We Have Ignition

If all goes according to plan, the Space Shuttle Discovery will lift off this Friday morning. Two Hispanic astronauts – Jose Hernandez and Danny Olivas – will be aboard, marking the first time that multiple Latinos will be on the same shuttle.

I imagine it drives racists insane. Not only are Hispanics spreading out beyond their home countries and inner-city barrios, now they’re taking off into outer space.

Watch it, there’s no place where Latinos aren’t poised to take over!


In any case, much of the media attention has been fixed on Hernandez rather than Olivas. There’s a good reason for this. Hernandez has an amazing life story: As a child, he worked in the fields with his immigrant parents and didn’t even learn English until he was twelve. When he was a teenager, Hernandez read about NASA’s first Hispanic astronaut (a man with the truly cool name of Franklin Chang-Diaz). Thus inspired, Hernandez applied himself and moved beyond a lifetime of manual labor.

And now, he and Olivas will become two of the few Latinos to ever work in zero gravity. It’s a compelling saga, and I now look forward to hearing about the first Latino on Mars.

By the way, “First Latino on Mars” would be a great name for my autobiography. I’ll just have to make clear that I’m speaking metaphorically.


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August 2009
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