Ojo: The "Cholo Word Of The Day" is simply for fun. This is not an academic exercise, therefore I do not spend much time checking for espelling or grammatical errors. Most of the words are not only used by "cholos," but by many people in S. Texas - and their usage can vary. c/s

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Cruz de Madera Gringa

I went from one extreme to the other today. My cousin invited me to her kid's b-day party. She married a gringo. They live in a very affluent part of Austin and have very affluent neighbors. I felt like I was the only Mexicano at this 5 year old b-day party. I give her her credit for buying little Ethan a pinata.

I don't think it sinks in to those folks that my prima is a Latina until they see me. They don't treat me any different, but I see them do a double take. I wonder how my cousin is ok with only having gringito kids at the party. I know that's where they live, that's the environment they are in, but damn, I would just feel weird. I would feel like I'm denying my kid his culture. There were no black kids either. There was one Asian. I wonder if I would think this if there were only Mexican kids at the party? Would I wonder if my brother-in-law would feel weird if there were not gringitos there?

I stayed for a while and hung out. I love playing with the kids. I wanted to talk to my cousins. None of my siblings talk to them. I'm the only one. They don't dislike each other, but our families were never close. We don't have much in common. So I stayed and I talked. I talked like I write. In Spanish and English. And they laughed. And they joked. And the entire time I thought about what I was going to do in a couple of hours and how my cousins would never go to something like that.

I was going to watch Michael Salgado at the Old Pecan Street Festival. The raza was out in full force. Kids with mullets and silver teeth, just like their parents. Pelados wearing sombreros and gold chains. Girls wearing tight pants. And the regular raza was out too. Some dude standing behind us offered my friend and me weed, "hey man, wanna hit this?" We kindly refused, but said thanks. We waited until Michael Salgado played one of my favorites, Cruz De Madera (not sure the MP3 is working), then we went to eat a hot dog. I thought, "I wish my cousins were here," but I knew they would not feel comfortable. I know it's hard. We assimilate and acculturate. It's happened to me, but I hope I never lose my culture. Listening to Michael Salgado - that's not my culture, but it's part of what my culture has evolved to. I just hope there's something I still hold on to later in life. Something I pass down to my kids or sobrinos and sobrinas.

4 Comments:

Blogger C├ęsar said...

Michael Salgado had this track a few years back called "Sin Ella" (I think). I dug that song 'cos it had some awesome breakbeats. I'm not much into Tejano, but I miss the subtley in blending genres--now a days I think it's too overt that it sounds way too watered down. no?

This of course isn't the case with bands like Grupo Fantasma and Maneja Beto, who seamlessly incorporate all kinds of musical influences into a Latin music foundation.

Sip, Daily T--it was great finally putting a face to these words I read everyday. You saw this dude, gettin' down! ha! Congratulations on your upcoming move and I think we should meet up again and grab a beer.

11:32 PM

 
Blogger Aleksu said...

I think that when it comes with one's cultural wealth, one should always add, never remove.

Sometimes it is hard to do, mainly because of the cultural environment around us, but one should try.

It pisses me off when Latino/Hispanic dudes give their girlfriends a present with a "poem" by Tupac, but if you ask them who Pablo Neruda is they draw a blank.

8:07 AM

 
Blogger tortillasandwich said...

That is a tough one, I have known of parents who have raised their kids and did not teach them about hispanic culture or how to speak/understand Spanish. Their reasoning was that their own childhood was so "tough" because in school they were made fun of due to their accents and where their parents were born. I'm not saying your cousin is like this. Perhaps it's just that her kids don't know any other hispanic kids. Where I grew up, there weren't too many hispanics in my school at the time, so the majority of my friends where white.

11:17 AM

 
Blogger Cracked Chancla said...

my cousins with children seem to be pretty divided on whether they are teaching their kids spanish. i have one cousin that married a third or fourth generation latina from the burbs who doesn't speak a lick of spanish and as a result neither do his kids. on the other hand i have a primo that married a gringa and she's making sure their kids know both languages. i guess it boils down to life experiences and what you value personally. but i do think its kind of sad when the grandchildren cannot communicate with the grandparents because of a language barrier.

6:42 PM

 

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