Saturday, June 16, 2007

Quick Rant

“I’ve got cousins galore. Mexicans just spread all their seeds. And the women just pop them out.”

...

“My grandfather…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.”

(via)

Jessica Alba used to be my favorite of all the plastic Hollywood starlets currently out there. She's beautiful in a high school crush kind of way, she has pug dogs, she gives her fans cupcakes. What's not to like? (Don't say "her acting"--I don't think I've ever actually seen her in anything.) But this is depressing. The first statement isn't inherently bad, I don't think. Mexicans--or almost any Catholic immigrant group in the US at one time or another--can claim this stereotype if they wish, own it as their own, make jokes out of it: fine. But the nature of the second comment contextualizes what Alba means when she talks about "popping them out"--it's not 'we Mexicans,' it's 'those Mexicans,' the ones she's finally 'cut loose' from. (Unless there's more important context that anyone can alert me to, which makes Alba less of an idiot here; but the source quoted by Mollygood doesn't help her much.)

Anyway, these days, what kind of (self-hating?) xenophobic lunacy discourages children from having extra languages in the home? Spanish is a good thing to learn and to have. I wish mine were better; I envy people--first generation, immigrants, or otherwise--who grew up with two or more languages ...

4 comments:

dave said...

from a GQ interview (this month's cover story):
"... she stays close to her parents, who now live just a few minutes away. She brings them with her to awards shows, where, inevitably, the clan is seated with all the Latin people. “So there we were,” she says. “Marc Anthony was there, and George Lopez starts speaking to my father in Spanish, and my dad says, ‘I don’t speak Mexican.’ I turned purple. Like, ‘Dad, how can you even make that comment?’ ” She softens immediately. “I love my papa. But he has no filter. I probably acquired that characteristic from him."

dave said...

Assimilationism has traditionally been the key to success in the new country (though the last quarter-century plus has changed that dynamic as the West moves - slowly - toward an increasingly multicultural value system). I'm not sure she should value cutting loose as much as she seems to there; but keep in mind her heritage is VERY mixed, not just Mexican, and her popularity as an actress (from a casting point of view) is that looking at her hints at multiculturalism without ever representing the non-dominant culture in any foreign or threatening way. Her career and her looks are the embodiment of the American melting pot - which never really went away as our nation's dominant myth, and reality.

Zach Campbell said...

But I wonder, Dave, what other ethnicities in her very mixed heritage would she also speak out against? If she's a celebrity with Mexican roots, with the "debates" about immigration and multiculturalism that are going on today (and the sad fact that celebs are granted importance in them), it's clear what side she's--knowingly or not--coming down on here.

(BTW, a correction--I think I've seen Alba in one film: John Duigan's Paranoid, from 2000 I think, and which almost no one else saw.)

Jake said...

Be careful what you wish for:

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/44943