"I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance." --Wesley Snipes

Friday, May 28, 2004


My brother insists that although the official language of Brazil is Portuguese, the majority of Brazilians speak Spanish. I think he's full of shit. I don't know any Brazilians. Can someone help me out?


Just returned from a lecture by Dr. David Vazquez on Gloria Anzaldua. David didn't talk much about Anzaldua, though. Instead he ironed out the meaning(s) of the following terms: Latino/a, Chicano/a, Mexican-American, Hispanic, etc. I found all of this very useful. In my home, growing up, the preferred term was "Mexican," which signified not a national identity (we're Americans, after all) but an ethnic/racial one. Now, I suppose, (based on Vazquez's definitions) I should call myself a Mexican-American. But I'm not really into hyphens.

It occurred to me that my relationship with Spanish is troubled, as well. On one hand, hearing Spanish spoken makes me feel safe. On the other, it alienates me. In my boyhood home, it was the language of my mother, my grandmother, many of my aunts--it made me feel loved, and that love was particularly feminine. I don't associate Spanish with men. On the other hand, it was always the language of exclusion. My mother and her sisters and my grandmother spoke exclusively in Spanish to each other only when they didn't want the children to understand. We were never spoken directly to in Spanish (except in cases of anger--I know what all the bad words mean)--Spanish was a "secret code" by which I was denied access to the grown-up women's conversations. Still, I managed to listen a lot, and pick up enough of it on my own. Later, in high school, then in college, I took Spanish courses. I still can't speak much. My brother--raised in the same household--can't speak or understand a single word of Spanish, save what he learned from the film "Blood In, Blood Out," which is East L.A. street dialect, cholo Spanish.


While attempting to procrastinate/do research on the Brazil thing, I ran across an article about a new dialect gaining popularity in Brazil that's a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish, roughly analogous, I guess, to the "Spanglish" of the American Southwest.


My Hebrew is better than my Spanish and I'm not even Jewish

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