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a Latina, I've been exposed to many images dealing with race/ethnicity
throughout my life. There have also been products in my life that
have been present, because of my ethnicity, since I started eating
my mother's cooking decades ago. I find it very interesting how Goya
products have been a part of my life. I came across them daily at
home and in the media that I was exposed to growing up. I don't know
one Latino that does not use Goya products.
I grew up in Bushwick, Brooklyn all my life. It is heavily populated with lower
class Latinos. All three schools that I attended consisted of mainly Latinos
and Blacks. Never before had I been exposed to so many whites before I came
to Syracuse. Living around people that were not of color was a new feeling
that reinforced my identity in my mind.
Growing up in Bushwick with my mother, there were mainly two types of media
that I was exposed to in my apartment. My mother tuned in to one of many Spanish
radio stations every morning, without fail. Similarly, she would turn to one
of the two Spanish channels to watch the evening news. There could be no interaction
during this because my mother would become frustrated if she was disturbed
while watching the news. After the news came the soaps. This was a time of
heavy interaction as we would both sit and watch the soaps together, despite
the fact that I was not even an adolescent, and comment on the different situations
and characters that were found in the soaps. Despite the thirty-six years difference
in age, we were like two girlfriends.
I distinctly remember Goya advertising while the television was on for all
those years each evening. To prove it, I will type the words to a jingle that
a man in one of the Goya advertisements would sing.
"Viandas. Quien quiere comprar mis viandas? Ricas. Viandas frescas, viandas
Goya. Mira que llego la sabrosura. Conjeladas y empacadas, aqui estan. Ha! Ha!
Ha! Viandas Goya, que deliciosas son!"
At the time, and probably to this day if the opportunity were to emerge, I
reacted to this advertisement by singing along with it. Consequently, like
any other child that feels she has mastered something, I would feel good. The
advertisement brought about a sense of security because of my familiarity with
it and the strong associations that it held for me. I associated this advertisement
with my mother because she was the one that would tune into that specific channel,
I was never far from her when it would appear on television, and I associated
it with my home because that's were I was exposed to it. Both very comforting
for me as a child and even now as a young adult.
This advertisement appealed to Latinas as it was strategically cultural for
the following reasons: 1) it was in Spanish, 2) the setting looked as if it
was in Latin America or the Caribbean, and 3) an olive complexioned dark haired
man with a cart was singing about the product in Spanish as well. This is very
traditional as people that sell food in Latin America sometimes go around the
neighborhood, with their carts, announcing what they are selling to inform
It's truly amazing how I remember this advertisement along with the jingle
after more than a decade. Other Goya advertisements were simply a mother preparing
a meal and bringing it out for the family to eat. These were strategically
planned advertisements as well because in Latin American culture the mother
does the cooking and it is desired that she be the one to stay at home to maintain
the house and have the food ready when you either return from school or work.
When I saw these advertisements I was under the same circumstances as the above,
at home and with my mother. However, I was indifferent when I saw them because
I couldn't relate to the family at the table seen. I lived as an only child
with my mother and she worked all day. I will never know what it meant to grow
up with a father and siblings. I did not in any way make me sad because my
philosophy has always been that you can't miss what you don't know. So, I was
Other encounters that I would have with Goya, aside from advertisements on
television or in my mother's cooking, was at the annual Expoferia Latino-Americana
that my mother took me to each year when I was much younger . The Expoferia
was a chance for companies to reach Latinos and introduce them to new and existing
products and services -- a different type of advertising through promotions.
There, people had a chance to go to the Goya booth and sample a variety of
their products and also take some home for free. I thought this was great!
Food has always been a weakness for me. I always felt very happy when I went
there because I was hanging out with my mother, the only person I had, my best
friend, the girlfriend that I would watch the soaps with. It was a lot of fun.
One year, my mother paid for us to take a Polaroid with the two anchor people
from the evening news that she so faithfully tuned in to every evening. I remember
it fondly and must still have the picture somewhere in my apartment in Brooklyn.
My community is a great place to target people of color. Because of this one
can always see beer, alcohol, cigarette, and even better, Goya advertising
everywhere. Because of this, I always remember seeing a Goya billboard advertising
Goya nectars on the corner, a block away from where I live. I would usually
see it on my way home from the library, or later on in life, on my way home
from high school. Again, a sense of familiarity with this sign as it served
as a landmark that I knew. It indicated to me that I was one block or one bus
stop away from home. I specifically remember one of the flavors featured in
the ad, which was guanabana, another strategy to have Latinos relate as it
is typical to the culture. I could never really understand why it was there
for so many years without replacement. I suppose it has to do with the type
of community I grew up in where things would go ignored or unnoticed despite
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