Throughout my entire time in the US, I could always characterize myself as possessing a quality that my Americano counterparts lacked–my Latino heat. I don’t just mean the “sexy, kiss me and melt me in your mouth and not your hands, papi chulo” Latino heat. I’m also talking about the literal sense of being perfectly warm throughout the winter with just a light coat and jeans. By virtue of being Latino, we have this exotic heat that exudes through our souls and if you get real close, can be felt in our auras. I always took pride in my Latino heat 24-7, three seasons a year (it’s not so special in the summer because everyone is warm). And when you go to a school where you stick out like a brown bean in a big bowl of white rice, your Latino heat becomes more notorious.
I never realized how much I loved the cold until I moved down to Mexico. I live in a chill, comfortable location with beaches, palm trees, cold beers, and abuelita cooking that only make your Latino heat more prominent. The only difference is that it’s kinda lost its specialness for two reasons: 1) It’s really warm and humid year round, and 2) it’s Mexico, the country is filled by us and the general public takes it for granted. I already accepted the fact that I am no longer a minority, but I feel like I’ve been stripped of part of my identity.
I guess I have to look at it contextually. Maybe that’s what white privilege feels like. We’ve been granted a natural born gift and in the society where we are the majority, we don’t even notice its greatness and benefits. For example, I have seen more man boobies during my time here than I have in my entire life not because men are obese, but because it’s hot and with all the melanin/pigment in our skin, walking around shirtless isn’t a problem. So to cool off, the beers keep on coming and thus more man boobies. But the point is that it’s nice to be able to handle a reasonable amount of sun exposure without burning.
Interestingly enough, the idea of a Latino/a from a Latin American country outside their own excites Latinos. It takes the Latino heat to another level. Kinda like the different colors of a fire flame…blue…red…orange…it doesn’t matter, it’s still a flame. As much competition as there may be between Latinos, there is enough love to spread around, we just need to control it. I once heard a motto that I think was taken too literally “Don’t hate, Propagate [love].”
In conclusion, when have you seen Latinos in the US gather a bunch of sticks, light them on fire and stand around it? Wherever we congregate, we ARE the bonfire.