Here’s a very deep interview I had with Bertie Gmaj from Fourth Floor, a London-based arts and culture platform. It’s part of their Level A Poetry series, also in the company of creators like Samer Ismail and Samantar Osman.
There is a lot of talk on soft power, malinchismo, ancestry, shadow work and radical honesty. Here’s a paragraph from that:
So, you grow up thinking that the “first world” is the best and that you should emulate it. When you learn English at school or language centres, you’re banned from speaking Spanish in class. If you look more Indigenous than European, you are bullied and have less opportunities to get decent jobs. Media, both international and national, doesn’t portray you under a positive light. I once told a friend “I don’t think any record in Spanish has influenced me at all” when I was in my early 20s. We are told to avoid ourselves and replace those bits with more accurate exports from the white supremacist heteropatriarcal hegemony.Cynthia Rodríguez juárez, fourth floor interview.
But then, I come here, and it’s all “oh, Méhikoh!” and they imagine we’re all like Salma Hayek or Frida Kahlo. They want me to put a pineapple on my head, dance salsa, be cute, eat tacos. That’s all fine and dandy, but I came here for Britpop and fish and chips. I was programmed to think they were superior. People would ask me to write more poetry in Spanish or Spanglish (mix of English and Spanish), but I grew up getting punished for asking “cómo se dice” in English class.