Finding identity in Latinx communities

Author explores the evolving definition of “Latinx” and who is defining it.

Paola Ramos is the author of “Finding LatinX: In Search of the Voices Redefining Latino Identity.” With the growing population of Latinos in the United States, she explores the groups defining their own identity and creating the ideas behind “Nation of Immigrants” and “American Dream.”

“From the inception and the foundation of this country, that is at least the story that we that we love to tell. And so I think now at least we’re living in a moment where if that is not what we mean, then we should at least truly reconsider the story that we’re portraying out there of this American dream, this nation of immigrants, this nation of justice. Because what we’re seeing on the border, for instance, is that people believe in that,” Ramos said.

She also explores the people breaking the stereotypes in American culture. Some of those include misogyny, machismo or criticism of getting mental health help. Ramos says that a stereotype that is often overlooked is that of an “exceptional immigrant.”

“You are rewarded in this country if you are a hard working, extraordinary immigrant. That is also a stereotype that is exhausting for many people, because at the end of the day, most people just want to be human. Right. And sometimes they want to be able to just like be ordinary people. Right. And so that’s just another one of these stereotypes that is just present everywhere,” Ramos said.

Ramos also touches on the term “Latinx” and the controversy that surrounds it, both outside and inside Latino communities.

“Now, suddenly it means that you can be Latino and stand next to someone that is black and trans and conservative and liberal and indigenous, undocumented or documented. And there’s something about that image that scares people. Right. And that, to me, is always a more interesting question. What is it about this word that makes you reject it so much?” Ramos said.

Ramos says she loves the discussions about “Latinx” because its simply a word that tries to capture the most diverse version of Latinos in America, she said.

Paola Ramos will be one of the features artists at this year’s San Antonio Book Festival. You can buy a copy of her new book “Finding LatinX: In Search of the Voices Redefining Latino Identity” here.

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