This week, Cafe Con Leche explores an alternate universe. One in which Latinos settled in the Pittsburgh region generations ago and contributed to the cultural fabric as Pittsburgh grew from a small trading post to an industrial city. Where Spanglish and Pittsburghese contribute to making the most bizarre language ever known to the universe, kielbasa is salchicha, perogies are stuffed with yucca and people of color are the majority demographic.
What does a Latinized Pittsburgh look like?
- Sliced avocado with every meal.
- There would be a public school, main road and government building named after Roberto Clemente.
- The Steelers hashtag would be #aceronation and their theme song would be sung by Pittbull.
- Bodegas would be a common thing. As would Bodega cats.
- Dominoes would be a played with same frequency as tonk.
- Everyone would have a favorite Cuchifrito spot. And a favorite Cuchifrito. (Alcapurrias, pastellilos, piononos, sururillitos, bacalaitos, y que mas?)
- Most things would have "ito" added at the end of their name. Example: Perogies would be called "perogitos".
- You could purchase fresh churros at the T station downtown.
- Fruits and vegetables would be exclusively served with chili and lime.
- JLo would perform at Heinz Field. So would Marc Anthony. Aventura would make Pittsburgh a major stop on their reunion tour.
- Mayor Bill Peduto would make small announcements in Spanish. No matter how bad his Spanish might be (a la NYC Mayors Bloomberg and DeBlasio).
- The Mexican War Streets would have a statue commemorating Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
- Pittsburghese mixed with Spanglish would sound something like this: "Me voy dahntahn para comprar perogitos from ese yinzer loco y despues voy a hangiar con mi amigo in la Montaña Washington to drink some aceros n'at. Aight ike?" (Note: Washington in Spanish is pronounced "Watch-ing-ton")
- There would be a long standing, four hour long, Pittsburgh based, Spanish language variety program called "Sabado Tres Rios" and it would be hosted by a larger than life character named "Señor Yinzer".
- The Young Lord's Party would work in collaboration with the Black Panther Party, effectively alleviating poverty, fighting gentrification and lifting up original peoples in Pittsburgh. Likely with collaborations from the Chicano movement, Native and Indigenous People as well as Asian Americans and other groups en la lucha for civil rights and equity in this region.