The poem English con Salsa by Gina Valdes really hit home to me. Both my parents came to the United States from different countries and they brought their own individual traditions with them. My family’s household is a blend of American culture with Latino culture. The picture on top is Frida Kahlo’s Self Portrait of 1932. I think this photograph strongly depicts Valdes poem. In the painting, Frida is standing in between the border of Mexico and America. I feel that Valdes poem is about finding that “inbetween” feeling between two cultures.
The poem English con Salsa uses a lot of humor. The beginning of the poem reads,
“Welcome to ESL, English Surely Latinized,
ingles con chile y cilantro, English as American
as Benito Juarez.”
The first line offers humor because ESL (English as a second language) is referred to as English Surely Latinized. She is using humor to show that even though the student is learning English they are still going to Latinize it. I think that the main point that Valdes makes with her poem is that although Latinos are coming to America they are still going to keep their Latin culture with them. She recognizes that immigrants are coming to America then learning the language and customs, but at the same time they still embrace their Mexican traditions. It’s not about moving to America and forgetting where you came from, but being able to blend the two cultures together.
Valdes also speaks about the promise of the American Dream. The reason that most immigrants come to America is to make a better living for themselves and their family.
“in four weeks you can ask. More coffee? in two months
you can say. May I take your order? In one year you
can ask for a raise”
She uses humor to portray how people come to America to make a better life for themselves.
In the last stanza she depicts many Mexican traditions, names places, and customs again to prove the point that Mexicans are becoming Americanized, but at the same time not forgetting where they came from.
Do you think it’s important to embrace your families or ancestors culture? What where your thoughts when you read Valdes’s poem.
Lastly, I found a good video of the poem being read outloud. Many of the places in Mexico were difficult for me to pronounce so it was nice hearing this poem read outloud.