Photo by Stian Roenning Pepe Billete.
I've always hated the use of the word Latino in American mass media, because it's a blanket term that describes a myriad of different cultures. It promotes generalities and dilutes many different cultures into one big stereotype, in the minds of non-Latinos and to me. There is nothing I am more honored to describe myself as than a Cuban-American from the 305. However, I can honestly say I feel an equal sense of pride when we Latinos use the term among ourselves to show solidarity and support for one another.
I first felt that pride when I went to San Antonio last year to support the Heat in the finals, and my Mexican people not only welcomed me with open arms, but had my back when the AT&T Center banned me from Game 4 and we stood together yelling "¡Libertad!" in front of the arena -- until arena security let me into Game 5.
I went to San Antonio alone and expecting the worst after seeing reports of Heat fans getting attacked and almost killed for simply wearing Heat colors. Yet, there I was, dressed in Heat gear from eye to ass, standing with a big group of Mexican Spurs fans, who knew I was going in there to sit courtside and yell shit at their team, but who still fought for me until they let me into the game. When I asked one of them why they showed el tio so much love, the answer I got was as profoundly meaningful as it was simple, "You're a Latino, we're brothers." I will cherish that memory forever.More »