Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Follow Up on Latin@ Blogger Study

Part of the Una Identidad Sin Fronteras series

Spoke with Toni this morning, it was a great interview regarding the role of Hispan@/Latin@ bloggers in the wider realm of blogtopia (yes! skippy coined that term); I thank her once again for reaching out.

She is still seeking participants, I'm going to forward over a non-comprehensive list courtesy of k/o's Blogs United group, but if you know of others who would provide good commentary on what it means to be a Latin@ blogger, please get in touch me via email at man.eegee at gmail dot com so I can get you in touch with her.

One question that has stuck with me from the interview was when she asked if there were any issues that pertain specifically to Latin@s. The truth is, we blog about the same things that other ethnic and non-ethnic blogs write about, only using our lens. And really, that's how it is with each individual blogger. After some crafty evasion on my part (probably not too crafty since it was 7am'ish, hehe), I expanded a bit on what it means to talk about immigration reform from a Latin@ perspective.

I've come across alot of people on the "left" end of the political spectrum who hold the same exact positions as the Minutemen-wing of the GOP, but for completely different reasons. It's difficult to get them to understand that there is no way to separate the way race intersects with the overall discussion of immigration reform. It takes dance steps more complex than a full-blown salsa competition to pretend otherwise, in my not so humble opinion.

The Latin@ community feels the direct impact of racial discrimination in this environment of workplace raids, increased police-state environments, and English-Only based nativism. It's not something that is proven by statistics or widespread news coverage (cough), but rather through our experiences. Here's a perfect example of what I'm talking about.

On Sunday I was eating breakfast with one of my closest amigas at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Tempe. As we were chatting, a raised voice gonged its way through the room from the front register area. It was an older Anglo gentleman with a camouflaged baseball hat adorned upon his salt and peppered hairy head.

He was berating the woman at the register because he claimed she was overcharging him for four pints of frijoles. Berate is one word for it, the other would be humiliate and denigrate. He cussed her out as if she had just spit on the grave of his mother.

The woman was visibly shaking, but in as forceful a tone as she could muster, told him that he needed to not be disrespectful to her nor the rest of the customers. He continued on his tirade, and at that point the entire dining room had stopped their conversations and tuned into the show.

My blood was at a rolling boil at that point. I wanted to intervene but the line hadn't been crossed yet - she was handling it fine on her own.


First, he demeaned the way she spoke English. It was flawless, but apparently her accent was too much for him to handle. Second, he uttered the words that got me out of my booth and in his face, "Go back to where you came from!"

As I walked up and stared him down, he was standing at the exit and continued to yell offensive mierda. I told him that if he didn't leave, I would be the one to call the cops. After telling me to go Cheney myself and that I wouldn't dare do any of that, he ended his temper tantrum and left.

So, you see, we have plenty of perspective to add on what the immigration free-for-all has done to our communities. These are our families, our sisters, our very dignity being trampled upon and, unfortunately, the situation is often ignored or deemed insignificant when it comes to the larger goal of political point-scoring by the Democrats and Republicans.

It is why we must continue to give voice to the struggles and hardships endured by our people. If our stories are not told, then who beyond la gente latina, will receive the flicker of motivation to stand up for our basic human rights?

Thanks again for the opportunity to go into full meta-mode this morning, Toni, you've helped me shoot some adrenaline into the bloodstream of my groggy muse.

Paz, Man Eegee

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