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April 10th, 2014
thesmithian

There are border crossings and hyphenations. Dominican, but not. Haitian, but not. Black Latino. Father. Poet. One of the fiercest writers…One of the most tender. Back-and-forth between Spanish and English. Rakim name-dropped alongside Ravitch. Some references cited and explained—Paolo Freire, for example – but the hip hop lyrics aren’t; it’s up to the reader to decode, not to Vilson to translate. That flips the rules of power and culture and literacy…

more.

There are border crossings and hyphenations. Dominican, but not. Haitian, but not. Black Latino. Father. Poet. One of the fiercest writers…One of the most tender. Back-and-forth between Spanish and English. Rakim name-dropped alongside Ravitch. Some references cited and explained—Paolo Freire, for example – but the hip hop lyrics aren’t; it’s up to the reader to decode, not to Vilson to translate. That flips the rules of power and culture and literacy…

more.

February 16th, 2014
thesmithian

Univision is launching…La Fabrica, a Spanish and English initiative that will produce original Web video series.

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more.

September 3rd, 2013
thesmithian
Often when you’re an immigrant writing in English, people think it’s primarily a commercial choice. But for many of us, it’s a choice that rises out of the circumstances of our lives. These are the tools I have at my disposal, based on my experiences. It’s a constant debate, not just in my community but in other communities…Where do you belong? You’re kind of one of us, but you now write in a different language. You’re told you don’t belong to American literature or you’re told you don’t belong to Haitian literature. Maybe there’s a place on the hyphen, as Julia Alvarez so brilliantly wrote in one of her essays. That middle generation, the people whose parents brought them to other countries as small children, or even people who were born to immigrant parents, maybe they can have their own literature too.
Edwidge Danticat, at Guernica
September 1st, 2013
thesmithian

what makes Los Señores del Narco different is its narrative linking the…Sinaloa cartel, the biggest criminal organisation in the world—to the leadership of the Mexican state…the book became, and remains, a bestseller: more than 100,000 copies sold in Mexico…The wildfire interest delivers a clear message, says Hernández: “So many Mexicans do not believe the official version of this war. They do not believe the government are good guys, fighting the cartels. They know the government is lying, they don’t carry their heads in the clouds.” Hernández’s book will be published in English this month…

more.

what makes Los Señores del Narco different is its narrative linking the…Sinaloa cartel, the biggest criminal organisation in the world—to the leadership of the Mexican state…the book became, and remains, a bestseller: more than 100,000 copies sold in Mexico…The wildfire interest delivers a clear message, says Hernández: “So many Mexicans do not believe the official version of this war. They do not believe the government are good guys, fighting the cartels. They know the government is lying, they don’t carry their heads in the clouds.” Hernández’s book will be published in English this month…

more.

July 27th, 2013
thesmithian
…reading and math test scores are very similar for children where English is not the primary language in the home and for children who are in homes where English is the primary language. This holds true for whites, Hispanics, blacks and Asians…more than half of children in each group are not reading proficiently in fourth grade. These low reading scores are especially important because third grade is a pivot point…Up to third grade, students and teachers spend most of their time in developing reading skills, but after third grade, they move away from learning to read. Instead, students use their reading skills to learn science, math and other subjects…and if they’re not reading well by fourth grade because of this shift, they’re much more likely to not graduate from high school. They’re really at a strong disadvantage for the rest of their school years.
Donald Hernandez, co-author of the report, “Diverse Children: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration in America’s New Non-Majority Generation”
July 19th, 2013
thesmithian

A different case is “negative concord,” recorded all over the United States in some African American English…as in “I don’t see him no more” and “Don’t nothing come to a sleeper but a dream.” In these sentences, the negatives reinforce each other instead of canceling each other out. And consider this expression from fourteenth-century England: “There nas [was not] no man nowhere so virtuous.” It’s by Chaucer, and is just one example of many from his era and earlier. But there is no direct relation. Negative concord, as wrong as it sounds to those who grew up without it, is common among the world’s languages.

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July 15th, 2013
thesmithian

Hispanicity, in the United States, is officially treated as an ethnicity (a culture) rather than a race (a biological category). That is, if you are white, speaking Spanish as your native language makes you a different sort of white than speaking other European tongues. (There are myriad other complications here: What about Afro-Hispanics or Asian Latinos, for instance?) The assumption is that someone in Madrid, Spain, and someone in Lima, Peru, share a common culture because they both speak Spanish. This holds as much weight as claiming that someone in Anchorage, Alaska, and someone in Johannesburg, South Africa, share a common culture through English: maybe, but not necessarily. Spanish is spoken by some half a billion people worldwide, the majority of them living in the Americas, including the United States. It is the native language of 12 percent of Americans and is spoken by 30 percent of the population, including many native English speakers who have learned Spanish in school or through their professions. It is a truism now to say that the Spanish language, just like English, crosses races, nations, class boundaries and more. Why does it continue to have such a social stigma, and why is it taken as the emblem of the threat to English-language dominance of American culture?

more.



July 11th, 2013
thesmithian

…[the show] with an all-Latino cast, exclusively broadcast on Hulu—is set in [an] East Los Angeles neighborhood where calling another woman naca (ghetto) is the ultimate insult. It features a fictional group of L.A. teenagers fighting for status and trying not to get burned. Its creators, Carlos Portugal and Kathleen Bedoya, wanted to create a realistic depiction of teen pregnancy among Latinas. But despite its after-school-special roots, East Lost High feels surprisingly real.

more.

July 10th, 2013
thesmithian

If you don’t know anything about Chan-wook Park’s 2003 revenge film Oldboy, you might find yourself intrigued by…Spike Lee’s English-language remake of the film, starring Josh Brolin as a man held prisoner for years and then unexpectedly released, with no clue why he was abducted or set free.

more, plus trailer, here.

July 6th, 2013
thesmithian
I thought back to all the times I’d spoken using that phrasing…thinking it was standard when it wasn’t. Did everyone else know this? Did I use that during talks? Yes. Job interviews? Yes. Why didn’t any one tell me? The idea that I wasn’t fully aware and in control of how I spoke was disconcerting. I needed to know when I was being other and when I wasn’t. What’s the big deal if you can’t code-switch at all? My high school classmate had trouble being taken seriously by people who associate standard English with intelligence. I even know of an academic who is AAVE all the time. She ended up stuck in the lots of interviews but no job offers limbo…She suspects a lack of code-switching skill is hurting her prospects…It-shouldn’t-be-that-ways aside it’s clear that managing your otherness is a career, if not life skill.
June 28th, 2013
thesmithian
We are all linked together, Bulgaria, Turkey, Brazil. We are tweeting in English so we can understand each other, and supporting each other on other social media…We are fighting for different reasons, but we all want our governments to finally work for us. We are inspiring each other.

Iveta Cherneva,

a 29-year-old author in Sofia, who was one of the many people protesting for the first time.

and Egypt.

June 9th, 2013
thesmithian

'…Jobs involving communication and expression (music, journalism and so forth) are suddenly much harder to come by, because information is now held to be free. Naturally, a 19th-century trope, the Horatio Alger story, has reappeared. With enough hard work, opportunity is said to be around the corner for young journalists and musicians. Alas, there are only a few genuine success stories. Almost everyone else in the game lives on false hope…'

…accepting the benefits of an informal economy—reputation and barter—while helping a small, distant elite build real wealth…The fate of journalism and music awaits every other industry, and every kind of job, unless this pattern is undone. As this century unfolds…More and more activities will be operated by software. Instead of Teamsters, there will be robotic trucks. Where there had once been miners, there will be mining robots. Instead of factories, there will be 3-D printers in every home. Experimental robots have already outperformed many a white-collar worker, including the legal researcher, the pharmacist and the scientific investigator. All forms of automation ultimately rely on data that come from people, however. There is no magical “artificial intelligence.” When a big, remote computer translates a document from English to Spanish, for instance, it doesn’t understand what it is doing. It is only mashing up earlier translations created by real people, who have been forgotten because of the theater of the Internet. There are always real people behind the curtain. The rise of inequality isn’t because of people not being needed—more precisely, it’s because of an illusion that they aren’t even there.

more.

June 6th, 2013
thesmithian

'After years of earning less than minimum wage, Jack Dempsey and his co-workers decided to organize. They were sick of disrespect and intimidation on the job, tired of being called up and expected to work at a moment’s notice, and desperate for benefits and job security…'

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