miércoles, mayo 25, 2005

I called it

Last night, Al Sharpton appeared on New York 1 (a news channel in NYC) to talk about the Vicente Fox comment, which, if you will all remember, I called out in my last post. I knew it. he said that Fox called him personally last week. Apparently, he did everything but apologize. Sharpton also said that Fox's statement that he was sorry that people misconstrued his comment was not nearly enough. Fox invited him to Mexico City for a meeting, and Sharpton did not make it clear whether he went or not. Here we go again. Does he expect Fox to get on his knees and beg forgiveness for making a comment that is absolutely true?

I had a comment on my last post making the point that immigrants from Latin America, while it is true that they do jobs that others wouldn't necessarily go near, might not be sufficiently integrated into American society economically, and the fact that they keep coming doesn't help. I thought that was an excellent point, but I also think that it does nothing to disprove Fox's comment. I have also seen posts which say something about kicking Fox's "racist ass". I think those are just reactionary. I mean really, all you have to do is take a good look at the guys making your burgers at the diner, dishing out your food at Zabar's and doing your laundry when you drop it off at the laundromat, and you will easily see that Fox's comment was not at all far from the truth. I think certain people have been reduced to screaming racism whenever their ethnicity is referred to in what they think is not such a positive light. Then I have to ask what their internal issues are that they are so threatened on such a constant basis. If I had a nickel for every time my ethnicity is referred to in a less than positive light, I'd be out singing "Rich Girl" with Gwen and Eve. But no one seems to care when that happens. So I can't be all that sympathetic in this situation. I have your back, Vicente. Sea fuerte.

martes, mayo 17, 2005

Vicente Fox

Mr. Fox is the president of Mexico, in case anyone has been living underneath a rock during the past few years. Over the weekend, Fox said the following:

"There's no doubt that Mexican men and women - full of dignity, willpower and a capacity for work - are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States.'' (Link to article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/15/AR2005051500622.html) Under fire, Fox has said that he will absolutely not apologize for making the comment as it is the truth, although he says he regrets any hurt feelings, and I do not blame him. Mexico has been the US's whipping post for far too long and its time that they are able to speak their minds without having to kneel before the Gringos to beg forgiveness for their disloyal behavior. The US has done nothing but take huge shits on every single Latin American country, so I think they can take some choice words fired their way. And then the gringos have the fucking nerve to ask why Latin America has become so anti-yanqui.

Given the fact that in Latin America, it is still very widely accepted to, for example, give someone a nickname according to his skin color ( even though there are black folks in Latin America, like the Garifuna in Guatemala), I can understand why Fox's comments were perhaps misunderstood. An example: the nickname given to my African American friend when he lived in Washington Heights, NYC, a predominantly Dominican neighborhood: "Moreno", which would probably be the equivalent of "blackie". Of course these guys failed to look in the mirror at their own black skin and nappy heads, because most Dominicans think they are descendent from the Spaniards only and are therefore nothing but white, which of course is a HUGE lie they tell themselves and everyone else who dares to ask them about their heritage. And I'll just stop there because I could write a book on how some Dominicans, and some Latinos for that matter, play themselves constantly, and damn, do I digress.

Anyway, I read an article in New York Magazine last night about Mexican immigrants and decided to put Fox's comment up against it (link to article: http://www.newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/news/features/11961/index.html). I hope not to be misunderstood when I say that I completely agree with Fox's comment, as I understood it, although I can understand how some very eager beavers took it out of context, and to be honest, I'm waiting for Sharpton to barge in and talk some shit. I don't know how it is in the rest of the country, but in NYC, when I see people scrubbing the toilets at my office, they are Latino, save for the one Filipina. When I go out for lunch to a sandwich place, the guys making the sandwiches are mostly Mexican, save for other immigrants from Colombia, Ecuador and other countries in the region. When I get on the subway late at night, its Mexicans I see, still in their greasy work clothes, coming off the night shift at the restaurant.

The above-mentioned article talks about how David, a Mexican immigrant, lives in an illegally converted, dark, damp and moldy basement of a tenement building with 26 other Mexican immigrants, all illegal. The reason why they live so humbly is because a large chunk of their money is sent back to their relatives in Mexico, some of whom can't put food on the table due to horrible economies and the constant lack of consideration and/or aid for the poor, and they are left with just enough for some basic needs. When I read that, I immediately thought of how slave traders used to stack those they kidnapped one on top of the other in the bowels of the ship, and I couldn't help but draw the very obvious parallel. Some of the people in David's, um, apartment, work at Citarella's and Fairway, fancy-schmancy food markets, although they wouldn't be able to afford food from there were it not for the handouts they get at the end of their working day. I've said before that it is nuts that I work at the UN but can't afford to live anywhere near there (although I have a decent place about half an hour away by train), and for that reason and as a Latina, I really feel for these people. Are they to be denied their human rights in this country, which supposedly champions human rights - I guess only for themselves, because they are illegal? I think the fact that they are so willing to work so hard and at pretty much anything should really cancel out the fact that they are illegal, and they should be granted certain rights, like confidential medical care without having to worry that someone is going to rat them out to La Migra, if for nothing else than their work. After all, this country was built on their backs. We, Americans, took a good chunk of this country from them back in the day, and we still have not stopped exploiting them and blaming them for the country's ills.

And as for that comment I hear all the time about "those damn immigrants" coming to take "our" jobs, I'd like to see Bush and Cheney, or any of those imperialist, unaccommodating, unreasonable assholes, come to my office and empty my trash. I want to see Bernard Kerik's ass, who can hire an illegal immigrant to care for his kids and then allies himself with the very people who want to kick her out of the country, wiping the toilet with his tongue. The unfortunate fact is that pigs will pick up and learn to fly before this, just hard justice, in my opinion, ever happens.