Please insert your posts/comments regarding the different cultural events you attended for extra credit. If you know of any other events that could be of interest to our class, please let me know. More information on each event will be shared as individual posts (and hyperlinked) on the titles below.

  • Ricardo Bacallao film screening (PRLACC)
  • Luis B. Eyzaguirre Lecture“Restoring (Tapia’s) Campeche: The Role of the Visual Arts in Arturo A. Schomburg’s Afro-Atlantic Archive.” Presented by: Cesar A. Salgado, University of Texas-Austin (Babbidge Library, Class of 1947 Room)
  • A Conversation with Charlie Vazquez (PRLACC)

21 Responses to Events

  1. Audrey Allyn says:

    Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for the entire movie, but I was able to watch most of it. I saw throughout it a lot of things we had already talked about in class. The first part was when the main character goes to visit his uncle on his birthday and his uncle greets him with a “hey how are you, how many girlfriends do you have now”. We later uncover that his uncle knew that his nephew was homosexual all along. This goes to show that by asking that question, even though he already knew the answer he was hopeful that he was straight, or even that he would get the answer that he already knew. This ties in with the fact that people feel the need to define others and their sexuality.
    There was also a strong sense of being masculine in this movie. We see the main character constantly working out and doing push ups. I think that this could be from the fact that he came from a family where it seems like everyone else was powerful and seemed scared of nothing, not even killing another person, and maybe the fact that he thought he needed to make up for the fact that he was gay. When he finally agrees to kill the man that murdered his abuela, he does it with the intention of getting back of what life was already taken. Just the fact that he feels the need to avenge his abuela’s death would give him the satisfaction of pleasing his family, when he might not feel as though he has done so.

  2. Joseph C. Sokola says:

    Unfortunately, I also missed the last few minutes of the movie, leaving me on the edge of my seat as to how it ended. This movie brings up many important points concerning Manuel and the conflict that he becomes involved with after his Uncle tells him about the Cuban Colonel who murdered his grandfather, and his urge to get revenge. Although hesitant, Manuel finally agrees to help his Uncle. The ideas of masculinity that have been presented in the previous stories we have read and watched are included in this movie as well, as his Uncle asks him if he is gay even though he claims that he already knew, as Manuel never brought a girl home. I would certainly agree with what was said about the fact that he feels the need to be powerful, strong and fearless in order to ensure his masculinity in front of his Uncle. After his Uncle convinces him that revenge is what his father would have wanted for him, Manuel seems to realize that murdering the retired Colonel would be to dwell in the past, but it would be “justice” for his family. He may want to get revenge to prove his masculinity to not only his Uncle, but to the memories of his deceased relatives. As a homosexual, he may feel as though he may have to do this because his family may not have thought of him as masculine in the past because of his sexuality.

    • John Wilkinson says:

      Do you think that the primary motivations of Manuel were focused more on his masculinity? In the beginning I definitely agree with you. There’s a complex notion of masculinity, sexuality, and nationalism all mixed into one. Howeve, as the movie progresses and the Uncle knows about his homosexuality, it seems that Manuel’s motivations become more for his Uncle’s money in the will. At a certain point, it seemed more of a mean of economic preservation to Manuel rather than revenge or and expression of masculinity.

  3. Manuel’s journey from being an average college man to being all mixed up in his uncle’s conquest for revenge definitely hooked my attention right away. At first glance, this movie looks like a really low budget film with bad acting. However, if you give it 10 minutes, you start to grow an appreciation for the characters and for the excellent cinematography of the entire piece. I thought the clarity of the shots was remarkable, and the progression of the characters was really well thought out.
    In terms of masculinity, I though Manuel was machismo enough without having to go and kill anybody. His uncle a racist and sexist man, surely was in no place to be giving anyone (especially his nephew) advice on how to be a true man or a whole-human being. Still, the thought of taking someone’s life to be considered a “true” man is really interesting to me.
    I also appreciated how the concept of sexuality figured into the movie, and I loved how we got a glimpse into the dynamics of Manuel and his partner. It wasn’t all unveiled to us in the beginning. (however, i totally caught on to the fact that they were in love from the start) but the director made it a point to keep the exact level of intimacy a secret until well into the movie.
    I also hate the uncle for killing Manuel’s partner, he did not deserve that.

  4. Sabryne Vidal says:

    I really enjoyed this movie, but unfortunately I couldn’t stay for the discussion afterwards although I wish I had to learn more about the background of the film. Overall I was really impressed at how Mr. Bacallao was able to incorporate so many thematic elements in a span of 80 minutes. You have the themes of racism, sexism, homophobia, masculinity, politics…etc. Anyway, I wanted to focus on Manuel’s closeted sexuality and his constant dedication/respect for his family, especially while living around his homophobic, and “masculine” uncle Manolo in NY. For instance, in the beginning his uncle asks him, “Hey, campeón, how many girlfriends do you have now?”- here is a prime example of just how masculine his uncle is in a way implying how it’s an achievement to have had so many women, kind of objectifying women again as prizes or trophies. Later on uncle Manolo is also seen forcing his beliefs onto Manuel, saying “that it’s not normal for him to just sit next to a woman and not spark up a conversation with her”, after sensing Manuel’s disinterest and aloof demeanor at a restaurant. Here is another example of how the ideal masculine character (uncle Manolo) is pressuring his own masculine and heterosexual cultural values and beliefs onto Manuel. With this said, it is safe to assume that his uncle Manolo is opposed to homosexuality or anything not male-like. Especially when he asks Manuel if he’s a “maricón” or faggot while they’re out discussing the plan, and once more while they’re passing by the Gay Parade and uncle Manolo says something like, “lets leave the street of the maricones”. Or another time where uncle Manolo says something like, “you’re 30 years old and you haven’t brought a girl home yet…”. This last quote reminded me of one part in Rain God where the narrator (Miguel Chico) briefly suggests his sexuality and how no one really knows what it is because he’s never really brought a girl home to the family (subtly implying that he’s gay and hiding from his family’s rejection). This was just a connection I made between Manuel and Miguel Chico, but back to Manuel-here are just a few of the instances where Manuel feels pressured to deny/hide his gay sexuality because of his uncle’s derogatory gay remarks, clear case of homophobia, and ideal masculine/heterosexual-centered lifestyle.
    We can see how strong the family influence is on Manuel’s closeted homosexuality. This reaches its peak when Manuel finally opens up about his sexuality fed up with his uncle’s arrogant and radical ways of thinking. Here, uncle Manolo finally admits that the whole family has known all along and that the entire scheme was not about getting justice, but to turn him into a man at his mother’s request. For me, uncle Manolo saying this was very climactic and I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true. I feel like besides getting justice, there was a persistent underlying motive especially after having put all that pressure on Manuel. It’s just so crazy how a young man like Manuel, trying to make it in the city away from the violence of Cuba- is still strongly influenced by his family,their traditional beliefs and cultural values preventing him from feeling free and comfortable in his own body.
    ~Sabryne Vidal

  5. Amber Jones says:

    I truly enjoyed the movie by Richard Bacallao. It expressed the pain, history and culture of Cuba and its people who moved away from their country. Within all the facets of the movie the theme of masculinity really shined through. The character Manuel was hiding the fact that he was in a relationship with another man. It was very evident to see that he was struggling with his choice to be with a man. This struggle was between his heart and mind. His heart wanted to openly be with his boyfriend but his mind made him feel as though he would not be accepted by society and this caused him pain. When his uncle questioned his sexuality, he did so in a very mocking way. He asked him if he was a “faggot”. The way that he decided to frame his words exposes not only his rejection to homosexuality but the Latino community’s rejection as a whole towards the topic.

    His uncle played the hyper macho figure who possessed this preconceived notion of how a man should be. His uncle used violence as a means to assert himself and desired his nephew to do the same. I believe that Manuel was a man without asserting himself in the typical role of a macho man who uses violence. Towards the end of the movie he followed his heart and did not pull the trigger although he was pressured to by his uncle. It takes a real man to stand up for what they believe in than someone who follows others. At the very end the uncle exposes that he killed Manuel’s boyfriend; his uncle said he did this because he thought he would snitch on them but I think that he killed him because he could not live with the thought that his nephew was dating a man.Overall I thought the movie was great, with so many themes I think Richard really came up with a cohesive film.

  6. Romy Garcia says:

    I think being able to see this film by Ricardo Bacallao was a nice treat. I’ve always been very interested in learning about the Cuban culture because they function much different then we do here in the US and any other country I have visited. The Cuban Film, “The Uncle’s Request” had an interesting story line, it was about an Uncle seeking revenge for his fathers murder, but for one reason or another he felt he could not complete this mission alone so he set up his nephew to feel bad for him and help him do his dirty work. Although the nephew, Manuel did want to see the man who killed his grandfather and caused his father suffering for many years he did not necessarily want to kill this man. He did not want to sacrifice his free life in the United States to kill someone so even while he walking around with his uncle who is killing all sorts of innocent people he feel very guilty for it.

    Throughout the movie I am not sure if I missed this part but I never understood what the previous relationship Manuel had with his uncle. The way the uncle set Manuel up was by lying and sayong that he was dying with cancer and had 6-8 months of life left and that he would inherit his house worth 5 million dollars and that we would just ask for one more thing from him which was get revenge for his father (Manuel’s grandfather”s) death. Manuel’s uncle gave him a deadline to respond and accept the “mission” at around the time of the deadline we see the uncle with a gun to his mouth, does anyone think that he would of actually shot himself if Manuel didn’t accept the offer?

    Another thing about Manuel is that he was a gay student who still had not “came out” to his family. Manuel had a lover who he had to lie to but eventually found out and was upset at his for agreeing to get justice by killing. His uncle was pretty bazaar he walked around killing innocent people and saying there are no innocent people. He was even harsh toward his nephew; he would always ask his about girlfriends and one time even asked him if he was a faggot, when Manuel finally admitted he said he knew in fact the entire family knew and was just waiting for him to admit to it. Towards the end of the film he even goes on to admit that he killed Manuel’s boyfriend.

    The biggest twist of events was at the very end when they finally have captured the man who killed Manuel’s grandfather but Manuel doesn’t have the guts to kill him and they find out that it is really his uncle’s fault why his grandfather was killed. Overall it was a really good film I could not get my eyes off the screen and wish I were able to stay after for the discussion.

  7. Amy Hahm says:

    This movie was really an eye opening experience. I did not really know about the history of war and battle between the culture of Cuba and other Latinos. I believe this movie was a perfect parallel to what we have been learning in class in terms of Latino masculinity and hyper masculinity. The protagonist was a Latino homosexual, who was hiding his relationship with another man from his uncle throughout the whole film, Manuel. There are several times when his uncle uses his homosexuality as a weakness. I specifically remember how his uncle persuades Manuel to do certain things to “prove” his masculinity. He also asks Manuel, what his mother would think of him. It is obvious that Manuel loves his boyfriend, but interacting with his uncle, I feel as though he is ashamed to come out because it compromises his masculinities. There were several times in the film when his uncle refers to homosexuals as ‘faggots’ or even when he asked him if he was. His uncle’s behavior really emphasized the negative stigma of homosexuality and his inability to accept homosexuality.

    We learned in class about a machismo figure typically displayed in Latino culture. I think Manuel’s uncle was a perfect example of a hyper machismo male figure. His uncle forced these machismo beliefs on Manuel in attempts of preserving his masculinity because he knew Manuel was a homosexual. I hated how his uncle used homosexuality and Manuel’s fear of being losing his masculinity or disgracing his family because he was gay as a bribing point for Manuel to commit crimes and be violent. His uncle was the typical violent macho figure that we went over in class. I thought this movie was such a treat and so eye opening to a series of events I did not know much about. I also loved how it illustrated the culture of Latino masculinities so vividly. It was a great film!

  8. The movie was extremely enlightening I not only learned so much about the war culture of Cuba and other Latinos. But I also learned so much about machismo. When we firsts saw the movie we weren’t truly able to see that the main character was gay and had a partner. I believe that the grandfather wanted to kill the man that killed his brother mainly because he knew it was intended for him and he was the main reason for his brothers death which is something that a person cant take to lightly, he doesn’t want to be known for him coward acts. Manuel is in love with his partner but it also is extremely embarrassed of what his family might think of him and his actions. I believe that the reason as to why he was agreeing so much with his grandfather is because he truly didn’t have anywhere else to turn to. I believe that not only his grandfather but also Manuel wants to prove his masculinity and that he is not only a man but a person who will stick up for himself and instead of trying to be something that he is not to just truly accept that he is in love with his partner.

  9. This movie was pretty interesting especially now that I’ve actually learned about some of the themes discussed in the movie. The biggest theme of the movie was revenge which goes great with the ideas of machismo that we have discussed. As a man Manuel’s uncle couldn’t deal with the fact that his brother was killed trying to hide him and in order to save to get revenge, and possibly save his pride he went on a string of murders of men involved in the killings. I believe it wasn’t discussed in the movie but my interpretation was that he could have been ashamed of the fact that he hid from the men looking for him and this resulted in his brother getting arrested and killed instead. So i believe that he was trying to re-establish himself as a man by finding these men and killing them. I think that this could have also contributed to the way he reacted when he found out that his nephew was with a man, putting him down for it in order to make himself feel like more of a man.

    The idea of Manuel hiding his sexuality was also explored in the movie. He wouldn’t tell his uncle about his partner, and i couldn’t tell if he was ashamed or if he was scared of how his family would react. I feel that from what we’ve learned in class that , at least older generations, Latino communities aren’t very accepting of any non heterosexual activities and therefore Manuel was scared of possibly being ostracized by his family if they found out about his partner.

    To me the best part of the movie was when it came out, unless i misunderstood, the his uncle was a member of Batista’s army and how it threw our view of the events a curveball. The whole time i assumed that the uncle had been a part of the resistance and had therefore been fighting for the freedom of the Cuban people and was being hunted for that, not that he was on the “wrong” side and was being hunted for what the Batistas had done.His quest for revenge all of a sudden seemed a lot less justified and I was left confused since from what ive learned the Batistas commited terrible crimes, but i could understand wanting to hunt down the people that had killed a member of your family. Overall this movie was great, and i was surprised by how good it was since i didn’t expect much if it was small enough for the director to visiting our school and discussing it.

  10. Unfortunately i was stuck in the hallway for most of Mr Salgado’s presentation so it was hard to hear what was going on. But from what i could hear I was confused about how it related to the course, so i looked into Schomburg online and found out that he was Afro-puerto rican. After that it started to make more sense, with what Mr Saldago had been talking about with these artist who had been slaves and and once their masters discovered their talents allowed them to learn and paint. Some of the art showed typically masculine things like the painting of the man with the horse, and how he explained that the man was being dominant over the horse, displaying his manliness. Though the biggest thing about the speech seemed to be about Schomburg, rediscovering a lost history of these people and looking at this history in a different way. The biggest reason this speech went with our class though was because it was looking at a culture through its art and literature with the paintings and Schomburgs writings, just like we have in class with the movies and books.

  11. Amber Jones says:

    On April 9th Professor Salgado gave his presentation on Schomburg, who is an Afro- Puerto Rica. When he was displayed on the projector I actually thought that he was African American. This idea leads to the discussion of how looks are deceiving. Schomburg was a man who tried to get African American art publicized. Due to the fact that he experienced discrimination himself when he came to the United Sates he felt a need help others like him progress. He helped with the Harlem Renaissance. This idea can actually be related to our class where we discussed AIDS/HIV and how everyone possesses these preconceived notions on the disease. Most of the times people who judge before knowing the truth behind the issue are usually wrong. Some of the ideas that people have of AIDS/HIV were completely ridiculous but many people believed in them. This can be correlated to the idea of ignorance because people who discriminated against Schomburg and people who have AIDS/HIV are only ignorant because they are fearful of the unknown and that is what keeps ignorance alive. This discussion made me think outside the box and relate a topic that seemed like it didn’t relate at all to masculinity to the topic; it just shows that linkages of masculinity can be found in all aspects of life.

  12. Sabryne Vidal says:

    Unfortunately I missed the first half of Mr. Charlie Vazquez’s reading but I made it just in time for “Yermo”. He spoke about not wanting to write another physical erotica story between two lovers and wanted to focus more on the sexual tension going on between them. Mr. Vazquez continued to say how, “the tension is more exciting than the act itself”- and I find this to very true. When you meet something or someone for the first time, it’s like you want to keep observing this new thing or person, and curiosity strikes and manifests into this constant obsession that just makes you want to know more and more about the “other”. This just keeps feeding into the sexual tension experienced between Carlos and Yermo.
    Carlos is significantly intrigued by Yermo because of the racial, class and overall identity differences, but at the same time terrified for his life because of Yermo’s strange requests and behavior. Mr. Vazquez said that the “unknown” influences enough to make people act out in strange ways, this is most likely the reason why Carlos was so submissive throughout the entire time and willing to follow Yermo’s orders, where the urge to find out kept him going. Even without the physical aspect of sexuality being exposed, I felt like the tension in and of itself was enough to sense the lust between them both. I really enjoyed how Mr. Vazquez implemented the different class and racial identities to create a new dynamic/ style of erotica where one observes another just out of pure curiosity (essentially because they’re two different people) leading them to behave in stalker-like ways.
    ~Sabryne Vidal

  13. Amber Jones says:

    Due to work I come to Charles Vazquez’s presentation somewhat later but I felt like I still got a sense of him and his work. He seemed very laid back and relatable which was comforting. He was an open book willing to talk openly about his history and his experiences, which was a learning experience. I thought one interesting aspect that he shared was a feature his friend and co-writer expressed to him. The information that his friend shared with him is actually in his piece of work and instead of reading the excerpt he generally explained it to us. Although the explanation of the story was general it expressed a lot and helped me understand the community better. He explained that his friend starting hustling on the streets by selling his body for money. In saying this, Charles said that this was something usual in the gay community, that it was just something that people did to survive. He stated that he had many friends that took part in this action. When he ended off the story by saying that his friend soon contracted HIV/AIDS I was taken aback. This exposed a larger picture for me; it gave me more information on how the male body is used and regarded by others and by its owners, this correlated with Yermo. After hearing this story I related it to Yermo because I feel as though Yermo did the same thing with his body. He got a sense that Carlos liked men so he exposed himself in hopes that Carlos would take notice and take initiative. Since Carlos was from America he had the preconceived notion that he had money and due to the descriptive writing of Yermo’s abode we can tell that Yermo was struggling. I think in Yermo’s eyes, although he held a sort of animosity towards the US he saw the benefits of being with someone from the U.S. In talking to people who were there to hear Charles talk about Yermo they said that Charles put the unknown within the story purposely because the unknown influenced and encouraged Carlos to be unconventional. This idea can be related to our course because I feel like most of the reading we do contain the unknown. For example we see in “Drown” how the unknown of how he should receive his curious friend and as readers how we should determine what stage he is in his sexuality, we also see this in Down these Mean Streets with Piri and how he interacts with same sex activities and how we should receive him as well. The unknown is essential to note.

  14. Kaydo says:

    The documentary by Ricardo Bacallao was moving in the sense that the main character had to endure so much adversity coming for multiple directions. Not only was he a descendant of an assassin of the Cuban Dictatorship, a minority student at an Ivy League fighting for a law degree, but he was also a homosexual male dating a man out side of his race.

    His uncle, an enraged Cuban suffering from the guilt of being the cause of his brother’s death wanted nothing more but revenge on the man who killed him. The concept that I can not grasp behind this situation is that the general who murdered the Uncle’s brother lived among the city as if his past did not haunt him. Were these just men following orders? Those under the rule and persuasion of a dictator? Did they regret what they did? The general only seemed to show his regret due to the fear of dying by the hands of the brother he killed.

    Another opinion I have about the documentary is that I don’t think the gruesome death of the main character’s boyfriend was necessary. There was a lot of serious moments in the movie, but the slight comedic approaches to certain scenes made the way the boyfriend die unbelievable. Yes, the Uncle was crazy and had a passionate goal to get revenge, but for some reason the method he killed his nephew’s boyfriend was unrealistic.

  15. Kaydo says:

    I enjoyed the reading by Charlie Vasquez. It was great to hear the stories instead of reading them because I was able to interpret the story from the perspective of the writer. Although I walked in late due to work, I was happy that Charlie was able to read the story Yermo. I got a lot more from the story hearing it from him as opposed to reading it and dissecting it myself.

    Charlie’s imagery brought a life like scenery to his story. Although imagining Puerto Rico to those who have never been there would be rather hard to imagine. The story behind and between the two characters however was quite imaginable thanks to the excellent style of writing by Vasquez.

    My question was answered by Vasquez as to “What was the compelling force that seduced Carlos into following Yermo through a series of rather odd situations?” My opinions and that of the discussion we had in class was that it was either blatant attraction and sexual tension, the fact that Yermo challenged Carlos on different levels, and the curiosity of who Yermo was. Vasquez told us that he wanted to depict a rarely expressed form of attraction through his writing. The combination of curiosity and fear created a chain effect that even though confused or aggravated Carlos, it pulled him in closer and closer.

  16. I too was not able to see the end of the movie but I found a lot of things intriguing and connecting with some of the things we were discussing in class. A main theme in this movie is revenge and violence. These are both characteristics of what machismo may consist of. Manuel`s uncle was a prime example of a hyper-masculine Latino man. He uncle was not only controlling but tried to push what he believed a man should be especially a man in his family on to Manuel. Richard Bacallao did a great job with putting together the plot for this movie. The topics brought up in the movie, homosexuality, violence, revenge, shame etc, tie in with Latino masculinity perfectly.
    The movie was about a man wanting revenge for the death of his father and requesting his nephew (Manuel) who is a college student to help him. There was a scene where Manuel appeared annoyed by his uncle`s call and expressed that he did not want anything to do with him. I assumed it was because Manuel was appear of the ways of his uncle but was soon lured in by his uncle`s deceit. Manuel tries to hide his relationship from his uncle who is demanding, racist, homophobic and irrational. Initially Manuel was not willing to kill this man his uncle believed was the man who was at fault for the death of a family member. This man was a professor of Manuals` ( I think) and Manuel`s uncle wanted to set the man up and have Manuel kidnap him and eventually kill him. I found the process of stalking this man and how persistent the uncle was very interesting. From the uncle lying about dying to persuade his nephew to agree to help him; every aspect of their mission said a lot about their characters.
    In all, I found the movie to be quite interesting. I was not able to see the ending but I was able to see where the uncle`s lies were revealed and Manuel and his uncle had a disagreement and he decided to not help his uncle with his mission. I wondered what the ending of the movie was like. When I left I was on edge and wanting to know more.

  17. Jesse Drinks says:

    We recently herd that NBA player Jason Collins has announced that he is openly gay. I personally think that this is a great thing to happen because he could be leading the way for more athletes to be comfortable coming out. Over time there has been a huge issue about homosexuals in sports and even more of an issue is homosexuals in the locker room. Some people have given negative feedback as two athletes posted some negative words. Other people stated this as a nonstory and we should be focusing on more important things that this. I don’t think that these people see the importance of this. Think about the severity of Jackie Robinson becoming the first black major league baseball player. He changed the game completely and even though I don’t think that Jason Collins coming out is going to change the way basketball is played, I think that it is going to change the atmosphere and the culture. I believe that more players are going to come out and I think that this is going to change some young children’s lives. I see him as a role-model and a leader who understood that he was going to be scrutinized and had the courage to not only be a openly homosexual athlete but to be the first and only one on a major U.S. team.

    As an athlete I understand how big of a deal this is and even though I haven’t seen first hand how this works in the locker room I see how he would have felt before finally coming out. You have these great relationships with all of your teammates because you go through so much together. It’s the blood, sweat, and tears of workouts and competition, being around each other so often, and relying on one another to succeed that makes you a family. Knowing how big the issue of homosexuals in sports is I would have been reluctant to express my sexuality if I were Jason. Its tough to think about the idea that your sexuality can come between the people that you are the closest with. This is why I commend Jason Collins on the bravery that he possesses. I also applaud all Jason’s teammates, coaches, the Wizards organization, other NBA players, and other athletes and celebrity figures for the support that they expressed to him. President Obama even reached out to him to let him know that he respected his courage and conveyed his support. This is huge so that he can understand that people respect what he has done. Now if there are any other athletes that are worried about coming out they see how positive people are about this and maybe now more will come out and express their sexuality.

  18. Skylar Smith says:

    Jason Collins recent announcement that he is gay comes as a shock to the world. He is arguably the first openly gay active basketball player. He is a current free agent and no one knows yet whether this announcement will affect his career. The interesting aspect of his decision is that, whether or not he is drafted by an NBA team, multiple articles have been discussing how this will definitely help his future. He has the opportunity to represent different brands, companies, broadcast companies, in and out of the LGBTQ community. Being an active player and coming out gives him an array of opportunities if he is not picked up by another NBA team.

    He has recently been compared to Jackie Robinson because of the barriers that they both broke. Although the barrier he broke may not be as substantial as Jackie Robinson’s to many, the principle of the concept still relates. No one was talking about what Jackie Robinson would do after baseball but everyone is talking about what Jason Collins will do. Although he has received criticism from athletes and people around the world, the support is “overwhelming,” in his words. Times are changing and it is time society, as a whole, begins to accept whatever comes their way. Normative behaviors are becoming a thing of the past due to the individualized nature of the Internet. An abundance of information is available at the tips of our fingers and it is giving people the opportunity to shape their own lives. Being openly gay in the NBA will and already has inspired people all over the world.

    “Imagine you’re in the oven, baking. Some of us know and accept our sexuality right away and some need more time to cook. I should know – I baked for 33 years”

    Jason Collins responded with the quote above in response to the Boston Marathon. He realized how fast something can happen and how quickly circumstances can change something. He talks about how coming out has been such a relief as he now feels very honest with himself and with the public. Good things are to come for Jason Collins.

  19. John Wilkinson says:

    Ricardo Bacallao’s film was entertaining and very well done. Specifically, there was one aspect that impressed me above all others: the ability to seamlessly tie in both political and sexual discourse. Within the film, there exists both the story of the complexity of Cuban politics and the story of homosexual expression, particularly in the context of Latino communities. More often than not, when a film attempts to focus on sexuality and one or more other topics, sexuality or gender seems to be relegated to a token status. For example, in The Crying Game, the movie focuses on both transexuality as well as Irish nationalism, never fully committing to either and simply making both token aspects of the story. It is in media such as this that the queer characters seem to exist merely to have a queer character in the story rather than to explore their story.

    By contrast, Ballacao’s film interwove the character’s sexuality and the memory of Cuban politics without effort. The homosexual relationship was not presented as a token or attraction of the film, but simply just a relationship. The underscoring of the relationship increased its effectiveness in both not disjointing the story into two halves and normalizing the relationship for the audience. Further his inability to tell his family of his homosexuality and his fear of his uncle’s response serves to compound the conflicting identity in the film. His connection to Cuba is one of removed and watered-down nationalism though he enjoys the United States, he is motivated by economic security, and he is in a homosexual relationship that is filling with tension. Ballacao manages to weave all of this together to create a character of complexity, not merely a gay man who happens to be Cuban or a Cuban who happens to be gay. The identities are inseparable and the film articulates this phenomenally well.

  20. John Wilkinson says:

    Jason Collin’s coming out demonstrates a number of different political connotations. In his press statement, Collins asserted that he was gay and that he was black. In a number of my blog posts, I’ve discussed the concept of multi-faceted identities. The three aspects of his identity are his homosexuality, his being black, and his status as an athlete. At no point are these three principles capable of being separated from the others. Each one of these aspects influences and is developed by the others. Further, as the sportswriter LZ Granderson states in the embedded video, the shifting political climate of today expresses a more open and tolerant culture, perhaps shocked by the announcement, but also supportive and not expressing a revulsion.

    My first thought of Collin’s coming out was that it reminded me of Magic Johnson’s revelation that he has HIV. Though the hype around Magic Johnson was significantly more, both announcements have put an issue or identity in front of the face of all of America. I also thought about how would the players respond. Though paranoia about HIV was far beyond current – general – reactions to homosexuality, there may be some tension in the locker rooms and on the basketball court. Further, his status as a free agent may affect his playing career and this announcement may influence teams and their players. It will be interesting to see if Nelson Mandela’s interpretation of sports – that they can unite a people – will hold true in the acceptance of Collins

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