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

Friday, April 28, 2006

Why I Will Boycott on May 1

My younger brother wrote, "Why I Will Boycott on May 1," which appears in today's AlterNet.

I will stand with my immigrant sisters and brothers because I value their contribution to America, and because their work makes my privilege possible.


Blogger poetaxingon said...

Wow, your younger brother is xingon. I posted his column on my page with a link to the original story. mis respetos.

6:38 PM

Anonymous Juan said...

Bravo para su decision, amigo. Es la hora de unirnos contra el odio de las anglos racistas! Esperamos que va a contarnos un informe de sus experiencies en las manifestaciones. :)

Thanks to all who've participated, and to all (other Latinos and not) who've supported the protesters. This needed to happen. It's now complete, the message has been delivered, but it's already had an effect. As Latinos, we were joined in solidarity with immigrants from Asia, Africa, even Europe who were united with us. At one of the earlier marches, one of my friends said he was surprised and heartened to see not only Latinos but many Indians and Pakistanis, Ethiopians, Irish and Russians-- all of whom were able to speak Spanish and expressed themselves in espanol with our own brethren.

I think one way to help ourselves further, another sort of protest and an especially effective one, is to leave the states where the anti-Latino racism is worst, depriving them of the cheap labor they seem to crave so much and watching as their economies suffer. They've been talking about this on the other blogs, and the worst, most anti-Latino racist states seem to be Montana, Missouri, Georgia, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Utah, and North and South Dakota. (Indiana, Minnesota, Arkansas, Wisconsin, the Carolinas, Alabama and Idaho seem to be getting a "so-so" rating.)

As to where to move to, the best states seem to be, little surprise, California/Arizona/New Mexico in the Southwest, as well as the southern portion of Florida and the San Antonio colossus in Texas. Some of the Eastern Seaboard states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland) also seem to be nice places, as is the Pacific Northwest. Curiously, even Iowa gets at least a tentative thumbs-up.

El porvenir pertenece a nosotros, a la gente, a las personas quien han trabajado tan mucho para este pais. Unirnos ahora!

6:45 AM

Anonymous Roy said...

Your brother writes very well. I'm glad he is doing something he believes in. I disagree with his stance, but that is my opinion.

Why do I disagree? How about... What is wrong with a country wanting to protect its borders? Is that not a function of government? Mexico does it. Try going into Mexico illegaly. Ask the Salvadorenos or the Nicaraguenses what happens when they get caught crossing the southern Mexican border by the Mexican police. They get robbed, imprisoned, and if they're lucky, they get deported without getting hurt.
This from the same country that is DEMANDING rights for its citizens who cross a border, illegally, into a richer country.
Why is that? Why is the president of Mexico helping to send its citizens abroad? Is it to get rid of them? Is it so that they can send much needed money into the Mexican economy? It's those things, and probably more.

This is not about "el odio de los anglos racistas". This is about breaking laws, plain and simple.
Pull your head out of the sand and take a look around. There are many people who are unhappy with the illegal-immigration situation. Yes, I said it, ILLEGAL immigration. Let's not sugar-coat it. When done by individuals, it is illegal. When sponsored, or encouraged by a state, it is an act of war... an insurgency, if you will.

But, back to the 'law' thing. Some may say, "how can it be against the law to want to make a better life for yourself and your children?" Good question. I'll let you decide that one, though, as I'll answer with question of my own.
How can dealing drugs be illegal if the poor drug dealers are just trying to make life better for themselves?
I know. Not quite apples to apples but, you get the point, I hope.

Now, should we stop immigration? No. Of coarse not. Immigration is what made America. From the first American Indians, to the Spaniards, the French, the English, Scots, Irish, Africans, and let's not forget the Norsemen.
There's more, but I'll stop there.
Still, the United States of America, without control of its borders, will cease to be a nation. Immigration needs to have some type of control. Is it perfect now? Can we improve it? No, it's not perfect, so yes, we can improve it. How will we do it? I don't know. No one person knows. That is for our republic to decide. What one group (either side)wants is not necessarily what is best for the country. So what do we do? We inform ourselves. We read, discuss, learn. Then, we make decisions. We speak to our representatives in our government. What is going to benefit our whole country, not just one group.
What we don't do is bully our way through based on what we heard some guy say on t.v. in some sound-bite. Just because your tia Matilde said "van a encarcelar y a deportar a todos los hispanos" or your uncle Bob said "their gonna legalize all the people from Mexico", doesn't mean it's true (yes, believe it or not, I've heard both of those comments, although I really don't have a tia Matilde). Educate yourselves. Speak from knowledge, not from rumors.

A Tejano in absentia

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin

3:06 PM

Anonymous Juan said...


Your post is well thought-out and reasoned, a welcome relief in the midst of this polarized debate.

De respuesta, mis propios dos centavos:

For one thing, the term *illegal alien* is tossed around, como si los inmigrantes fueron ladrones o asesinos. Yet there's a reason the "illegals" have been in the US for over a decade in some cases, and it's because the US citizens are only too happy to exploit the "illegals" labor, their minds and their calloused hands, to do jobs cheaply and keep inflation in check. The grumblers also quietly (when they're not railing and whining in public) just love the fact that illegals pay into the system through their taxes and FICA deductions (which *are* taken out of the salaries paid to the illegals), while the illegals don't get to collect the same for themselves.

Pues en otras palabras, los ilegales pagan *en* la sistema, pero no tienen el luxo de *beneficar* ellos mismos de sus propios contribuciones.

That's the whispered reality here and we know it-- even the illegal-haters among the Anglos (strenuously avoiding the "Gr-" word) secretly are very happy about the economic advantages that the undocumented workers provide, benefits such as reduced prices on produce and meats at the supermarket, lower overhead and higher economic growth in crucial industrial sectors, and of course the all-important payments into the federal treasury that fund Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which do not benefit the undocumented immigrants themselves.

That third part in particular, that's the dirty little secret of the "illegals" and it's why the US desperately needs the illegals even as the Anglos go in apoplectic shouting matches against them-- Medicare and Social Security can't be funded "above board" w/o ruinously high taxes. So the undocumented workers are the quiet heroes, paying in by the billions but not collecting.

The analogy for me, would be a fire-breathin' preacher at some trailer-park ad hoc church somewhere, who goes on angry tirades against adultery and "fornication" to his large, rapt, poor congregation, tellin' the young men and the nubile women that they'd better wait until marriage before foolin' around under the sheets. Meanwhile though, the minister behind everybody's back, is secretly going and sleeping with all the pretty young ladies in his congregation himself, even the married ones, then hushing them up by telling them "it's a demonstration to them but you can't tell nobody." Just like that, all the chauvinists and haters here in the US, the Minuteman and their buddies, they all wanna go and sound like Wyatt Earp or the sheriff at high noon, when they're livin' it up based on the crucial economic support the "illegals" provide.

I guess that's just one example of how a lot of Anglos I've met say one thing yet mean something very, very different. Another example, is all this blowhard talk about 'assimilation for you "brown people" is the only way to go.' Ha, where have we heard that one before?

See, the funny thing is, my parents specifically brought me up to be as 'Merikan as possible. My family's mostly of Colombian and some Puerto Rican and Chicano extraction, and we've been here a long time, as in multiple generations, and we're American citizens. We ourselves grew up mostly in Utah, though we even have a sort of, um, "history" here in that one of my great uncles was a Californio around 1848, who was treacherously stripped of his property and kicked off his land by gold-hungry Anglos in violation of the treaty. But that's beyond the point here-- my family, plain and simple, wanted me and my brothers and sisters to "assimilate," as in "forget who you are and where you came from."

So were were all given Anglo names, we were not taught Spanish and we were forbidden to speak Spanish at home or to each other if we tried. (My parents' anti-Spanish zeal got to be comical at points-- they wouldn't even let us take Spanish as a school subject, they said we could do French though they weren't big on us learning a language at all outside English.) They forbade us from celebrating Latino holidays of any sort in our mixed heritage, refused to let us eat ethnic food (funny result since they took us out to fast food a lot, our example of "authentic" American food), refused to let us listen to Latin music. IOW, me and my brothers and sisters, we were brought up to be more Anglos than the Anglos themselves, brought up to be monolingual English speakers with barely a trace of our Latino ancestry, with Anglo names, and eating, acting and talking like Anglos, with only the slightest tan in our skin to suggest something different.

Well, a funny thing happened on the path to this so-called "assimilation." I came home one day and my sister was in tears, relating how another (Anglo) girl in the school had called her a name I hesitate to repeat-- a "Sp-- c--t" and some other epithets for which you could use your imagination. So I confronted the prick and got an earful of the same myself. As my brothers and sisters and me all started to wake from our brainwashed fantasy world, we realized that an awful lot of the Anglos were perfectly cool with us-- and an awful lot of the other Anglos thought we were worse than dirt. As I went into college and then into the work world, I saw that this was all the rule more than the exception. Again, yeah, some Anglos were cool, and an awful lot were not.

So the summary? All this assimilation talk is crap, it's nothing more than a divide-and-conquer tactic by at least some of the Anglos as a way to weaken our group affiliations and make us more pliable, more fractured, more vulnerable to exploitation. Supposedly it makes us into more easily malleable consumers for American businesses, while preventing us from standing up for ourselves or uniting with our brothers and sisters when things get tough. We weren't, furthermore, in any way unusual in this experience, we've heard from dozens of other Latinos who've encountered the same thing-- trying to "assimilate" and leave their heritage behind, only to find they'd shot themselves in the foot since they still got a raw deal from the "original Americans on the Mayflower" but now had less ability to stand up for themselves in harmony with other Latinos. All the "assimilation" talk is thus nothing more than a well-laid trap. We've never actually been a melting pot in this country, we're more of a salad bowl, but by fooling some of our more naive members otherwise (like, unfortunately, my own beloved parents on this particular issue), many Anglos have thereby tricked us into slashing our own throats and leaving a big gaping wound.

Asi todos nosotros, decidimos de cambiar nuestro estado de desastre, y de reclamar nuestra herencia. We all signed up for night-school classes or tutors in Spanish and got fluent over several years. We celebrated our ethnic holidays and cooked up ethnic food. We spoke to our parents and grandparents in Spanish, and our parents, initially reluctant, embraced us for it (they themselves had a change of heart). Our kids, all of them, are bilingual and biliterate, they go to schools teaching in both languages through high school, want to attend either universities or community colleges, or tech schools, where instruction is dual-language (they're proliferating these days).

Interestingly, the emphasis on being fluent in both English and Spanish among our kids is only partly about "staying close to their heritage," actually if anything it's more about economic advantages-- even back in Utah, the big and small employers are all giving top preference in hiring to people who know fluent Spanish. Even nice-paying professional jobs like lawyers or computer technicians, even they're getting fluent in Spanish for their jobs. If they don't speak it, they don't get a good job, or they get fired. So it's not a good idea to raise a kid as a monolingual English speaker these days, down the road they consistently lose out to bilingual kids in the job market, both low-skilled and high-skilled, high-paying jobs.

More apropos to the point, Roy, since this is a hard truth that I myself tried to deny for very long: To at least a very big group of Anglos, we Latinos will never be accepted as equals or as brethren, never have and never will be. That's because historically, we've been an "enemy civilization" like the blacks. The Anglos in the US have fought something like 2 dozen wars against Latinos, everything from the Mexican War to the conquest of Puerto Rico, to all the invasions of Latin America that Woodrow Wilson carried out, to the more recent incursions and US-supported coups in Chile, the Dominican Republic or Guatemala. Latinos with the US were expelled from our territory despite signed treaties after 1848, by FDR in the 1930's and then during the bracero period in the 1950's. It's hard to put a figure on the amount of Latino blood spilled by Anglo expansionism and hatred. Not all Anglos are like that, but it's an undercurrent and an awful lot of Anglos are. Latinos are an object of hatred for the Anglos in the US, flat-out. It breaks my heart to admit that truth but it's the hard truth, and if anything the lines are hardening.

That's one reason why I suggested the states above as Latino-friendly places, and others as far less so. It's not just because we're so numerous in places like Cali or Arizona and can rely on each other in need (though that definitely is a factor), it's also frankly because the Anglos in those places are overall a whole lot friendlier to Latinos, respectful of us, our culture and language, our celebrations, our own sense of pride, our holidays and so on. Me and my relatives, yeah we've also dealt with some nasty Anglos on moving to California, but it's a whole lot different there and a much better place to be successful as a Latino. That's in truth how it's working out, some places are just much better for us than others.

Hay que escuchar y usar esta verdad para planear nuestro futuro y eso de nuestros hijos y amigos. Aqui tenemos el conocimiento de la inteligencia colectiva de otros Latinos y podemos compartirlo.

9:51 PM

Blogger Humito said...

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12:45 PM

Anonymous cad said...

Wow, awesome post! Thank you for sharing.

9:53 PM

Anonymous roy said...

Gracias Juan,

Me alegra que podamos discutir con calma y sensibilidad. Esto es un tema muy emocional y es muy facil dejarse sobrellevar por nuestras emociones y sentimientos.

I would probably not be so calm about this subject but, after talking on Monday with a dama that I think the world of, I remembered that passionate doesn’t mean you can’t be civil. She, by the way, came to this country illegally but is now a citizen. On one hand, I’m cognizant of the fact that she broke the law, though not in the same magnitude of a ladron o un asesino, the fact remains a law was broken. But, on the other hand, I am glad she did, otherwise, I never would have met her. Catch-22.

Now, onto your post, which I liked, and agree with, at least partly.
What I mean by that is, I agree that plenty of people who are here illegally do pay into the system. And, you’re right, many people like to parrot the party line about “the illegals don’t pay taxes, blah, blah”…ad nauseum. Very, very, wrong. They do. At least, some do.
Others have wised-up and have figured out they can change the w-4s and pay much less taxes, if any. I have seen this first-hand.
Hey, I don’t blame them. It is taxation without representation, after all. Boston Tea Party, anyone?

Anyway, there are still many who do pay but, that is not what you normally hear. I guess it just makes for a better story. The more negative connotations you can pile on, the better. The better to rile up the masses.
But, these are lies. Stories made up by some people to make themselves feel better. To make up for their own inadequacies. The stories in turn, get repeated by people too lazy to research for themselves.
Still, in most lies, there is usually a bit of truth. The truth, in this case, is that to pay these taxes, someone’s identity is stolen. Mine has been. So was an ex-sister-in-law’s. And a friend’s. Mine was a simple matter to clear up. Just a purchase that I didn’t make. My ex-sister-in-law, however, involved the Infernal Robbery Service… er, I mean, the IRS. She went through hell getting it straightened out. She didn’t deserve that.

As for Medi-scare and Social In-Security, they wouldn’t have a funding problem if the Government didn’t dip into the funds so often, and using the money for things that it was never intended for. I would also argue that we probably could be better off without a lot of these programs but, that is for another discussion.
So, then… Do we really need “illegals?” No. We don’t need anyone. We choose to use them because we are too lazy to do the work they do. And we’re too cheap to pay another dollar for that head of lettuce at the supermarket. We would rather have someone in China make our salad bowl if it means we can save an extra 10 cents at Wal Mart. So, we lose jobs to other countries, then blame others for our own laziness and stupidity. That’s the way it is. This is what we have become. Wonderful, isn’t it?

You are very right about the exploitation of illegals and that that is why they are here. If there were no jobs for them, it stands to reason that they wouldn’t be coming here. Wal Mart, Tyson Foods, Cargill, Con-Agra, et al, are the culprits. They stand to benefit by having them as workers. Why do you think that they didn’t raise a stink about closing down some of their plants on Monday? Didn’t they lose business? Yes, of coarse they did. But they can absorb those costs because of the lower wages they pay. They sure as hell didn’t do it cause they are nice guys and are supportive of the cause. Again, follow the money trail.

You told me your story, now, I’ll tell you mine: I was raised in South Texas; Brownsville, to be exact. I’m a first-generation American. Yes, American; not Mexican-American, just American. I have no loyalty to Mexico so, even though my parents were Mexican, I was born here and raised here. My only country is this one. I am a citizen of this country and I will remain so until I die. This is how I was brought up. My father ( que en pas, descanse) considered himself a Mexican but I, to him, was an American. One of his proudest moments,where I was concerned, was my becoming a soldier in the US Army, so that I could serve my country. He didn’t want me to forget who I was or where I came from. He just believed that what I chose to make of myself had more bearing than what color my skin was.
He didn’t forbid talking spanish. On the contrary, he thought the more languages you knew, the better off you were. Mexican holidays? I had no idea what Cinco de Mayo was all about til I was 13 or 14. We celebrated the 4th of July, though. Music? I grew up listening to corridos, conjunto and rock n’ roll. Right now, I’m listening to The Hometown Boys. When I started writing this, I was listening to Disturbed, and before that, was George Strait. Somewhere in there, I’m sure Stevie Ray will come up. I have all kinds of music in my mp3 player (never been a fan of Rap, though).
Where am I going with this? Assimiliation. As for it being crap, I don’t buy it.
I guess that is because, I see everyone as an equal, and I don’t really care if they see me that same way, or not. They are no better than me, no matter what they may believe. If they think they can treat me like crap, they have another thing coming. If they don’t want to associate with me, that’s fine. We have that right in this country. We have the liberty to associate, or disassociate with whomever we want (courts not withstanding, they seem to think that everything is discrimination- maybe it is, but up to a point, not everyone can join all the reindeer games).

On the subject of discrimination: I’ve been discriminated against more by Hispanics than Anglos, Blacks, Asians, etc. Seems I’m not “Mexican” enough for their taste. That’s fine, though. If they won’t take me for who I am, do I really want to hang around with them? It’s their party, they can cry if they want to. I can have my own party, thank you very much.
Back to assimiliation: Is it a divide and conquer tactic? It is if we make it that way. We do this by becoming the segregationists that we complain so loudly about. It’s “Anglo this”, or “White people that”. We have to be “unidos with la raza”. Don’t you see the irony there? In the words of Pogo, “I have seen the enemy and it is US” Think about this phrase- la Raza. If some white guy said this, we would be all over them, calling them racist. There are “Black colleges” but nobody thinks this is racist. note: yes, I admit there are a lot of whites that are racist and I am not apologizing for them. The fact remains, two wrongs don’t make a right, though sometimes they make us feel a whole lot better (sorry Mike Muir-Suicidal Tendencies).
As for the melting pot being bogus; I don’t see it that way. I see it more like a gravy pot- most of the time, you’re gonna wind up with some lumps in there. Hey, life isn’t fair. Whoever said it was, was lying through their teeth. That’s just reality. Nothing more, nothing less.
Are we an “enemy civilization,” as you put it? Perhaps. Partly because of our own doing, partly because of bigoted and lazy people. There were Hispanics that fought on the U.S. side during the wars that you mentioned. The wars, as I understand them, were not against “Latinos” ( I’ve never liked that word- probably cause I failed Latin) rather, against the countries where they happened to reside.
Would Blacks have been treated the way they were if people weren’t led to believe that the War of Northern Aggression, uh, I mean, the Civil War, was fought over slavery (again, lazy, ignorant people) and not over state’s rights, then the added insult of ‘Reconstruction’? Maybe, maybe not. We’ll never know. There are a lot of things we’ll never know. I do know this “ We must all hang together, or surely, we shall all hang, separately”.

Take care of yourself,

A finger –weary Tejano

"Few words will be necessary, with good dispositions on your part. Adore God. Reverence and cherish your parents. Love your neighbor as yourself, and your country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. Murmur not at the ways of Providence. So shall the life into which you have entered be the portal to one of eternal and ineffable bliss. And if to the dead it is permitted to care for the things of this world, every action of your life will be under my regard. Farewell."
Thomas Jefferson

1:19 PM

Anonymous Chicana34 said...

I a going to buy one of these and wear it to the rally.


6:28 PM

Anonymous Roy said...

I think you missed it, dear

4:53 AM

Blogger joaquín said...

Juan, thank you so much for that comment. I really can relate on a lot of level. In a way, I have to thank the wave of racism that current events have kicked off, because they really have encouraged me to recapture my brown culture and roots—as much as I can.

-the whitest mexicano in his suburbarrio,

J (http://www.cafepress.com/reconquistador)

6:52 AM

Blogger joaquín said...

oh, and i photographed and wrote about a demonstration on May 1, here in NYC right here and here.

and i'm glad i found your blog.

7:02 AM

Anonymous Roy said...

Why is it that any talk against illegal immigration is immediately branded as "racist"?

Is this as far as anyone can see into this subject?

after awhile, it all starts to sound like the sheep in 'Animal Farm': "Four legs good, two legs bad!"
I had originally written much more but I figured that it would probably fall on deaf ears.

and if I'm a xenophobe, I guess I must be afraid of myself, since I'm part Spaniard, French, Italian, Arab, Comanche, Coahiltec, Yaqui, and Apache, by blood.
So, which culture and roots should I try to hang-on to? The Italian who ruled the Spanish in Roman times? The French who came later ( and also colonized the New World-and lets not forget Maximillian and the Battle of Puebla)? How about the Arabs who conquered the south of Spain? Maybe the Spanish who conquered Mexico? The Mexicans who fought the Comanche and Apache? No easy answers here...

4:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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11:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:16 PM

Anonymous Roy said...

Man, you have to stop smoking that stuff!

Disfavored? You need help...

1:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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5:39 PM

Anonymous Lisa Ramirez said...

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5:40 PM


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