Thursday, August 23, 2007

Your Blue Beetle Spanish lesson of the day

There's something I've noticed coming up in various blogs and conversations, and I was trying not to let it bother me but I feel like I should help clear it up.

First, yes - the new Blue Beetle is Latino.

Specifically, Jaime Reyes is a Mexican-American and lives in the border town of El Paso, Texas - which has a Latino population of about 80 percent and where, according to the 2000 census, 69 percent of the population speaks Spanish at home.

Writer John Rogers has been doing a fantastic job reflecting all this, with almost no slips into the easy "shorthand" stereotypes others might use to hammer in the idea that the kid is brown. Original artist Cully Hamner did a great job with his character designs, showing that Latinos can, and often do, look different from one another (current artist Rafael Albuquerque is also becoming a favorite). Mostly - and this is what makes Blue Beetle one of the best comics out right now - Jaime is just a kid. His ethnic background doesn't define him. Instead it's just one facet that helps make up who he is, which is as it should be.

So, as a fellow Mexican-American who was himself raised in El Paso, let me point out something that's been bugging (heh) me: The character's name is JAIME Reyes, not JAMIE Reyes, and in case you're wondering it's pronounced HI-MEH, not JAY-MEE.

Thank you very much, y muchas gracias.


Dan said...

Jeez, Max, you act like people in this country don't know anything about Spanish or Hispanics. Come on.

Mexico is that country to the south, right?

Maxo said...

Dumb-ass - that's Columbia, where the coffee (ahem) comes from. Or is it Canada? I always get those confused.

And I live in a city where people pronounce the street name "Manchaca" as "Man-shack," so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.

To be fair, though, it's not like I know the difference between someone from Norway and someone from Newfoundland, except that one of them involves narwhals.

Dan said...

Yeah, and I can never remember which country is actually green, Greenland or Iceland. Or maybe neither.

Good point about Manchaca though. Guadalupe too.

Fred said...

But you can't get too mad at them. After all, they pronounce Manor as "May-nur" and Gruene as "Green".

Technically, the second one is the German word for green, so I suppose it's ok, but still...

Maxo said...

I blame the patchouli.

Jesse Acosta said...

Where I work, there is a girl named Jaime, but she pronounces it jamie... it drives me crazy everyday I see her name on anything because my gut reaction is to say Jaime properly.

Maxo said...

I have the same problem with people pronouncing their last names without the Spanish accent — it always feels "wrong" to my ears.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, you all mae it sound like you make no mistakes in your speech, I bet my salary that anyone that took a test right now would get about an 8, still I agree that some of my "kin" need to polish up their skill in english