For those of you who follow my blog regularly, you may remember I started a series called "Thursday's Child" based on the Mother Goose poem (see below). I wanted to explore what it means to "go far" or be a success, as I was born on a Thursday. Now, I want to change up the theme of this, as I prefer to have at least one day where I'm just personally blogging about whatever it is that comes to mind. It'll definitely be eclectic.
Now that I've had an opportunity to think about it, I'm more interested in delving a little deeper into this subject, as it also applies to others who use the phrase "cultural appropriation" a lot.
Here is the article from 2014:
Dear White People/Queridos Gringos: You Want Our Culture But You Don’t Want Us – Stop Colonizing The Day Of The DeadAs I said, at first blush, this is about standing up against those who see take these cultural celebrations lightly, and particularly, white Americans who seem to want the "fun stuff" but not the people themselves. I have a deep love and respect for my Latino brothers and sisters in the world. I want everyone to have an opportunity to live wherever they want to live, and to pursue their happiness as they see fit (as long as it isn't harming others). But, her article is myopic in nature, and therein lies the rub.
|Day of the Dead|
It behooves me to address the fact that the author specifically states her roots are in Puerto Rico, which means that she, herself, is taking on a culture that really isn't hers. Her indigenous ancestors would most likely be Taino, and there is no historical evidence of Day of the Dead celebrations there. That's okay. I get it. She wants to identify with her Latin heritage. But, her Latin heritage is a combination of European (Spanish conquest) and indigenous cultures of an island that is approximately 2,300 miles away from Mexico.
The languages of Puerto Rico and Mexico (Spanish) originate in Latin- a European language. The same people who conquered my ancestors (The Romans) also conquered Spain, which in turn, conquered the Caribbean and what is now known as Latin America.
She brings up the point that Halloween has been taken over by Walmart with plastic, candy, costumes, etc... and, to a degree, I can agree with that. However, those who celebrate Halloween versus Samhain would say that it's a secular holiday. In reality, it is the remnants of the Catholic Church's attempt to eradicate this celebration and make it a Christian holy day instead; and, this is something my Irish ancestors share in common with the people of Mexico.
Here in America, we speak of a melting pot of culture, art, music, food, and holiday celebrations. If we're going to start separating these out to only those who can prove ancestry in this fashion, well, the author then has to let go of her Dia de Los Muertos celebrations as well, because Puerto Ricans and Mexicans share only their conqueror's ancestry in common.
I have a suggestion for all of us. Try focusing on your own spirituality and honoring your ancestors in whatever way you see fit. Given that so many of us have mixed ancestry, I don't think our loving dead really care that much. Somehow, I think they'd just like to be remembered.
Sláinte! (to your good health)
"Monday's child is fair of face..."
by Mother Goose
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace;
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go;
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for its living;
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.