From «Vergüenza» to «Échale Ganas»
Chapter 5. El Muerto y El Arrima’o Al Tercer Día Apesta
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EL MUERTO Y EL ARRIMA’O AL TERCER DíA APESTA(THE DEAD BODY, AS WELL AS THE GUEST, STINKS BY THE THIRD DAY)
Latino immigrants and their children are struggling to gain a foothold in American society in the face of governmental policies that make their lives exceeding difficult. The immigration status of themselves or their parents makes getting an education, a job, a driver’s license, and medical care both a daily effort and something that requires the development of long-term strategies. (Chavez, 2008, p. 50)
One morning my students and I were analyzing some dichos (proverbs) in Spanish, how some of them had English translations, and how some others were strictly related to our Latin American cultures. Suddenly, a Latina girl exclaimed: “El muerto y el arrima’o al tercer día apesta” (The dead body, as well as the guest, stinks by the third day). Since I had already heard that dicho (proverb) back home, I asked my student how it related to us as immigrants to this country. She shared that this dicho (proverb) applied to racist people who did not like Latinos/Latinas. My student’s example became a form of communal knowledge for everyone in the room. Whether through personal experiences or those of family members, there was a collective consensus that discrimination was something we had to face on a daily basis. We became consciously aware that Latino/Latina immigrants were not welcome in the community.
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