Por QueEstelle Gonzales Walgreen
Hispanic Heritage Month - FREETANGA Time
“This is the time mi mamita and familia start looking for the discount coupons and anything we can get for free to feel more in tune with our heritage.”
I apologize to my legion of fans (all 5 of you) for not writing sooner, this is the busy social season being Hispanic Heritage Month. Between the discounted burritos at Taco Bell and nickel Corona’s at the local cantina I have been occupied. As you may all know this time of year is the best time and maybe the only time depending on who you ask to be Latino because its FREETANGA time, known as time to get free shit.
President Obama’s proclamation kicks off the month’s activities noting this as the time to ‘recognize and celebrate’ contributions of Hispanic Americans with ‘appropriate ceremonies, activities and programs.’ Admittedly, he does not mention anything about getting free shit but who’s listening to him since he didn’t say anything about immigration reform. He’ll regret it.
Anyhow, this is the time mi mamita and familia start looking for the discount coupons and anything we can get for free to feel more in tune with our heritage. I joined FREETANGA time when corporate America starting celebrating my people. Well maybe not celebrating since you usually have to buy something to get something from corporate America. I assumed since many have a dismal record on the number of Hispanics in management and in the board room I would be getting really good free shit as a measure of atonement. Not So.
The concept of celebrating certain heritages like the National American Indian (August) and Black History Month (February) is a unique American way to celebrate those races and ethnicities that have been taken for granted, plundered and pillaged. Actually, I don’t believe that but it does bolster my “woe is me I’m one of the oppressed” moods that overcomes me after kicking back a couple gin rickey’s at the white-establishment club I belong to. I also don’t want to give up dive bombing the sale bins at El Elcanto Latino, Macy’s 15% off one day only special - so let the ethnic-centric celebrations continue.
I must say it’s a sad lot of offerings this year. I knew this was going to be a disappointing year when Comcast was promoting “cultural journeys” via the remote control by promoting their Spanish language travel videos, so don’t start packing your bags to the Mexican motherland anytime soon. Then there is Colorado State University’s “Alcohol and Latino” lecture series – WTF – its party time not reality time nor time to discuss the many flaws of my people, we have Fox Network for that. However, the $225 Robert Rodriguez designed tee-shirts sold by Nordstrom’s in celebration looked promising except I paused to think about the average U.S. Hispanic making $731 a week. Maybe Nordstrom’s doesn’t read the news. Is that why high-end brands like Mercedes, Rolex and Hermes haven’t joined in the Hispanic Heritage Month celebratory bandwagon and don’t even bother to say ¡Hola! to 48 million U.S. Hispanics. How shortsighted.
Talking about shortsighted, take a look at Pepe’s El Original “Mi Amor Mi Chicharrones” contest and Toyota’s “limited-edition decals” Somos Muchos LATINOS. Yes its free shit but its cheap ass shit and my amigos, there is a difference. Worse than that it is insulting.
Pepe’s contest asks participants to share stories about the people who first introduced them to their love of chicharrones, also known as pork rinds. Rudolph Foods, owner of Pepe’s justifies this insult by stating, “chicharrones are the heart of Hispanic heritage.” Are you kidding me? You are selling me artery-clogging crap and don’t even know my culture, even my mamita doesn’t want your $200 prize and t-shirt.
The real mind bender this year in the FREETANGA search was indeed Toyota. You couldn’t come up with anything else to celebrate Hispanics that have made you “Latinos car of choice” with their hard earned money. With your $1 billion in recently reported profits – how about a free car, license plate holder or even a coffee mug? Better yet how about extending Latinos more credit for auto purchases. To top things off you use inappropriate Spanish ‘Somos Muchos Latinos’ that literally translates to “Alot of Us Latinos” or “Latinos We’re A Lot”. What are you saying - we are overpopulating the U.S.? Hey, that’s Tea Party talk.
Regardless of the disappointment I do enjoy the concerts, museum exhibits and thought provoking literature produced at this time. Every year thousands of companies try to figure out how to best ‘recognize and celebrate’ Hispanics and their culture. The really wise give scholarships to Hispanic students, donations to social service agencies predominantly working with minority communities and honor all people year-round regardless of ethnicity with fair wages and opportunities to get ahead– and that is some good FREETANGA.