Updated: May 6, 2019
Written by Jose Benjamin Montaño
Ironically, recent political offense and tragedy developed in the days leading up to National Hispanic Heritage Month— the somewhat ingenuous, somewhat problematic attempt to recognize the social and cultural contributions of Hispanic individuals.
In the face of current exclusionary rhetoric and attacks against undocumented and documented Latin@s in the United States, the thought of Nike pandering to Mexicans to buy their new sneakers, or of the GOP claiming to honor the “numerous contributions of Hispanics”, felt like a cold, cynical slap to the face. However, despite my criticisms, I confess that I found myself taking more than I expected from the commemoration’s originally stated purpose.
In fact, it was my own mixed feelings on the issue that emboldened me to bring different, personal affect to the event—which, unfortunately or not—seemed to acquire new meaning in light of my serious concern for my peers.
Feat: Neon Indian, Helado Negro, Empress Of, Nicolas Jaar, Bomba Estéro and more.
Now, this playlist appears perhaps like an afterthought; an object of little political nuance, and of casual curation. But it’s been my soundtrack to the past few weeks, and a testimony to my experience. The ultimate and positive irony is that in a moment of political affront, hardship, and grief, an event as monolithic as Hispanic Heritage Month pushed me to reflect more than its proclaimers could have imagined.
This month, my language and my roots gave me even greater pride and greater reason to admire my peers in the classroom and in the workplace; to recognize the struggles for equity and justice undertaken by Hispanic individuals and; to aspire with greater reason to resist indignity with solidarity.