I wrote blog about City Reps Emma Acosta – my city rep – and Eddie Holguin when they said that artwork that will be installed along the Alameda rapid transit corridor is offensive to Hispanics and they don’t want to see it installed. Now, they want City Council to fire the Seattle-based artists who developed the “offensive” art.
Specifically, proposed figures such as an eye, a fish, a pear, and a bell were shot down by Acosta and Holguin who said the eye and hand are extremely insensitive to Hispanics. Gustavo Reveles, a former El Paso Times reporter and Hispanic, was on the committee that chose the images. He wasn’t offended by the images. He must not be a very good Hispanic.
One of the images in dispute is the stylized pear. One former state representative has even said that the pear was only used to represent the shape of Mexican women! The state rep has also said that the poles that will be used to hold up the art are being used because of a strip club that used to be on Alameda, and the artists wanted to remind people that Hispanic women used to dance there.
I’m not kidding.
These loteria images show another representation of an image that is under dispute. Emma Acosta says the hand, ‘la mano’, is being used to represent Hispanics asking for a handout. I wonder if that is how Acosta would have felt if a Hispanic artist had just cut and pasted the ‘la mano’ loteria card as part of the art project. Would it have been as offensive, or seen as “culturally” correct?
I hate using the word ‘hispanic’ to describe myself. My great-grandparents came from Mexico and Lebanon, but I’m not Mexican or Lebanese – I’m American. I’m also not frightened by line drawings of eyes, or read waaaay between the lines and think that a picture of a hand is an indication that some Anglo artist thinks Mexicans are on the lookout for handouts. And a pear is just a pear, not the shape of a woman. Don’t even get me started on how stupid it is to think that a pole holding up art is supposed to be a nod to a closed strip club. Should I be offended at all the poles holding up stop signs?
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