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tv   United Shades of America  CNN  January 7, 2018 12:00am-1:01am PST

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actually sit and look around, you see what the people who live here see, a region that's one of the most beautiful places in the country. full of people just looking to be a part of the evolution of this nation and not forgotten because of it. one of america's favorite pastimes is lumping groups of people together. you know what i'm talking about, like the whole idea of minorities. let's take all the people who are darker than vin diesel and call them minorities. [ laughter ] it doesn't make any sense. because we all have so many cultures and languages and religions and things. the only thing that really bonds minorities together is that we believe that if you're going to eat pork you got to use all the pig. you know what i mean? [ laughter ] you can't just be like white people and scrape off the bacon and the ribs and throw the rest away. you've got to get in that pig. pickle that, let's brine that, let's barbecue that.
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suck on that toenail. mm. you've got to get in there. and i think about that word "minority" a lot, because it is not going to make sense for much longer. because according to statistics, by the time we get to 2044 the minorities are going to be making up the majority of america. this week on the show, we decided to investigate latino people because i feel like i sort of haven't done a good job of connecting with my latino brothers and sisters. especially because latinos are america's fastest growing demographic. [ one person clapping ] see? in a few years that will be more people clapping. right now it's just that dude holding it down. thank you. [ laughter ] >> my name is w. kamau bell. as a comedian, i've made a living finding humor in the parts of america i don't understand. now i'm challenging myself to dig deeper. i'm on a mission to reach out and experience all the cultures and beliefs that add color to this crazy country.
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this is "the united shades of america." to explore the vast topic that is latinos in america, i'm in los angeles. los angeles has a population of 3.8 million people, and nearly half of them are of latino descent, and the rest of them are kardashians or married to a kardashian or waiting for a kardashian to get divorced so they can marry them. i'm looking at you, khloe. normally when i go to l.a. i go to hollywood or beverly hills for my big-time show biz meetings with my big-time show business agents who never return my calls. big-time. but this week i'm going east, east l.a. and boyle heights. those neighborhoods are just slightly more latino than the rest of l.a. byghtly, i mean they're both well over 90% latino. east l.a. and boyle heights are located on the eastern edge of los angeles. geographically it's not that far from beverly hills.
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but let's just say i feel like i owe my high school spanish teacher an apology for saying, "why would i ever need to use spanish after i graduate?" the history of latinos settling in east l.a. can be traced by to the early 1900s, when the mexican revolution caused one of the biggest migrations of mexicans into the united states. attracted by plentiful work and escaping government unrest, most mexicans planned on moving back. but as the city grew, so did labor opportunities and the thriving community known as east l.a. was born. if i'm going to learn anything, i know i have to first hit the streets and talk to the people. would you mind talking to us for a second? don't understand english? all right. >> thank you. >> you want to talk to us for a second once you're off the phone? okay. >> maybe this isn't going to be so easy. >> cut to three hours later. i think the problem is, camera guy, is that we're in east l.a. we're looking for people to talk to.
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one of the inherent challenges of east l.a. is that many people are undocumented. so when you take a big camera and a crew and go, would you like to talk to us, they go -- what's french for go [ bleep ] yourself? hey, my name is kamau. >> i seen your show in prison. >> you saw my show? >> in prison. >> in prison? i didn't know i was on in the joint. >> you were. you were, you were. >> you've lived here all your life? >> yes, i have. >> what was it like when you were growing up? >> getting shot at. >> oh, okay. could we have stood here like 30 years ago, stood on this corner and had this conversation? >> i could have. you couldn't. >> are you going to gentrify my neighborhood, man? >> i'm looking to buy some property. move in and buy houses. >> if you're a hipster, man, i can't talk to you. >> do i look like a hipster? >> well, hipsters can come in different colors. it don't matter. you know what i'm saying? it's the mindset. >> i promise i'm not a black hipster. i'm not a blipster. i promise.
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so is it safer for families now? >> yeah, it's been a lot safer. it's beautiful out here, man. some of the nicest people out here, man. some of the best cultures, traditions. >> i would imagine like there's undocumented people who live in this neighborhood. >> what you talking about? >> am i breaking news? >> there might be a few. >> there might be a few. >> this is where they come. in probably half these shops. >> so if you want to make an honest living but you don't have your papers, come to east l.a.? >> there you go. >> that's a good slogan. i don't know if the mayor is going to use that but -- >> probably not. >> yeah, probably not. >> give me the state of latino america right now? >> we're on the move. >> we're a growing force to be reckoned with. that means we'll be the majority when it comes to elections. >> taking over. >> you say that with confidence, with a smile. >> we gave you guys the presidency, we're next. >> thanks for letting us have it for a minute. >> we're next. >> i didn't know hillary clinton was latina.
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>> a big topic for any group who immigrates to america is assimilation. how much? how little? why? and latinos are no different. luckily, i ran into a ringer. community activist alex aldana, who also happens to be undocumented. what do you think about the idea of assimilation, people coming here and assimilating into, quote unquote, american culture? >> i think that nobody has to sacrifice their past, their culture, in order to become american. i have nothing against white people. i have nothing against americans, but we also need to reflect what america means. and definitely embrace that our cultures are beautiful. we come here for a better life, to be ourselves. we shouldn't sacrifice our identity. >> people who come here don't speak the language or assimilate to the way things are done here. they should. it will benefit them in the long run. >> okay. >> but i think if you're coming to los angeles you should learn spanish. ♪ >> now that i talked to the people, i want to talk to the
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mayor. but since he wouldn't talk to me, i guess i'll just talk to somebody else at city hall. >> in this town, you're kind of a rock star. >> i'm meeting with l.a. city council member gil cedillo, known as one-bill gil for his successful work to get driver's licenses for undocumented people. latinos are the fastest growing demographic in america. in l.a. now latinos are the largest group, which has scared many people. >> we've got scale. >> you've got scale. what does that mean? >> we're everywhere. it's incredible. because immigrants from all over the world come here, and latino immigrants the same. they're entrepreneurial. they're the risk takers. they're the most responsible. they come with family values. that's the american story. they make our economy hum.
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>> so one word i hear and i've heard a lot in my life talking, when you talk about latinos and also many people of color, communities of color, is the word assimilation. what do you think about that word? >> well, it's a constant. it is actually probably the oil that makes our engine run in america. is that everybody who comes here from another country doesn't know english. everybody who comes here from another country doesn't know the customs and practices. everyone that comes here isn't yet fully assimilated into that american process. but within a generation or two they're, you know, doing the things that everybody else does. it's the great thing about our country is that shortly, within a short period of time, everybody will have trouble talking to their grandmother, right? >> that's how you know you've made it. so i know there's some people who feel like if you come to this country, you should immediately learn english. >> of course, everybody does. >> not everybody. >> no, everybody does. but they don't learn it the day they get here. >> okay. >> that's what people don't understand, that it's a process. it's a generational process. >> i feel like america has become so latino that if i don't speak spanish then i'm the asshole. >> spanish would be good. language acquisition is a great thing, and the more languages you speak, the more capable you are to communicating with the
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world. and that really is what brings understanding and ends conflict in the world is that we have a greater ability to communicate. >> forgiving gil the fact that i'm pretty sure british immigrants showed up speaking english and that the only trouble i have talking to my grandmothers is the fact that they're dead, he makes some really good points. when a cold calls... achoo! ...answer it. with zicam cold remedy. it shortens colds, so you get better, faster. colds are gonna call. answer them with zicam! zicam. get your better back. now in delicious fruit drops. and for fast acting nasal relief, for up to 12 hours, try zicam extreme congestion relief and zicam intense sinus relief. for colds and allergies, get your better back with zicam.
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let's talk about the a-word, assimilation. for me assimilation is a four-letter word. people try to say assimilation is good because you need to learn the culture and language of your new country. but on the other hand, i feel like assimilation is used as like a two-by-four to bludgeon
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your old language and culture out of you. i'm not saying you can't learn the new. just don't forget the old. because a lot of old is good stuff. what would this country be without us incorporating the cultures of other cultures? why would we want people to come to this country from a different place and to drop that old stuff? that culture has been road tested and approved. they've worked the kinks out. you know what i mean? there's music, like all this beautiful music that comes from like mexico. we have this beautiful music. we've been working on it for 10,000 years. oh, that's interesting. have you heard taylor swift? [ laughter ] >> ernesto. >> i'm at the art studio of ernesto urena, an artist, graphic designer, and activist based in boyle heights. >> i saw an ad in the paper you needed an unskilled laborer. ta-da, here i am. ernesto has worked with the likes of shepard fairey, zach de la rocha, and chuck d. today he's going to be collaborating with me. but maybe i'm overstating it. >> tell me what you believe
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about the power of the graphic image as it relates to political change. >> the concept behind a lot of my work is to create critical artwork for working-class people because i come from, you know, a community that's working class. and i wonder if working class people grew up with artwork that was critical, that was politically and socially charged. how that would have changed the minds of the youth, you know? >> what are you doing today? >> we're going to be drawing a hummingbird. a hummingbird is a symbol to a lot of chicanos that we use that image. it almost represents freedom in a way. for me, because i'm a nerd and i try to study everything, hummingbirds have to work so hard to try to find food that they're always at the brink of fatigue, always at the brink of death. i thought it was like a good representation of the working class people. they're working so hard just to make ends meet, but they do it so gracefully. so this is our second layer. >> i was there for two hours watching ernesto work diligently like a surgeon on this piece. >> now we want to put these in. >> but in the spirit of rachael ray and cooking shows
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everywhere, let's just fast-forward to the end. >> wow! that is so not what i was expecting. i mean in a good way. like you just were spraying stuff. it looked like you were making it up as you went along. >> it's pretty calculated. >> i can tell now. it's very calculated. art really distills words into these powerful images. >> i think it's an internal thing. people have to begin an internal dialogue with themselves and try to understand themselves and themselves in the context of history too, you know. >> it's great, man. >> now, ernesto isn't the only artist using creativity to provoke change. i'm dropping in on the band las cafeteras, who uses their music to tell the story of their people's past, present, and future. ♪ >> what's up? >> how are you doing, man? >> good to see you. >> good to see you, homey. thanks for making it through, man. >> thanks for inviting me. heard the music coming all the way down the street. >> sounds cute, huh?
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>> sounds good. i've heard this type of music before, but this has a different spin on it. >> we're remixing roots music. we're chicano kids. born here, but we've got roots all over the world. you know, even in this band, we got roots, jewish folks, mohawk, yaci, mexican, all across the board. but one thing we have in common is that we all grew up here. so this process of assimilation and like knowing your language, not knowing your language. what does your like ancestry come from? that whole like feeling proud, not feeling proud. that whole process we call like the chicano experience. >> the reason i came here is i think there's a lot of -- i think when people talk about race and racism in america a lot of times they lump all the people of color in one group, black and brown and yellow and light brown and tan. and i understand as the country becomes more latino, i feel like i need to reach out, you know? i need to go to east l.a. i need to meet people and talk to people. >> being chicano means that like we have multiple identities. like we love tamales, and we
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love burgers. all of us right here, we all got college degrees. three of us right here, we got masters. my brother just got accepted to a ph.d. program at ucla. >> what? ph.d. over here? >> so the whole idea of the immigrant, of like who are they? they're taking away. they're not giving back. you're looking at us, man, and we're like, we're paying your taxes. we're paying your salary. we're creating music. we're building bridges. we're creating family. that's what we want to see. that's the america i want to see, you know? we don't all have to be the same. it's all good. >> no, it's not about blending together unless you want to blend it all together. i got two of those blended kids. >> so this is afro-mexican music. >> i got the afro. >> you know what, you down to playing? >> i mean i don't -- >> look it, look it, look it. >> so this is an actual donkey
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jawbone? >> da da boom. and when you do, that do this right here. so you do it right here. da da uh. da da uh. got it? ♪ ♪
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>> hey. >> i felt like every black person on tv watching me. i felt every latino on tv watching me. don't mess that rhythm up, brother. >> you're doing that for our people. >> i never felt so much pressure in my life. ♪ >> i don't normally dance in public, but i can't help it with las cafeteras rhythm and message. plus, i didn't completely embarrass myself with the donkey jawbone. so here goes nothing. >> one, two, three. one, two, three. one, two, three. one, two, three. one, two, three. ♪ some flavor, baby. one, two, three. >> they said that the conversation on race in america is a work in progress, and apparently so is my dancing.
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it's time for me to get more into the minds of latinos in our country. i want to meet some of the undocumented citizens doing what they can to live the american dream, even if some americans don't see them as part of that dream. tonight i have graciously been invited to sit down with a family who have both documented
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and undocumented members in it. it is an extreme act of bravery for them to appear on television and to also talk openly and honestly about their journey. so then why am i the one who feels so nervous? hello. >> hi. >> how are you? >> hi, kamau. nice to meet you. there we go. thank you for inviting me. >> you want to help with cutting the cucumbers? >> sure. i can cut cucumbers. how do you want them cut? just in slices or any particular way? >> let me ask my mom. >> yes, ask your mom. [ speaking spanish ] >> little squares. >> little squares? >> damn it, that's the one way i don't know how to cut cucumbers. while marcos works as a mechanic, bertha goes to school five days a week, four hours a day, to learn english and computer skills. so with your daughters, do you speak english with your daughters or spanish? >> i speak the both. >> is that called spanglish? >> spanglish. >> see, i know. i know, yeah.
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>> for me it's important that both language because talk with my son's teacher. >> so to talk with your son's teacher you need to speak more english? >> yeah. >> it goes without saying that her english is way better than my spanish. like many latino families in america, this household has a mix of statuses. the parents brought their two daughters across the border when they were children. but the two boys are automatically citizens because they were born in america. get it? me neither. so maria, you're about to graduate? >> yes. >> are you excited? >> yeah. >> so what are your hopes for going to college? what do you hope happens? >> like just helping others is like what i really want to do when i, like, get my college degree because like growing up -- like trying to learn english, it was difficult. but then since i was retained in first grade because i didn't really know that much english. >> they held you back not because you weren't smart but
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because you didn't know english? >> yeah. >> so she's going to college soon? >> yeah. >> how does that make you feel? >> i feel excited. but worry because he decide go far away. >> so you want to go to college with her? >> no. >> you just want her to go to college in there? where are you going to school? do you know? >> not yet. i applied to san francisco state. it had a great support system for like undocumented students. >> so it's a college that is open to undocumented -- >> yeah. >> i would imagine sometimes you might feel like you have to hide the fact that you're undocumented, right? >> yeah. >> i guess i don't know because i've only lived here. i was born here. you know, as an african-american, you know, a t offrican-americans, we sort of struggle with our identity because we are americans but we don't always get treated like americans. so i can relate to some of that, you know, and it's really -- it's just -- thank you. ♪
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>> despite how some people in the more paranoid corners of cable news make it sound -- you know who i'm talking about -- many latino immigrants are working hard every day to improve their english skills. and to get a better idea of this, bertha has invited me to the puente learning center where she takes english classes five days a week. >> good morning. >> hi. >> and hopefully i can work on my spanish. >> we have a visitor. >> yay! >> everybody, hello. >> hello. >> how you doing? bertha is a friend of yours? >> yes. >> would you like to introduce the visitor? come to the front, please. >> cultural curiosity is a street that runs both ways. i want to know more about them, and they seem to want to know more about me. >> excuse me. what's your name? >> my name is kamau. >> kamau. >> what is your purpose to -- for being here? >> what is my purpose to be here? >> yes. >> i want to learn. i'm not a latino. i'm a black guy.
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and i want -- and i like to learn about new cultures and new things. also i need to learn spanish. so i came here where you learn english, but i want to learn spanish someday. yes? >> how old are you? >> how old am i? excuse me. how old do you think i am? >> 25. >> 25. well, you flatter me, yes. 22. no, no. no, no, no, no, no. 42. >> 42. >> there's an expression that black people say. it's called good black don't crack. this is fun. yes? >> what is your favorite food? >> my favorite food? i like burritos quite a lot. it feels like i'm pandering but i actually like burritos quite a lot. >> another question. how many hours a week do you exercise? >> excellent.
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>> you know, currently zero. [ laughter ] >> you eat many burritos, you get fat. >> um, when exactly did this turn into a roast? >> why do you want to learn english? >> why? because i want to improve my better english for myself because sometime i'm -- i need to go to the doctor, and they put me or somebody to talk to me, and i don't want it like. i want to talk to the doctor, what is my problems. and that's how i come here, to learn english. >> wow. i mean this lady just wants to be able to communicate with her doctor. and bertha just wants to be able to talk to her kids' teachers. and i just want to be able to eat burritos without falling
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into a damn shame spiral. none of that should be too much to ask. >> what do you think about the immigrant people? >> what do i think about immigrant people? that's a good question. i think this. [ applause ] gracias for -- i don't know how to say this. por? for allowing me, letting me? [ speaking spanish ] come. [ speaking spanish ] to your class. a su clase. adios. [ laughter ] [ applause ] thank you. thank you.
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one, two -- >> one place where latino roots and culture have absolutely been underrepresented is in movies and television. while change is still slow to come, there are those doing what they can to get their people's stories told. >> okay, guys. let's do it again. >> i'm here in east l.a. on the set of "east los high," an original series that airs on hulu. >> let's go ahead and bring them to where they stop. >> so all the girls on this side, and you guys just finish doing that towards the back. >> this is gabe chaveria, one of the stars of this high school teen drama, now filming in its third season. "east los high" is one of hulu's top ten shows and a favorite for binge watchers. it's also one of the first shows
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in history to feature on all latino english-speaking cast. >> how does it feel? this is history. >> this is history. man, it feels great. it's a blessing, man, to be able to be part of the start of a change. because a lot of the hispanic culture is just -- they're moviegoers, you know what i mean? we watch movies all the time, but we don't see ourselves in a lot of stuff that's out there. but now to be portrayed as lead characters, you know. so it's exciting for us to be a part of that trend, part of that transition now to where the industry's starting to take notice of -- >> why do you think the industry is starting to take notice? >> i mean, numbers don't lie. [ laughter ] >> tell it, gabe. tell it. >> numbers don't lie. we've been here for years. you know, and i've auditioned for the bad guys and the gangsters. >> i know. we've got similar auditions. >> there you go. >> mine, they don't ask me if i speak spanish. that's the only difference. >> so that's pretty much, you know, like getting away from that is like huge for me as an actor. i think for a lot of us to be able to have the opportunities to audition for projects that are -- you know, like i said,
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get to be lead roles and be heroes in movies and television. >> as we all know, sometimes you got to dance it out. >> absolutely. you have to. everybody love music. you got to dance it out all the time. >> i got moves. i got moves, gabe. you're not the only one with moves. you're the only one who can wear the white t-shirt and look this good, but other than that, i've got moves. like some of this? some of this? uh-oh. pass it this way. oh, i broke it. >> she just caught you having a moment, right? then you kiss him. and then you drag him away. >> here's the person responsible for all of this. the show's producer, creator and director, carlos portugal. >> i don't want you coming on to her at this point. >> so, yeah, it may not seem like standing around telling attractive people when to make out is a big deal, but there is a much bigger picture here that is a very big deal. thank you for talking to us today. >> my pleasure. >> what was the idea behind creating hollywood's first all-latino english-speaking television show?
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>> i'm an immigrant. i came to the united states when i was 9, and i grew up watching images on television and movies of other people that weren't my race. you know, we usually see ourselves as the maids, the gardeners, the gang members. and i think there's like over 60 million latinos in the united states. you know, there's a little bit of everything, you know? i mean my father started as a milkman when he came to the united states. my mother was a maid. you know, so i come from that background. but i also have uncles who are doctors and uncles who are accountants and lawyers. so i feel it's very important to tell those stories. >> where do you see this going? >> i just want to keep growing and telling different stories that we haven't seen before. a show about latinos from a latino's point of view. >> action! ♪ >> not only are we dealing with dancing and drama and romance, but we're dealing with stuff like domestic abuse, things like
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immigration, stories that you usually don't deal with on television. and we get to tell the good, the bad, the ugly, the pretty, the beautiful. ♪ if we had time, we'd take you outside and teach you how to do this dance. >> you don't have that much time, sir. [ laughter ] that would take what i like to call season four and five. >> you and i are brothers because i'm the same way. somebody asked me do you dance? i go, no, that's why i write. >> one thing you hear a lot, debated a lot and discussed a lot in the latino community is the idea of assimilation. is that a dirty word to you? is that a good word? what are your thoughts? >> i think the only thing that's for sure in the world is change. so i think we all have to stay open to change. now, having said that, there are things that we have to stand up for, you know. but no, i think assimilation is actually what all my projects have been about, about being a latino living in the anglo world and how we bring both the cultures into that. >> that is fascinating. >> my attitude is you're in the united states and you're here,
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and you should speak english. if you want to succeed, you have to speak the language. >> oh, wow. do you speak spanish too? >> perfectly. [ speaking spanish ] >> yeah, that's good. you're good. he does. he does, everybody. i just tested him. he does. he speaks it very well. "east los high" is a great example of the strides the latino community are making toward being recognized in mainstream america. seeing people who look like you in hollywood can be empowering, especially for kids who are just discovering who they are and where they come from. next, i want to talk again with hector and denise from las cafeteras. they have both talked openly about their specific struggles growing up and trying to figure out how they fit into all the different cultures they represent. i've also heard the word chicano and chicana. but i've also heard the word hispanic. i've heard the word latino/latina. give me a breakdown of what those words mean, which ones are the words you choose and why you choose those words. >> chicano and chicana are a
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term that came from the people. the term that came from the streets. that came from the struggle of people saying like brown is beautiful. we want access to like the same rights and privileges and quality of life as anybody else. hispanic, i don't know where that -- >> wasn't that reagan? >> so that's the white man's word? >> it's a white man's word. it's a census word to basically put everybody who remotely speaks spanish under an umbrella term so it can make it really easy. >> to keep track of you people. >> yeah. to keep track and all right, put everybody in categories. >> okay. >> latino is also another complicated term. i mean, people use it as an umbrella term. what do you call everybody from latin america and the caribbean? but also latino has the word latin. like we ain't latin people. like latin is french, italian, spanish, portuguese. those are latin languages, and also does not honor the fact that we existed as a people before columbus, before the latin colonization.
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>> before the spanish said would you like to borrow this language? >> yeah, yeah, you know what i'm saying? >> how did you grow up? like what was your -- >> spanish was my first language, but when you come to school here, you know, everything's about english. everything's about being american. everything's about being white. you know what i'm saying? >> assimilation. >> assimilation, man. put your mexican food away. over here we eat ham and cheese white bread sandwiches and that's what i wanted, you know? when i was a kid, i was ashamed of who i was. i was ashamed of speaking spanish. i wanted to be something else, you know? i wanted to have that, like, nice white boy haircut, you know, like the one that's slick on the side? >> after going to college, after like getting a master's degree, after all the stuff that an american dream is supposed to give, there's still the fear and there's still the are we okay being visible? >> so it's the colonization of the mind as they call it? >> and now i'm hella proud of being chicano, of having my family that came from another country, that worked so hard to
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be here, you know what i'm saying? losing your language, feeling proud of who you are, right? but also not knowing who you are. that anxiety, that pride, that anxiousness. >> like knowing where you can be proud. >> all that. you mix that, and that experience is what we call being chicano. being chicana. >> knowing where you defend it and knowing -- >> it's funny. everything you're saying makes me feel like, i think i'm a chicano, because that's all the same stuff. you know what i'm saying? america has a tendency for everybody who comes over here to want them to sort of buy into americanism or get out of the way. >> and that is wrong. you know, that families can't feel that they can practice their culture. this is a land of immigrants. this was native land first and then you know, you stole black folks from africa and brought them here. then, too, all the latino folks, you try to make us feel like second class citizens. >> even though a lot of this land was? >> mexico.
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>> basically we're in north mexico right now, right? that's right. just to remind everybody, a big chunk of this country was mexico up until the mexican-american war in 1848. yep, the people we're trying to keep out owned this land just over 150 years ago. >> i think for a long time, like chicanos, latinos have been surviving. what it means now is our people are going to be thriving. we're creating the conditions, and we're now -- we're creating the story, the new narrative. and i think that's, for me, what it is to be, you know, chicano is i'm a storyteller. i'm taking all the sufferings that my family had to go through and making sure that tomorrow, right, that this country is not only good for latinos, but it's good for everybody, man. you know what i'm saying? so it's my job to help move that forward. >> all right. all right. >> our job. >> it's our job, man.
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i've always really gotten into the idea of taking the culture of your people and remixing it with the current day. hell, i'm a 21st century dude with a 1970s haircut. and a really great example of latinos remixing their culture is the growth of the quinceanera.
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meet alexia. this is her quinceanera, or in english, her super sweet 15. >> [ speaking spanish ]. >> dating back to the 1400s and the aztec indians, the quinceanera is considered a rite of passage for girls transitioning into womanhood. back where her parents are from in guatemala, this ceremony would take place in a church. but here in southern california it's taking place at a fancy country club. get it. the party has a hollywood theme, and they've gone all out. how all out, you ask? well, that's not our camera crane. that's their camera crane. we couldn't afford that. and it's all for alexia. man, i wonder if it's too late for me to have a quinceanera. >> i've been dreaming of this day since a little girl. >> really? >> yeah. >> which day are you more excited for, this day or your wedding day? >> this day. >> really? why is that? >> because you only turn 15 once. >> that's true. you can get married a lot of times. >> yeah. >> salud, alexia.
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>> alexia's father is as proud as a man can be, who is probably also doing everything he can to not think about how much this is all costing him. wowza. so tell me, what does this ceremony mean today? >> for me, it means like my daughter is going from childhood to woman. >> so from this point forward, she's a woman? >> she's a woman. >> okay. all right. all right. but she still gets to live at home, right? >> oh, yeah. there's no way i can let her go. >> she's not that much of a woman just yet? >> no, no. >> i'm going to talk to the people who figured out how to pair the old traditions with the new country and also who figured out how much all this should cost. >> you're the event planners? >> yes. >> how has it changed over the years, quinceaneras? >> i think back then they would be simple, like really simple. but now it's decorations, vendors, food, dances. it's a lot that takes more now than it used to be before. >> why do you think they've gotten so much bigger? >> because people want to show off.
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they want to do it big. >> all right. what do you think about when you hear latinos are the fastest growing demographic in america? how does it make you feel? >> it's great because i have more quinceaneras. >> more money in our pockets. >> true capitalists. that's about as american as you can get. cha-ching. beyond all the shiny stuff, the fancy clothes, the country club, and the delicious food that a member of the staff snuck out to me, you'll still find the heart of this tradition. this family is doing what we all do. they are taking some of the success they've experienced, and they are using it to make an old tradition new. am i stating the obvious? what i'm saying is they are being americans. >> our father who art in heaven. >> financially maria's family isn't where alexia's is just yet. but like a lot of americans, what's important to them goes beyond material wealth. as every day brings about
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obstacles i've never had to deal with. now, one thing i was curious because you're undocumented. your family is undocumented. your brothers were born here. >> yes. >> but your father and mother and younger sister are undocumented. is that a fear you walk around with, like you being deported or your parents being deported? do you feel that fear every day in? >> not all the time but sometimes. >> when do you feel it? >> when there's the big buses, the ones that deport the people back. >> sometimes you'll walk in the street and see one of these buses and what goes through your mind when you see that? >> just seeing that bus pass by, it's like what if my family is next? what if my family like gets separates? >> yeah. i heard you that might have some news. >> yes. >> what is your news? >> that i got accepted to san francisco state. >> san francisco state! that's where i live. we'll be neighbors. are you excited? >> yes. >> it's a great school. >> yes.
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>> i think it's great you're going to go to college. i believe you have it in you to accomplish all your goals and more. i'm really happy that there's a path for that because i'm sure when your parents were younger there wasn't a path for that. >> yeah. >> i think the path should be easier. i believe you're going to accomplish everything you want. good luck in college. >> thank you. >> to me, this whole issue boils down to how do we define who is an american and how you become an american? you know what i'm saying? like to me is it about the paperwork, or is it about the person? to me it's clearly about the person. [ bleep ] the paperwork. you know, when my people came, we didn't have our papers either. they seemed to be perfectly fine with letting us in. i mean we had bills of shipping. i don't know if that counts. we had receipts. does that count as papers? oh, is it too soon? [ laughter ]
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does anybody here know how hard it is to cross the border? because i don't. thank black jesus. those of us who don't know have to reconceive our idea of what the border is. it sounds like it's just a line where you go, i'm going to cross the border. ta-da. but it's not really that easy. like the border is hundreds of
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miles. it's -- most of it is desert. it takes hours and days to get across, and there's people who take advantage of you while you're getting across. people get assaulted. they have to pay money. they get ripped off. it is a brutal, horrible experience. and my thing is if you want to do all that to get to this country, then welcome to america. you're a citizen, all right? that's your citizenship test. i don't care how much you know about george w. bush chopping down the cherry tree. [ laughter ] i think that's how it goes. am i right about that? >> i can't end my time in east l.a. without checking in with los cafeteras one more time. at one of their main spots, east side love. hopefully they won't ask me to dance. ♪ i hope all those non-latinos who enjoy talking about people assimilating into, quote unquote, american culture are having a good time right now. because soon latinos are going
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to be talking about us assimilating into their culture in los america. >> it feels like we're in the future. >> we are living in the future, man. the past hasn't gone anywhere. we live into the future, man. we lean into it from the present. we're remembering where we come from, and we charted the stars. we built pyramids, that we have medicine that's lasted for thousands of years. so that's what you're in right now is an echo of our ancestors. >> wow. that's -- i'm honored to be here. ♪ >> what would you say to americans who are out there living in parts of the country that don't feel like this who -- i'll say it -- are afraid of that idea? >> i think it's a matter of understanding our differences and being good with them. we've got to respect each other. we all bring something to the table. >> we do, although i don't appreciate you wearing my glasses better than i wear my glasses. >> i'm sorry. i can't help that.
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>> this week, i've learned that this community is made up of all sorts of people with a variety of backgrounds and traditions. but what they all have in common is the desire to be acknowledged and accepted for who they are. and i don't see anything wrong with that. besides, how boring would it be if we were all the same? >> hey, brother, it's good to have you here. i'm glad you can experience the east side. this is love. this is movement. this is music. this is like solidarity, man. this is what we're cultivating. it's not quite heaven, not quite but definitely not hell. i'm chilling on the east side with my homey k. bell. ♪ >> so let's do this. >> ready to jump in? >> let's jump in. >> listen up. all of our asses are on the line. >> more like your ass. you're the one that's going to lose your job. >> look, am i the only one who wants this? >> i'm just saying that's what you're always sayin'. >> it will be your asses at the
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valentine's ass-embly. >> oh, man, she's tough. >> show some respect, man. she ain't j.lo, and you ain't the boy next door. let's go. enough of that. enough of that. >> what? -- captions by vitac -- the u.s. president touts his own intelligence, touts his mental stability. why donald trump feels so compelled to call himself a genius. and bitter cold in the u.s. producing long delays and frustration at one of the world's busiest airports. and hollywood's awards season, it is upon us, but this year the golden globes will likely strike a much different tone. hello and welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm lynda kinkade. good to be with you. >> i'm george howell from cnn world headquarters in atlanta. "newsroom" starts right now.


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