How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Que viva el Vivaporu

Photo by TK/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A vintage jar of Vivaporu, May 2010

So being out sick today has me thinking about ways to feel better, and while I have yet to reach into the medicine cabinet for it, I've been thinking about Vivaporu.

To everyone else, it's Vicks VapoRub. To generations of Latinos who as children were smeared under the nose and on the chest with the minty, smelly, greasy stuff by immigrant parents and grandparents, it's alternately known as Vivaporu, Bibaporu (how Caribbean types, like my folks, tend to pronounce it) or the one-size-fits-all Veex.

A quick search brought up several blog posts ("My Mom Made Me Eat Vicks!" one headline screams), videos, even t-shirts dedicated to Vivaporu, the Latin American cure-all and, for some, torture cream. Here's what Latina-ish guest blogger Joe Ray posted about Vivaporu as applied by his Sinaloan mother (with my slight G-rated edit):

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In the news this morning: The underestimated Latino vote, SB 1070's Russell Pearce to lead AZ senate, more

Did Polls Underestimate Democrats' Latino Vote? - New York Times Yes. From the story: "In Nevada, however, where most polls showed Sharron Angle ahead and Harry Reid instead won by almost 6 points, the polls were pretty far off the mark."

Election: Minorities helped fuel Harry Reid's victory in Nevada - Los Angeles Times More on how a record Latino voter turnout helped the Senate Majority Leader keep his seat.

POLL: Are You Excited About Susana Martinez's Election Win? - Latina At the moment, the majority of those responding to the magazine's evolving online poll regarding New Mexico's new Republican governor elect and Tea Party favorite say they are not.

Latino Voters Save the West for Democrats - COLORLINES In California, Colorado and Nevada, Latino voter turnout helped win key races for Democrats that many expected them to lose.

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Hasta mañana

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A perfectly good place to put my voter sticker, November 2, 2010

After fulfilling my civic duty yesterday and then some, I'll be out for the rest of today.

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Quote of the moment: A Latino first-time voter on offensive campaign ads

“That was the final straw. She was depicting me as a gang member. I served seven years in the Marine Corps.”

- Gilberto Ramirez, a Reno concrete worker and first-time voter quoted in the Las Vegas Sun regarding defeated Senate candidate Sharron Angle's campaign ads


The Sun and various other news outlets have reported on just how critically decisive the Latino vote was in the re-election of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid captured the support of 90 percent of Nevada's Latino voters, who turned out in record numbers - some, like recently-naturalized citizen Ramirez, incensed by a series of much-criticized campaign ads from Reid's Republican opponent Sharron Angle.

Perhaps the Angle ad that drew the most ire was one called "The Wave," in which images of young Latino-looking men appeared with a voiceover that began: “Waves of illegal aliens streaming across our border, joining violent gangs, forcing families to live in fear...”

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Reaction to Oklahoma's controversial, precedent-setting anti-Sharia law

Photo by Il Primo Uomo/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A closely watched and potentially influential state initiative banning the use of Islamic Sharia law (also spelled Shariah and Shari'ah) in Oklahoma passed by an overwhelming margin yesterday.

In The Washington Post's On Faith column today, political science professor Muqtedar Khan wrote:

Critics of Shariah in Oklahoma argue that they also oppose the Shariah law because it is against freedom of religion. In this age, when ignorance and bigotry are being celebrated in America, I am sure that most people in Oklahoma must have missed the irony in the situation.

The key sentence in the State question 755 is: It forbids courts from considering or using international law. It forbids courts from considering or using Shariah Law. The proposition also bans international law. To consider how ignorant both the authors and the voters of the proposition are, please take a look at Article Six, Section I, Clause II of the US constitution. It is called the supremacy clause.

According to this clause, international treaties to which the U.S. government is a signatory become "the supreme law of the land". Treaties, along with custom and UN declarations are the main sources of international law (the proposition 755 actually mentions it). Thus by rejecting international law the proposition designed to institutionalize Islamophobia in Oklahoma, has effectually said "thanks, but no thanks" to the U.S. Constitution.

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