his grandmother and great grandfather who only speak spanish. So if he ever hears someone struggling to communicate he can help and feel a sense of pride in his roots/culture. 🇸🇻 plus 🤞🤞 I want him to pick up a 3rd language too!” –cardcrafted

“To give them more opportunities in life. I feel that some stories can only be told with authenticity when they’re in their native language. If you have the opportunity to do so, please do.” –titanyashigh

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Latinxs Talk About Consent And How Their Parents Helped Them To Understand What It Meant

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Latinxs Talk About Consent And How Their Parents Helped Them To Understand What It Meant

Scott Olson / Getty

In the weeks following the allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, discussions about consent and the #MeToo movement have gained more traction. Given the recent conversations about violence against women and discussions that dabble in “blurred lines” and question that the state of mind and memory of victims, our FIERCEteam talked about the meaning of consent and where we learned how to find our voice and say “no” when we want to.

Understanding respect for boundaries.

“My parents never really had a conversation with me about consent, at least none that I remember. I recall on a couple of occasions my mom just telling me that if i was dating someone, I had to make sure that I felt respected at all times (and vice versa), and that whoever I dated had to understand that “no” meant “no” and would never force me to do anything I didn’t want to do. It was always made clear that it was up to me where I wanted to draw the line, but the sooner I set my boundaries the easier it was, and to make sure I never led anyone on.” – Jess

Having the uncomfortable but necessary conversation.

“To be honest my mom didn’t really like to touch the subject from what I remember. Maybe I was too little to remember or understand? I know it is probably an awkward and hard talk to have with your kids. I do feel like it’s extremely important. One thing is for sure, my mom did let me know which parts were mine and that it was wrong if anyone touched me there. That is all. I guess she probably just wanted to throw it out there so I understood and so that she could move on from that “awkward” topic. To this day she does not like to talk about anything sexual to me. This could possibly be a common thing with Latino parents. Skipping over this talk, taking it lightly. I truly wish she could have been more open with me, even so right now.” – Jenny

Understanding it as a man.

“My mother always made sure to let my brother and I know that we have full autonomy over our own bodies. She’d say ‘Nobody has the right to pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do. If you feel uncomfortable during any situation, call me and I will pick you up immediately, no questions asked.’ This was when I was in high school and wanted to go to parties. She was also very clear with us that the same way we had freedom and autonomy over our bodies, so did everyone else. We had no right to pressure others to do something they were uncomfortable with. It was something that she made clear was abhorrent and inexcusable. Just like we want to feel free to be ourselves without fear of being abused or mistreated, we need to see everyone else with the same fear and privilege to dictate what happens to their bodies.” – Jorge

The mom who used lessons on consent to empower.

“My mom raised my siblings and I very Catholic, so she always told us sex was for marriage. That aside, she also told us that our bodies were to be respected and treated like the most sacred thing. Growing up, I always thought she was overly strict when she would tell me things boys shouldn’t do, but now that I’m older I know that she was teaching me about consent and boundaries. She constantly reminded me that my body was mine and no one else’s property. She also role played with me and put me in pretend scenarios where she’d get close to me so that I would practice saying “stop” to the other person. I was very shy, so she did her best to strengthen me and teach me ways to be comfortable enough to say “no” and not clam up.” – Wendy

Learning it from home.

“My mom started having discussions with my siblings and me about our bodies and consent for as long as I can remember. Looking back it’s very clear that she was instilling in us the knowledge that we had autonomy over our bodies, a right to say “no” and understand that there are people out there in the world who take advantage. I remember her bringing up conversations around this rather frequently, whether it was on a drive to school or on our way to spend time with a family member. She always wanted us to know that  if anyone ever made us feel uncomfortable or weird or embarrassed about the way they interacted with us physically or verbally that we had to speak up for ourselves. We didn’t use words like “vagina” in our house, we used “totico” but my mom made sure we knew that this was ours and that no one was allowed to touch it. She also made sure we knew that it was wrong to touch other people. It went both ways. She harped on this a lot when it came to my twin brother especially. She’d also always tell us to say the word “no” and that if something made us feel uncomfortable we had to tell her. My mom was very big on letting us know that if an adult that wasn’t her or my father told us to keep a secret between the two of us or threatened us that they were wrong and that we had to tell her. Looking back I really appreciate that now. I think it’s definitely helped me on the few occasions that I felt as if someone was attempting to take advantage of me.” – Alex

On how not talking about it made things a little more complex.

“I never had the ‘talk’ with my parent about sexuality. My mom got pregnant with twins when she was only 19 years old, and it was very hard economically for my parents to raise them. When I got my first boyfriend, my mom’s only concern was that I should use always protection, she didn’t care if I had sex or no, as long as I use protection to avoid getting pregnant at a young age as her. I guess we never had the talk about consent because my mom never experienced it before, she just tells me that she will be there for me if I want to talk about it. I experience it for the first time in college and it was hard for me to say “no” because I never had the talk and at my catholic school they never taught us about sexuality, so I was really naive on the topic of sexuality and consent.” – Danna

The parents who used consent talks to share defense methods.

“As an only child having conversations about consent with my parents seemed to be a frequent discussion. Whether or not I wanted to listen to them back then, looking back now I know my parents were simply engraining confidence in me from a young age to defend myself in any given situation. When I was younger my parents enrolled me in self defense classes not as an extracurricular activity but more as an everyday practice. Although, I always found them to be strict I know they were doing their best job to project me.” – Victoria

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