Thursday, June 02, 2005

On Ramos's "Latino Crime Spree" piece

by RudyG

La Bloga-istas don't always agree 100% on things. "I think the same, I act the same, I feel the same" don't apply to us. For instance, Ramos's
"Latino Crime Spree" (5/18)

In his piece Ramos stated, "I was going to write an essay entitled What's Really Changed? but decided that was a step backward."

I say you should have written it, Ramos, because we have definitely changed--chingos. Es cierto que you might have to also say that
They seem not to have changed; in fact some of Them have reverted. But then, we've been here before; it was called the fifties. We survived that--actually we began to rise then--and we'll survive this.

I'd agree with part of what Ramos meant--not everybody changed for the better. Where our parents were staunch Democrats, now we've got too many card-carrying Republican Hispanics running around, paving the way for fascism, limited nuclear war or global destruction in several forms.

At the same time, many of us know shitloads more than our parents did. We know enough to conscientiously raise, guide our kids and grandkids to becoming more politically, intellectually sophisticated than we were at their age. I see examples all around in the Children of the Chicano Movement. They aren't creating the mass demonstrations of the 60s and 70s, yet, but even that might show up. Back then, it began with the high schools; it may again.

"Hate-mongers and racists have come out in force recently here in Denver...," Ramos points out. True, but I don't worry so much about racists as I do about the fascists and war-mongers. Or the fact that they go hand-in-hand.

"There are days I get depressed as hell." I myself feel too old to get depressed; pissed off makes me feel better, anyway.

Also Ramos mentioned the "high school yearbook [that] has some Spanish (and English)--in a school that is 87% Hispanic." Actually, the kids there are mostly
mexicano youth, turning into Chicano youth, though they may not like or use that term. They are a new phenomenon. New too in the sense that their numbers will overwhelm the Chicano population, transforming us as well.

One case in point. Back in the Chicano Movement days, despite all the "reclaiming our culture" business, I used the Spanish I knew and left it at that. Thirty-five years later, I find myself deliberately studying to improve and trying to learn to write in Spanish, in response to the increasing numbers of
mexicanos in Denver. Who would have thought?

I don't think we know yet what this phenomenon will turn out like; it might be too early to guess. I don't have to hope they'll all grow up to be Che's. I just have to try to help them become doctors like Che, critical thinkers like Che, as intolerant of oppression, as educated as him, or us.

Like high school senior Jesus Dorado (editor of the yearbook Ramos mentioned) said, "The majority of our peers in school are Hispanic, Spanish-speaking. I know we have to adapt to the place we are in, but, like it or not, the Hispanic community is growing."

"Like it or not." I do like that. I like the possibilities that may surprise me, even though in the short run, things may look depressing, like "a step backward". Not all of Them, even, reverted to the 50s' mentality. And a lot of the Us are creating new directions. It won't be the same old same-old.



Anonymous said...

As usual, dude, you make some good points. Still, here's why this is depressing, for me at least. Your analysis relies on the old Us/Them dichotomy, and that's a sad state of affairs - after thousands of years of existence we continue to resort to picking sides. Our reasons for doing so may be self-preservation or something else just as legitimate, given the current political conditions, but there it is - my tribe is tougher/cooler/better than yours. You and Mr. Dorado are correct to observe that "like it or not" the world is changing and, again sadly, some of those who are losing their grip because of the changing world are reacting in a belligerent, hostile way. I'd rather talk about progressive options and enlightened reactions - from Chicanos and anyone else - to what is going on today. So that's why I didn't write the essay. That's not to say that we don't point out the problems and issues and conflicts - you do a great job of that - just that on a particular day, when I was in a particular mood, I thought I'd take a different route.


Anonymous said...

Our word for white people was "The Americans". My parents and grandparents referred to the whites as "Los Americanos", so the distinction comes with some pedigree, que no? The reference speaks volumes about where our minds were for generations, as well as accurately describing where we fit in school and in town. Since some Americans still think of themselves as the only ones, maybe there's life in that ol' dichotomy after all.


Anonymous said...

Like Sedano, said, it used to be us and them. Today, it seems like it's more some of them and some of us on on a progressive path, and some of theirs and some of ours on a self-destructive path.

[Chicanos/Hispanics fits the us/ours dichotomy, in a limited sense, since Chicano includes a political statement and many browns on the right choose to call themselves Hispanic. (No, I'm not proposing we start that debate here.)]

That plus Sedano's dichotomy--and there are others--are just part of human nature. Some of the Spanish-speaking reject the colonizer, some would like to be like the colonizer.

But the forced emigration of mexicanos isn't going to leave the colonizer (and aspiring applicants) to rule in peace. There's an old tribe in town, in new numbers. History will get to "like it or not."

You state, "I'd rather talk about progressive options and enlightened reactions - from Chicanos and anyone else - to what is going on today."

Simón, that sounds like a good plan. Let me pull up una silla y un agavero and join you. Anyone else up for one?


The Fantasy World said...

I agree with what you say that kids are learning more these days than parents, yet the older generation still has to look down upon certain individuals.

I think you make some good points about how 'white America' treats the Latino/Chicano cultures. I am white, but I see many problems with the way that whites view and perceive people of Latino or Hispanic descent.

In this class I am taking over the summer we discussed how Latino and Hispanic people are wrongly represented on the local news stations. Most news stories about Latinos of Hispanics involved the before mentioned groups committing crimes. That stigma has the ability to stick, whereas caucasian people don't attract that stigma for some reason. It's very befuddling.