By: Victor Jorges / News Director
A Series Of Events At FIU Wants Students To Understand What Latinx Is
By: Victor Jorges / News Director
FIU is the largest Hispanic serving four-year post-secondary institution in the country, however, there might be a disconnect with the Latinx culture and what it means to be a part of this community.
“That’s an amazing fact,” said Phillip Carter, director of the Center for Humanities in an Urban Environment. “And it’s not something that we always acknowledge or embrace or centralize in our programming and curricula at FIU.”
Starting on Tuesday, March 10 the center will host a 9-day event series to answer the question: What is Latinx?
According to Carter, college is the moment in a person’s life in which they are able to be “intellectually free.”
“We want students to come and have the chance to participate in something that is directly relevant to them.,” said Carter. “But in order for that to happen, you have to have these types of occasions, these occasions that present perspective taking or thought-provoking moments for students to say, ‘Aha, I didn’t I didn’t see it that way’.”
He believes that Hispanic culture is something that is taken for granted in Miami. One example of this, he says, is the fact that the U.S. education system is English-only. According to Carter, Miami has the biggest “bilingual situation going on.”
“So for the most part, where we don’t educate our kids in Spanish,” said Carter. “They learn Spanish in the home, then they go to school, and they learn that to be successful in the United States, they need to not only acquire English but maybe demote their Spanish.”
Dr. Jonathan Rosa, Assistant Professor from Stanford University believes that this is a good time to have an event of this nature.
“ So you’ve got the conversation happening as a border, you’ve got conversations happening about gender,” said Rosas, who is Puerto Rican. “And those conversations happen together, I should say, as well, for many people, they’re not separate from each other.”
This event is trying to tackle these instances, as well as trying to help students explore the feeling of being too Hispanic to be American or too American to be Hispanic.
“The event is designed to do that,” said Carter.”Let people come, think, reflect, see things differently, see things in a new light. And, decide for themselves, to create their own theory of themselves through this type of engagement.”
The mission of the center, according to Carter, is to embrace Miami as Miami.
“ So what is special about Miami? What is unique about Miami? What is special and unique about FIU?” said Carter. “We don’t have any other unit on campus that does that work.”
Part of the event is also to de-problematize Latinity.
“No Latino Hispanic student at FIU, the largest Hispanic serving institution, should go around carrying identity baggage about latinidad at all,” said Carter. “No matter what, no matter if you embrace it or don’t embrace it.”
Dr. Rosa believes that Latinx issues are far more than a language or geographical issue.
“I think lives are lived across nation-state borders, across ethno-racial borders, across linguistic borders, across gender, borders of gender and sexuality,” said Rosa. “I think the ways that people’s lives transgress those borders… they point us to a new world, to other worlds… to other possible futures.”