Li of Under the Alexandria (a blog that’s less than a month old but already has tons of interesting posts) pointed out this piece in the LA Times by Hector Becerra, which deals with some changes happening in Baldwin Park. Basically, some of the next generation of Latinos want to get rid of the mom and pop stores that still cater to the needs of Immigrants (and those not so removed from that background) to replace them with the usual bunch of meaningless corporate stores like Applebee’s and Starbucks. Check out Li’s post where she argues it doesn’t have to be one or the other. I mostly find it pathetic that when Latinos want to Americanize they tend to pick the worst aspects of American Culture to emulate, as if they could suddenly join the club by consuming the same crap items of their perceived social betters. And worse, they get to the game late: while Americans are now more interested in leaving a “smaller carbon footprint” (uggh) they’re still trying to buy a Hummer. While Americans are exploring the benefits of “Edible Estates” (uggh, retch) they try to erase all evidence of that small milpa of corn their parents once grow in the front yard, now turned into a worthless patch of wasteful lawn. If anything, Latinos should be sharing the skills of getting by with less, being resourceful and getting creative with what you do have, rather than taking on the baggage of the culture of consumption.
My favorite quote? “If I want a pair of Kenneth Coles, I have to go to Arcadia.” Haha, the dude has to pay premium for some fancy huaraches, just cuz he needs a label. Some call them Chuppies (Chicano Yuppies) or Chispics (Chicano-Hispanics) but I just call them Chumps. And to many of the Americans you want to impress, yer still just a Mexican in fancy shoes.