Earlier this month, the LATISM (Latinos in Social Media) community on Twitter held a Twitter party/chat on its #latism hashtag about Latino/a bloggers. As someone who has been blogging for a while (and had her first Thursday night off in a long time) I checked in to see what was going on. That Thursday afternoon, one of my tweeps tweeted about the Latism party, and included this link, which provided information about the “LATISM Latino Blogosphere Twitter Party.” In order to rectify the fact that there was no information available about influential Latino/a bloggers (how many Latino/a bloggers are really standing out in the mainstream blogosphere?), LATISM reached out to the Latino/a bloggers on Twitter in order to “set out to define [or redefine] our Latino blogosphere.” After reading that, I was all set. After all, I did not follow any Latino/a bloggers regularly; it would be nice to connect with them, I thought. Also, as someone who recently decided to give blogging on my own another try, I wanted to get in touch with the LATISM community and see what was happening.
What arose was an incredibly animated debate with about 2500 participants. Twitter folk shared their blog names, the overall topics of their blogs, and the reasons why they blogged. Many of the tweeps had blogs that were directly related to some aspect of Latino/a culture. This is the beauty of the Internet: it allows Latinos/as to carve out a space for diverse representations of Latino culture when the mainstream media won’t make space for them.
The conversation moved on to heavier topics soon enough, topics such as the language in which the bloggers wrote. Interestingly enough, a lot of the posters responded they blogged in English and in Spanish (although the percentages varied). It made me think about why I don’t use Spanish in my own posts. If I am at home with code-switching, why don’t I post in Spanish? Then a heftier question arose. The host, @ergeekgoddess asked at one point, “do you self-identify as a Latin@ blogger on your site?” I thought: no, not really. This led to an even heftier question: “What identifies a blog as Latino? Content? Ethnicity of the blogger?” I don’t think Elianne meant to throw out such an intense question; after all, her mission was to gage what the Latino blogosphere on Twitter was all about, and the question “what makes a blog a Latino/a blog?” is a valid question. But it made me wonder about my own writing and my blog.
Would my blog count as a Latina blog? Is it enough that I’m Latina? Is it enough to write in Spanish/Spanglish? Or do I have to make my Latinaness the focus of my content? Am I a Latina blogger?
I am and I am not. I am a Latina who blogs, and who blogs in English. Also, my content is about Latino culture, to the extent that I am Latina. But I don’t write about exclusively Latino/a topics–or so-called traditional Latino/a topics. I write on issues that I want to reflect upon: issues of pop culture, language, writing, and my life. There’s nothing that screams “stereotypical” Latino/a about my blog. Maybe this is a good thing.
I’m a Latina. I’m a blogger. So technically I’m a Latina blogger. Why does identifying as such feel a little weird though? I realize that it is because this concept is imbued with stereotypical notions of Latinoness. If mainstream American culture forces upon Latinos/as skewed representations of what it means to be Latino or Latina, it is our job to reject that and offer our diverse stories. It is also our job to reject stereotypical notions of Latinoness within our own community, like for example, that Latinos/as write about certain topics or that Latino/a blogs are written in a particular. This is why we need to have different voices showcasing different Latino/a experiences.
If there needs to be a diversity of voices, there need to be a diversity of outlets for those voices as well. Latino/a bloggers do not need to blog all about the same things. I will honor that by coming out as a Latina blogger. Or a blogger who happens to be Latina. Either way, I’m a Latina in front of a computer on a regular basis, sharing my thoughts with the rest of the world.