How Latinx Students Celebrate Culture

Ursula Muñoz Schaefer/ Staff Writer

With 61-percent of FIU’s student body being hispanic, you need not to walk far along one of our majority-minority campuses to find Latinx students putting their heritage on full display.

Whether it be the proud Puerto Rican who stereotypically wears his flag on every shirt or that Cuban girl who celebrated her graduation with one of the most creative caps we’ve ever seen, FIU’s Latinx student body tends to go all out.

With being an immigrant or a second or third generation Latinx person living in the United States comes a whole new culture that searches for connection with our roots, celebrating things like iconography and symbolism by infusing traditional elements with modern day pop culture.

The likes of Frida Kahlo and Selena are the subject of muscle shirts and phone cases now, elevated beyond their graves as not just celebrated artists with legacies beyond their deaths, but also now as icons with faces instantly recognizable even to those not fully acquainted with Mexican culture.

On another end, modern artists such as Bad Bunny and J Balvin have had reach far beyond Puerto Rico and Colombia, popularizing Latin trap and reggaeton around the world and especially in the United States.

From Drake to Beyoncé, everyone wants a piece of this sound and a contribution credit to one of their songs.

It’s something Latinos see and something we boast the hell out of.

Even if many of us aren’t ready to admit it, we’re proud of how far these guys have come because they represent the ultimate success story, never having to sacrifice their essence for mass success and outreach.

I’ve seen your “X 100pre” merch around campus.

This celebration of who we are goes far beyond just iconography however, also manifesting itself in symbols and emblems that many of us carry with pride.

Mexican calaveras and Lucha Libre masks can be seen as anything from backpack patterns to earring charms.

Brands and media sites like Mitú have capitalized on this through their Guacardo character (the cute avocado cartoon spotted all over their social media), to their Barrio Boxes, which sell fun apparel and knick knacks that celebrate Latin culture in fun and modern ways.

Then there are memes. So many memes.

Memes making fun of your mom and grandma’s insistence to not walk around the house “con pies descalzos y pelo mojado,” memes making light out of the uptight “tía” and on the creepy “tío” who hugs a little too long and memes on how being bilingual is more about forgetting words in both languages than being a Shakespeare and a Cervantes all at once.

Through these experiences shared around social media, the community has come to realize how alike we really are, no matter what country we are from or how long we have lived in the US.

The funny antics from our family members and the clichés our loving mothers and grandmothers speak reflect shared experiences and ultimately a sense of belonging within the community.

Memes really are a blessing.

It’s in celebrating what makes us different and wearing it proudly on our sleeves that we find what brings us together.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo by Ursula Muñoz Schaefer.

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