How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

'Latino America' is a hard thing to define, but here's a shot at it

As luck would have it, a founding member of San Diego's respected Taco Shop Poets happens to be one of my colleagues, and he's still writing brilliant stuff. KPCC reporter Adolfo Guzman-Lopez provided a poetic introduction to a panel he moderated last week at the station called "The State of Latino America," an America so broad and diverse that it resists definition.

So Adolfo penned his own definition, based upon the people he's interviewed as a reporter during the past 11 years in Los Angeles. He read it to the audience before the panel and has now posted it in his weekly MovieMiento column for KCET. A few of his denizens of Latino SoCal:

The Mexican American Mayor who remembers the Brown Buffalo.

The Chilean exile who saves dropouts on skid row.

The longshore worker from Wilmington who said "those wetbacks."

The cycling Dreamer with the big 'ol bigote.

The Chicano ranchera singer from Tucson who tears up because Mexico betrays.

His gay son.

The Argentinian cyclists at the velodrome.

The 27-year-old councilman who learned from Ferraro to count to eight.

The lexicon barber.

The 1980s radio reporter, welcomed by, "get that Mexican off the air."

The Cal State LA graduate with boxing gloves and pink wrapping around her knuckles.

The Downey college grad who lives in her car

And her film about a Cuban American lesbian aspiring photojournalist with a lust for bi-women and malt liquor.

The East L.A. Japanese Americans who have tias in Tijuana.

Read more at: www.kcet.org

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