Soooo…… many of you know I have an “irrational” dislike of one Ms. Jessica Alba but I swear that’s only partially why these comments I came across aggravate me so much.
Alba is a Mexican-American actress and, though I question her acting chops, she is an example of a successful Latina in modern media. Like it or not, that comes with strings attached. She’s not just an actor… she’s a female actor… and she’s not just a female actress… she’s a Latina female actress. She is an example to other woman of the brown persuasion (:P) and we have an expectation that she would wear that with pride. Instead Alba chooses to distance herself from what she apparently deems a less than appealing heritage.
We’ll let her words speak for themselves.
“I’ve got cousins galore. Mexicans just spread all their seeds. And the women just pop them out.”
“My grandfather was the only Mexican at his college, the only Hispanic person at work and the only one at the all-white country club. He tried to forget his Mexican roots, because he never wanted his kids to be made to feel different in America. He and my grandmother didn’t speak Spanish to their children. Now, as a third-generation American, I feel as if I have finally cut loose.”
“My whole life, when I was growing up, not one race has ever accepted me, … So I never felt connected or attached to any race specifically. I had a very American upbringing, I feel American, and I don’t speak Spanish. So, to say that I’m a Latin actress, OK, but it’s not fitting; it would be insincere.”
Why does a woman who needs to “cut loose” from her shameful heritage even bother doing things like gracing the cover of Latina Magazine? What if someone connects the dots and figures out’s that… GASP… she’s one of us!
I was raised in America, I love this country, I love the opportunities it has afforded me but making these things true doesn’t require denouncing my heritage. I also love that i’m curvy and brown and my lips are usually bigger than the girl standing next to me :) My Latina identity doesn’t end with my last name. I carry it around with me everyday and it’s not a burden.
I haven’t spoken Spanish fluently since I was a small child but that doesn’t make me less Venezuelan. I was brought to the states by a white, American couple and didn’t grow up surrounded by other Venezuelans. Does that somehow dilute my ethnicity?
I’ve encountered racism by those of different backgrounds and a lack of acceptance from other Latinos because of my upbringing but again… at the end of the day I am still a Latina. It’s who the Lord desired me too be and that’s beautiful.
There’s a richness to be found in a community where people embrace their heritage, cultures, etc… If we all walked around as one dull shade something valuable would be missing.
Racism and prejudice doesn’t end by becoming this “melting pot” where individual identities are forced to meld into something no longer identifiable. “melting pots” are actually an offensive concept; they require the party in power to overtake the identity of those without power. There’s no true victory over racism in that. Perhaps a tossed salad? We can all be a part of one creation but retain our own beautiful unique details. The spinach has a flavor to offer that the tomato can never duplicate.
There are, sadly, still many people who would like to squash the sense of pride that certain cultures have. We don’t need to help them get the job done by denying ourselves.
Bravo Alba! way to take one giant step back.
In that Latina Magazine article she was questioned about her history of statements that seemed geared towards distancing herself from her heritage.
“I always took pride in being Latina, it’s something I always embraced,”