We Love Dropping Change in the Swear Jar for Latin American History

Embrace your inner nerd.

By Channing Kennedy Aug 17, 2011

Let’s talk about one of my favorite new Tumblrs, one that I think justifies a million mental junk-food blogs about cat photos and teen wizards. (And my patronage thereof.) Fuck Yeah, Latin American History takes the new tradition of wide-net, low-profile curation and parent-embarrassing titles, and uses it to slip actual real-world knowledge into your daily intake of animated gifs.

While most of FYLAH’s posts stick to the medium Tumblr does best — cool pictures — the blog’s anonymous curator pulls from seemingly everywhere. "Latin America" is defined here as everything south of Texas, though New York City makes a few appearances as well, and the dates range from present-day to ancient history. In the past week alone, we followers have been treated to a baby photo of Cesar Chavez, Fidel Castro eyeing Che Guevara’s phony passport, 2011 student protests in Chile, the island of Hispaniola as seen from the space station, and a 1947 photo of NYC black Cuban music pioneer Graciela. I love this culturejamming platinum plantain chain by Puerto Rican artist Miguel Luciano. And then, of course, there’s Shark Week.

Some posts reward a drop of knowledge: for example, this ludicrously adorable photo gets a lot more awkward with the unstated context that one of the kids is dressed as the guy who led a military coup that bombed the other kid, and the Chilean president has to smile and pose with both. And I wasn’t thrilled to learn how many Black West Indian workers died of yellow fever outbreaks during the construction of the Panama Canal from a 1905 Harper’s cartoon. But am I glad to be armed with that knowledge the next time I enter a discussion about worker safety in communities of color? Fuck yeah, I am!

And FYLAH’s real utility manifests in this widely-cast net. In some ways, the entire modern world lives inside the United States, whether geographically or economically or culturally. What better way to fight creeping monoculture than to compete with it on all fronts at once, from every point in time, on a daily basis — and with the casual assertion of a fuck-yeah Tumblr?

We’re ending the day as often as possible by celebrating love. We welcome your ideas for posts. Send suggestions to submissions@colorlines.com, and be sure to put Celebrate Love in the subject line. You can send links to videos, graphics, photos, quotes, whatever. Or just chime in to the comments below and we’ll find you. Be sure to let us know you’ve got the rights to share any media you send.

To see other Love posts visit our Celebrate Love page.