back to top

10 Things Al Madrigal Learned About Being Latino In America

Al Madrigal spoke with BuzzFeed News about his upcoming one-hour special Half Like Me about growing up half Mexican and half white. The Daily Show "Latino correspondent" said he always felt like he wasn't Latino or white enough.

Posted on

1. How not to pronounce his name.

Courtesy Fusion

Jorge Ramos, high-profile news anchor for Univision and Fusion, tried to teach Madrigal how to pronounce his name. It could have gone better.

2. Only slide on a wet soccer field.

Courtesy Fusion

Madrigal kicked the soccer ball around with L.A. Galaxy player, Omar Gonzalez, and learned a valuable lesson about the art of sliding.

3. The importance of rolling your R's in Spanish.

Courtesy Fusion

Though Madrigal’s father spoke Spanish, he only spoke English to his children so they would acculturate faster.

“All of a sudden you have somebody who speaks broken Spanish and is embarrassed by it," Madrigal said. "Now you have a generation of people that value and know what an asset Spanish is.”

4. A better way to scare Latino kids.

Courtesy Fusion

Madrigal convinced Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the Minuteman, a militia group active on the border, to put on a chupacabra mask as a tool to scare immigrant children.

He also learned about the "five color groups" from the Minuteman founder.

Courtesy Fusion

Jim Gilchrist tells Al Madrigal there are five color groups: Caucasian, Asian, American Indian, Black, and Latino.

6. There's no one definition for what it means to be Latino.

Courtesy Fusion

“It can’t be defined. When you talk about Latinos obviously a Mexican is a citizen from Mexico. You go to San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato and there are people from Asian backgrounds," Madrigal said. "Just like in the U.S. there’s an incredible amount of diversity in Mexico that people are unaware of.”

7. “Latinos have always been trying to out-Latino each other."

Courtesy Fusion

“This competitiveness has always occurred," Madrigal said. "I have that perspective now, knowing that throughout history the discomfort I’ve experienced was also felt by somebody else.”

8. Speedy Gonzales was deemed an offensive stereotype of Mexicans and taken off the air in 1999.

Courtesy Fusion

Things haven't improved enough when it comes to Latino stereotypes in Hollywood.

“There’s always the people who play gang members and maids, but on the comedy side you really get asked to dial up the accent," Madrigal said. "It’s difficult to say yes to a lot of stuff, but there’s so few jobs for Latino actors that’s all you end up doing.”

9. He doesn’t know anything about the Sicilian side of the family.

Courtesy Fusion

“If you think my Spanish is bad, my Italian is even worse,” Madrigal said.

10. Mixed people are lucky.

"Feel lucky and be confident of who you are," Madrigal said. "For the most part people are going to be negative of other people, but be confident that you're fortunate."
Courtesy Fusion

"Feel lucky and be confident of who you are," Madrigal said. "For the most part people are going to be negative of other people, but be confident that you're fortunate."

Half Like Me airs Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on Fusion.

Watch the preview here.

Top trending videos

Watch more BuzzFeed Video Caret right