Many WeAreMitu articles reek of pandering to “harmlessly curious” white people and others who know nothing about Latinx culture.
It’s not hard to understand why representation is important. For one thing, the more you see people and their culture, the more it becomes normal to you. The more normal, the more human. If everyone treated each other like human beings, the world would be in a lot less turmoil. This is why I am particularly grateful to publications centered on Latinx voices and experiences. But that doesn’t mean they get it right 100 percent of the time.
WeAreMitu, for example, has some ‘splaining to do. Here are just a couple of content titles that got themselves stuck in my craw: “5 Weird AF Foods People Eat In Latin America” and “Here Are Some Of The Most Random Superstitions That Pregnant Women Actually Follow.” Now, I know sometimes we have to laugh at ourselves. I particularly love this meme that says, “‘I’m almost there!’ –A Mexican who’s not almost there.” I also laugh heartily when acknowledging my need to convert all foods into tacos (because, really, that’s just the best way to eat naan and chicken tikka masala, OK?). But then again, I myself am not an online publication measuring my success in visits. To me, these titles reek of pandering to “harmlessly curious” white people and others who know nothing about Latinx culture but will gladly accept the abbreviated infotainment version that requires no actual study.
Here’s another gem. While there is nothing wrong with the title of this article on Twitter users putting a Mexican spin on movie names, the header image is something that makes me want to scream Every. Fucking. Cinco De Mayo. The characters of Rogue One are sporting handlebar mustaches and wide-brim, straw sombreros. If I never see this caricature of Mexican fashion again, it will be too soon. That shit needs to be canceled.
I went ahead and fixed these offenses just so we’re clear on what “for us, by us” content should look like.
5 Weird AF Foods People Eat In Latin America 5 Latin American Dishes We Dare You To Try
We can acknowledge that bull penis soup may not be for everyone and that some of us American-born Latinx may never have eaten it. We can also do that without calling it weird as fuck! If WeAreMitu truly wants to speak to a Latinx audience, they should probably not alienate those who find these dishes completely normal and unexotic.
Here Are Some Of The Most Random Superstitions That Pregnant Women Actually Follow Here’s How Latina Mamis-To-Be Are The Most Superstitious
They’re so random, guys. People ACTUALLY follow them. So crazy! Superstitions obviously have deep cultural roots. Yes, they are old-school and not based on proven scientific fact and can seem a little silly. But we seriously doubt any of the writers at WeAreMitu would take this tone about superstitions on front of their wela, lest they feel the swift vengeance of a chancla on their behind. Maybe that’s a good rule of thumb to follow.
Mustaches and sombreros Anything else
There are so many other things you can Photoshop into a movie scene to symbolize Mexican culture. Loteria cards, flower crowns, plates of life-giving tamales, anything other than the so-tired-it’s-comatose imagery of mustaches and sombreros.
Another thing I get about publications like WeAreMitu — they really aren’t all for us. In spirit, sure. But I think it is safe to say that Latinx media overall lack the solidarity Black media has always had. After all, you don’t see Black publications adopting the Kardashians and Jenners as honorary Black women. But you can’t go a day without seeing some form of fawning over Kylie on Latina Magazine’s website. It doesn’t matter that Latina women are fans. Why? Because we can find that content literally anywhere on the Internet. When you create a publication dedicated to Latinx people, actually dedicate it to the people, not to outsiders who appropriate our look and culture. Again, take a page from Black media.
Attempts to get non-Latinx people interested in our lives by demeaning ourselves will do us no favors. It’s just another form of letting others try on our skin for fun. We are better than that. Reaching more people, getting more visits and increasing our virality may feel like validation. Selling ourselves out to get there will only keep us othered and oppressed.
Featured photo by Twitter user The Multi Mom.