How the U.S. Latinx Imaginary Understands Central American Migration

This cartoon may seem like hyperbole, a lot of my work seems to fall in that dreadful category. But real talk, in the popular imaginary of Latinidad as constructed in the United States, the Central American story of migration has a bit of a gap. A 2,000 mile gap to be precise.

Despite modest efforts to discuss the hundreds of thousands of deportations of Central Americans by the Mexican state, or the 20,000+ disappeared Central Americans in Mexico, or the thousands of Central American migrants the Mexican authorities hand over to the cartels, that part of the Central American migration story just refuses to stick in Latinx collective memory.

But I understand. Saying that Mexicans treat Central Americans migrants far, far worse than how gringos treat Mexican migrants is a downer. It’s just not marketable. Because talking about these issues implies some sort of accountability, and we cannot hold the Mexican government accountable for Central American lives. Mexican lives take priority.

I completely understand! When you’re a Latinx living in the U.S. and you’re trying to create a melting pot of homogenous brown goo called Latinidad/Latinx power, acknowledging intra-Latin American hierarchies and acts of nationalist violence disrupts that happy picket fenced utopia of proximity to whiteness.

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