Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Should I Feel Guilty for Not Getting The Cancer Gene Test Now?

The moment a friend posted on Twitter the link about Angelina Jolie getting a double mastectomy, I read it avidly. Her story moved me deeply. 

Later, I read on a local news' Facebook page about the story accompanied by the question: "Would you do it?" I answered immediately that yes; of course, I would do it! Who wouldn't, right? The idea of leaving my family behind is unfathomable. After answering this question, I closed my laptop, and went to bed. But, I couldn't sleep; the answer I had just given to the question of whether I would get a double mastectomy had opened a flow of ideas that I couldn't put to rest. 

For me, the thought of being less of a woman because I have to remove my breasts, or my uterus because of cancer has never been in my mind. I understood that a long time ago when my mother had to undergo a surgery to remove her uterus because of cysts.  No, what had me worried was the cost of all those procedures starting with the cost of having the cancer gene test, and then the preventive surgery, which probably not too many health insurance companies would cover, and then the reconstruction surgery! So I started feeling what I know many Latino women would feel, "Guilt."

"It's not that I don't want to do it" - I kept telling myself - "It's just that I don't have the means right now to afford it." When I talked about this subject with two of my best friends, we agreed that probably many Latinas will feel the same because that's how we were raised. It's common to blame ourselves when we cannot do something because of our limited financial resources, especially if this affects our families. 

I truly admire Angelina for being so brave to do it, and for starting the conversation about preventive health care for women.  At this point, all I can say is that I know I have to take that test because of my family's medical history, but I cannot afford it now. So my question remains, should I feel guilty about it?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Latinos Are Powerful. Do You Believe It Now?

It was a busy day for Latinos in Social Media. We saw on Facebook and Twitter that Disney Corporation had filed a federal trademark to copyright "Día de los Muertos" because of their upcoming movie related to that Holiday, and all hell broke loose. Read the story here:

Disney Applies To Trademark 'Dia De Los Muertos' For Upcoming Movie 

First of all, "Día de los Muertos" is a HOLIDAY, a Latino Holiday! What made them think that they could treat it as a piece of merchandise? Obviously, they didn't think it through.

Fortunately, many, many Latinos were able to quickly organize and file a petition to make Disney stop this charade. It was offensive and it made us feel like we are unwanted except, when they can make a profit out of our culture.

The amazing part is that the story about this crazy idea was out this morning, and we shut it down on the same day. THAT ladies and gentlemen, is called "Latino Power!"

Friday, May 3, 2013

Cinco de Mayo: a Celebration, or a Commemoration?

With Cinco de Mayo around the corner, I thought about sharing some of my thoughts regarding this important date to help create cultural awareness. 

First, I hope that many of you already know that Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexico's Independence Day. That one is celebrated on September 16th. 

Second, NOT all Latinos are Mexican. Remember, do not say "Happy Cinco de Mayo" to all of your friends who speak Spanish. There are other countries besides Mexico where people speak Spanish too. But better yet, why not just try to avoid saying those words? 

Cinco de Mayo is a date that is commemorated in Mexico. It was a day when a group of farmers decided to fight back the much larger and experienced French army close to the city of Puebla, Mexico in 1862. And they won, the small group of Mexican farmers won the battle... but not the war. For this reason, Cinco de Mayo is called "El Día de la Batalla de Puebla" (The Day of the Battle of Puebla) .  The commemorations involve civic military parades, enactments of the battle, and sometimes, students of middle school and high school get to participate in those parades too. 
Source: Dirección de Educación Tecnológica del Estado de Veracruz. 
Source: Clarín Veracruzano.

I believe it's important to respect an important date in history, especially when that date is an important part of other country's history. To me, it's very unfortunate to see some brands in the U.S. using marketing materials around this date that mock the Mexican culture with the desire to attract business so, allow me to give you a tip. You do not need to use the "sombreros" or "sarapes" to make your ad look more Mexican. Look at this example of what I think was a smart way to promote Cinco de Mayo without the mocking. 

I know that the parties will not stop, but I would love to see some changes on the approach that brands have when it comes to Cinco de Mayo because, I do love to see people interested and embracing my culture, I just don't accept brands making fun of it only because they are lazy to do the research.