Friday Definer: Tele Edition - Define American

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Friday Definer: Tele Edition

Reporters and media makers telling the whole story of America.

The Friday Definer is Define American’s weekly roundup of stories that paint a fuller picture of what it means to be an American in the 21st century. Share these stories with a friend!

La Boriqueña at The Smithsonian
Comic book artist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez in front of the Smithsonian’s display of La Boriqueña.
Jaclyn Nash / National Museum of American History

Caped Latinas

Another American superhero — La Boriqueña — takes up residence at the Smithsonian alongside Superman and Wonder Woman (who has been played by Latina actress Linda Carter). The new Puerto Rican caped crusader, who gets her powers from the Taíno gods of her Puerto Rican ancestors, is now part of the national museum’s superhero and comics collection.

“One of the things I want to do with my work is continue to keep Puerto Rico in the national discourse. The exhibition reminds all Americans that Puerto Rico is a part of the United States and there are three and a half million American citizens living on the island and another six and a half million across the States,” Miranda-Rodríguez, La Boriqueña’s creator, told NBC News’ Patricia Guadalupe.

Arellano settles the debate: Mexican is Mexican

Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz, Jr.’s improbable defeat of former heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua last week spurred an internet debate over identity. Some tweeters claimed victory for Mexico and Mexicans, while others pointed out that Ruiz Jr. is Mexican American. Ruiz was born in California and competes under the Mexican flag.

Cultural critic Gustavo Arellano, now of the LA Times, seemed to settle the matter with a simple message to the internets: Mexican is Mexican. Read Latino Rebels’ take for more.

What we’re watching

📺 Starz drama Vida, for the Spanglish:

“There are opinions on the type of Spanglish we use. It’s so complicated because it’s a made-up way of communicating and there’s not one uniform way. There’s no dictionary that you could look at. It’s how we communicate and if you hear us, the writers, like in our texts — the California Spanglish is just very different from the Tex-Mex stuff. Also, it’s generational.” Tanya Saracho

Read Vanessa Erazo’s full interview with Vida showrunner Tanya Saracho in the New York Times.

🎬 Always Be My Maybe on Netflix for the realness (and Keanu?):

“Composed almost entirely of Asian characters, Always Be My Maybe represents another step in the right direction for pop culture representation of Asians because the central tensions of the characters aren’t necessarily related to their Asian identities, and could happen in any rom-com.” Marina Fang

Marina Fang’s review in HuffPo Asian Voices is good.

Save the dance halls!

Dance halls across Texas, many of them built by immigrants over the last century and a half, are waning, with attendance down and some unable to keep the lights on. The German, Czech, Polish, Swiss, and Mexican clubs are the stuff Texas is made of.

Molly Hennessy-Fiske of the Los Angeles Times is on it:

“The German immigrants who built it by hand named the hall Twin Sisters, Tanzsaal der Zwillinsschwestern, after a pair of surrounding hills. The club created to run it was chartered with one condition: monthly dances. Men — and later women — paid a nominal fee to join and bring their families. Even during the World Wars and Vietnam, when other halls went quiet, the dancing never stopped at Twin Sisters.”

Also check out the photos by Katie Falkenberg in the article … and pay special attention to the boots and hats.

Bonus: Brownsville Fashion Week


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