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Racist? I think so…

21 November 2018

I’ve more than once had to mention that “raza” does not exactly translate to the English-language word “race” … Vasconcelos’ “raza cosmica” included all the black-brown-red-yellow-white possible combinations (and often improbable ones) that live, or have their roots in, the 19.2 million square kilometers of Latin America.  Privileged migrant or not, I’ve as much right any Honduran migrant short-order cook in Houston, fifth generation Irish cop in Boston, or Congressional representative and great-granddaughter of a slave has when the people of the United States are when reading some stereotyped, ignorant (and proudly so) comment about their country and its people, especially when the commentator defends themselves as saying it was a joke… with the tired old response “if you can’t take a joke, then… (you know the rest)”.

What brings this up was a small article in one of the news aggregators I like, about discovering the wreck of the ARA San Juan, the Argentinian submarine lost at sea, killing all 44 sailors aboard. I can’t imagine the horror of the event, but admit, I give little thought to the Argentine navy or submariners, and wouldn’t have thought much of the article other than say “what a tragedy” if it wasn’t for a commentator who wote:

And here I thought we were.gonna find out they headed North to Cuidad Juarez—-

Which made absolutely no sense to anyone with even the vaguest conception of Latin America… Juarez is in the desert, of course, and a good 9200 Km from Mar de Plata (a bit further than the distance from Hong Kong to London).  That I said the comment made no sense set the original commentator off … apparently I was a “troll” for not getting her (and the commentator’s “handle” identified the person as female) reference to Hondurans supposedly headed for that US-Mexican border city.

And it was that explanation that I find racism.  As much as the dishwasher, the cop, the Congressional representative would find some stereotype of all their countrymen based on one cowboy in Montana, or a self-indulgent real estate promoter from Queens for that matter… and that is only a matter of nationality.  An African-American would be more offended, and more rightly so, if a commentator on, say, an article about some tragedy in Zambia somehow saw it as relevant to Haitians in Miami.  Which is, more or less what this person was doing…  the loss of the ARA San Juan a year ago, somehow in their mind was tied up with Hondurans migrating through Mexico seeking asylum in the United States today.

Do all Americans look and act the same?  Does every person in the African diaspora (or in Africa itself) have the same goals and interests? Are the still Americans or African-descent? Do Argentine sailors; Honduran farmers and housewives; Mexican factory workers all look and act the same or have the same goals and interests.  And for all their differences, are they not one people?  La Raza?  And ..

 

Por mi raza hablará el espíritu”…

And the spirit moved me to call out the commentator as a racist.

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Cynthia L Watson permalink
    21 November 2018 3:29 pm

    Exactly! However, I do have one question: Are you referring to any specific self-indulgent real estate huckster from Queens?

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