Latin American Programs in the US, and what is, “of interest.”

Yeah, I’ve got a bone to pick today.

Listen, in my biz, getting a “no” is an everyday part of life.  I’ve gotten many “no’s” over the course of reaching out to people about my show, my writing.  The “no” sucks, but usually, I move on.

Except when I get this kind of “no”:  “Your show  is not of interest to our program.”

What kind of program would that be?  A Latin American Studies Program, of course.

And what is my show about?  My husband’s deportation from the US back to Mexico in April of 2001, and my experience with his deportation as his U.S.-born wife. Apart from living in Mexico for the past eight years, I am also half-Mexican.  So, it is safe to assume that I kind of have, “Latin American Studies” stamped on my forehead.

I want to be clear here-I understand that there is a very deep recession going on.  Sometimes there is the interest, but there simply isn’t the money.  I get that.

I’m talking about prominent universities where there is money, but my show, “is not of interest.”

I wonder, what is of interest to a Latin American Studies Program at a prominent University?

In the words of the anti-racist activist Tim Wise, a lot of it is, “food, fabric and festivals.”

I would also add archaeology.  And a possible survey course or two on  Latin American History.

I’m not saying that archaeology, history, and “food, fabric and festivals” are bad. But when that’s the sole and only focus, I do have a problem.

I’m not saying that all of us who have a profound interest in Latin American Studies have to agree, or that everyone has to promote my writing and shows.

But  I am saying that when you’re a white, US-born male who is directing a prominent Latin American Studies Program, I’m wondering whose interests you are representing as the Director of the Latin American Studies Department.

Because as a half-Mexican woman raised in the States, it certainly aint mine.

Sing it with me kids: Race, class, gender, US privilege.


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