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#009: American Dirt – A Special Project Eñye Episode

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“The danger in stereotypes is that you miss the nuances, and when you tell a story and you continue to miss the nuance, you pull the soul out of it, you pull the emotion out of it, and there are people who are continuously living this.” 
– Rita Bautista

In this week’s collaborative episode, strong Latina voices come together to deconstruct the controversy surrounding the New York Times Bestseller novel American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Jeanine’s book, the novel tells the story of a mother and son who flee Mexico for the United States, leaving their life behind to escape cartel violence. Jeanine, an American author with Puerto Rican roots, has had pushback from the Latinx community about the authenticity and misrepresentation of this immigration story. Does research supplement real experiences? What is the danger of misrepresentation? 

I am excited to share my conversations about this controversy with rockstars Linda Garcia, also known as Luz Warrior, Brenda Gonzales, Rosalia Rivera, and Rita Bautista. Each of these strong Latina women adds thought-provoking questions, commentary, and personal stories to this discourse. 

Don’t wait another minute, do yourself a favor and go listen to this conversation! Jump into the FB Group and share your thoughts! You can find us at 

 In this episode, we talk about: 

● Linda (Luz Warrior) discusses what relationships were dampened by this book and how she used her work in journalism to investigate and evaluate the novel. 

● Brenda touches on the ways American Dirt is a wake-up call for publishers, book lovers, and allies. 

● Rosalia dives into the misrepresented narrative of Latinx culture and exaggerated characters within the novel. 

● Rita shares a personal story about how American Dirt had an effect on her own life and speaks on what the controversy will do for Jeanine as an artist. 

● As group we discuss our own Latinidad and feelings of “enoughness” within the Latinx community.  

● Finally, I give a sneak peek into our next film and how American Dirt raises questions and fears for me during the process. 

Thought Questions/Reflections

  • If you read American Dirt, how do you feel about Jeanine’s representation of this immigration journey? Can we critique one’s “enoughness” based on their roots? How can we best support those in our community and give a voice to the voiceless? 
  • Have you ever done or said something that then received some sort of critique or pushback? How did it make you feel? 

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Join the conversation about this episode in our Facebook group or shoot me a DM on IG @projectenye and share some of your answers with me there! 

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