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Saturday, June 16, 2007
12:57 PM

Jessica Alba: No Hablo Espanol


In an interview with Para Todas magazine, Jessica Alba yet again reminds us that her roots to her Latino background are as strong as the one a plastic tree has to the ground.

On her strong family unit:

“I’ve got cousins galore. Mexicans just spread all their seeds. And the women just pop them out.”

I'm certain a huge smile appeared on the faces of each and every one of Jessica Alba's female relatives the second after they read that.

On Mexican pride:

“My grandfather was the only Mexican at his college, the only Hispanic person at work and the only one at the all-white country club. He tried to forget his Mexican roots, because he never wanted his kids to be made to feel different in America. He and my grandmother didn’t speak Spanish to their children. Now, as a third-generation American, I feel as if I have finally cut loose.”

Instead of having pride about opening doors, it seems as if the only lesson learned and passed on was to pretend to act as if they were never opened to begin with. How unfortunate it is to feel like cutting loose of your culture is something to be proud of.

Team Assimilate:

“My whole life, when I was growing up, not one race has ever accepted me, … So I never felt connected or attached to any race specifically. I had a very American upbringing, I feel American, and I don’t speak Spanish. So, to say that I’m a Latin actress, OK, but it’s not fitting; it would be insincere.”

I applaud her for not trying to fake it, and appearing on Univision and Telemundo with a Spanish translator like some of her peers, but at the same time, her sentiments are disturbing. Maybe it hasn't dawned on her, but she seems to now carry her grandfather's issues with self-hatred , so she's partly responsible for never feeling accepted. If you're goal was to "cut loose" a part of your identity, you probably didn't make much of an effort to belong to begin with.

On poor strategy:

“My grandfather was the only one in our family to go to college. He made a choice not to speak Spanish in the house. He didn’t want his kids to be different.”

Decades later and I'm sitting here wishing those four years of Spanish in high school produced more than, "Me llamo Miguel."

In some respects, I can understand why she feels as if she can't relate, given the way she was raised. On the other hand, she sounds as if she's purposely trying to ignore her history and culture. Like her grandfather, she seems embarass by it.

Then there's that whole little tidbit that no matter how many blond wigs and blue contacts she dons for her film roles, she doesn't look white at all. That Alba surname sure isn't helping her cause either.

I always feel for those who are taught to conform and deny themselves.

Since elementary, there's always been this joke about me being half Asian because my eyes appear slanted to some people. A couple of months ago one of my friends introduced me as Jackie (Chan), and told her I was half Asian. She said, "Wow. Are you really?" I let her know that my friend only had jokes. But she said, "Oh well you should still tell people that, because you really do look it. I tell people that I'm half Asian when I'm not. It makes me sound exotic."

I looked at her like she was the fool and politely said, "Nah. I'm good. I'm happy with being just Black."

If only others could follow and be happy with who they are.

The Cynical Ones.
posted by Michael at