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National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP)

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Jos� R. S�nchez
Edgar DeJesus
Israel Colon
Maria Rivera
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Hector Figueroa

Tanya K. Hernandez
 Angelo Falc�n


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NiLP Note: In reaction to our post yesterday on "The Great New York Subway Mariachi Controversy" we had this interesting observation by Juan Carlos Aguirre, Executive Director of Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture Without Borders in NYC:


This is interesting but more interesting is that the people who play in the subways are not mariachis and I am very sure this was the case in the situation with the author of the cartoon. I have talked with so many of these groups and see them all the time when I ride the subway to work.


Most Mexican musicians that play in the subways play Norte�o music which is a very different rhythm and style of music from mariachi. Sombrero does not equal Mariachi!!!! Additionally not all of the musicians are Mexican. I once stopped a group of them and hired them for a performance. In the end I found out three were Salvadorian and two Mexican. Naturally I asked why were Salvadorians playing Mexican music and the answer was simple, out of necessity. They were hesitant to tell me they were Salvadorian because they thought I would not hire them.


This cartoon issue shows how unaware people are about anything south of the border. Everyone assumes without checking facts.


---Angelo Falc�n

Drawn and quartered

Answering a cartoon controversy

New York Daily News (October 17, 2014)

A group of Mariachi musicians boarded a subway, played in hope of collecting tips - and gave editorial cartoonist Bob Eckstein a ready subject for sketching into pictorial comment.


With a bit of whimsy, Eckstein placed the Mariachis atop an elevated train, along with a fleeing man saying, "For the last time - I have no change."


Some were not amused. National Association of Hispanic Journalists President Mekahlo Medina, for example, wrote that the cartoon "casts Mexican-Americans in a negative light as 'annoyances' and outcasts."


How, we asked Alyshia G�lvez, director of the Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute at Lehman College.


She offered that the cartoon could be read to suggest Mariachis are the most aggressive panhandlers, that it could spark memories of former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker's 1999 rant about the No. 7 line and foreigners, and that Mexicans could see a negative reference to the trains that have transported young Central Americans up through Mexico to the U.S. border.


We stand informed, and Bob has reposted the subway cartoon on without the Mariachis.