Tuesday, July 01, 2008

RAFBN-Week 7

USAToday recently announced that explosive growth in Hispanic communities nationwide is now attributable to births, not immigration (illegal or otherwise). Which Hispanics and why, I ask. Like us, they are not monolithic. There is poverty and wild wealth. They endure invidious discrimination yet many practice it to an artform. They want to be "Americans" yet are often more insular than many Asian and South Asian groups. They suffer starker skin color, caste, origin and self-exploitaton issues among themselves than even we blackfolk. So who are "they?" No one's ever answered that question for mainstream USA. Are they "Castillan" (e.g. closer to Spanish roots...white) Cubans who've taken over south Florida? Those folks aren't the same as the legions of Hondurans, Salvadorans, etc. in Maryland, DC or Northern Virginia. Black Dominicans aren't the same as Mexicans. Mexicans--lord...Tejanos and folks in Arizona or New Mexico who've been around so long they are basically cowboys and rednecks with deep suntans and black hair...or the thousands of folks smuggled in VW buses...or what is the defining nature of the difference between the Chicano schoolteacher or dentist in the Valley versus the vatos and chicks in East LA and the ruthless scumbag gangsters of La Eme ruling California prisons? They're the same as the few Argentinians, Chileans running around up here going to grad school? Or the Panamaians descendended from black West Indians? Or...Puerto Ricans?
Geraldo Rivera--yep Gerry Rivers--only tickles theses issues in his book HISPANIC: Why Americans Fear Hispanics in the U.S. (Celebra, 2008). Indeed, much of the monograph becomes a memoir and sprinkled with illustrations and examples other Puerto Rican sucess-over-adversity stories. Trouble is--that's about Puerto Ricans. Culturally and legally (since the Jones Act of 1917) US citizens. More Brooklynesque than Italians, more Bronx than Yankee Stadium, more New Haven than Yalie George Bush. Yes, Geraldo takes on some of his FOX NEWS cohorts--and in this era of info-tainment and target demo fakery you have to wonder how genuine this is--and names names among Mr. Charlie's anti-immigrant crowd. Yes, Geraldo decries this friction between black and brown. But there's no nuance on one level...or blunt force on another which always gets short shrift: differences among Hispanic or "Latino" groups...and thorny social issues such as crime, education, too many young girls having too many kids, nihilism, alcoholism, drugs, lack of health care/insurance. You know--the shit they tag US with hahahahaha.
That Hispanic birth rate? Again--among which groups? Run of the mill families or second generation Mexican immigrants...girls just celebrating their Quinceanera by getting pregnant? Or some of my Salvadoran or Ecuadoran neighbors pumping out kids whilst papa can't find work during the housing slump? Note the birth rate's not some cultural dialectic. They have biology on their side. No one's waiting to finish grad school or make partner or move into the good school district before they get married and have kids; you don't see too many late thirties/fortysomething Hispanic couples at the IVF place. Lots of black people, though. Interesting. Maybe you will in a few generations, as caste/class displaces ethnicity as a determinant? Both Darwin and God say we are set up to be fecund and fertile by age 17-18, and if there's food and no natural stresses, we shall multiply. Hispanics are a testament to that fact. Geraldo? He doesn't delve into the details at all. Not that I expected him to be Bill Cosby in Come on People, but once he's beyond the immigration debate he merely touchs problems with success anecdotes re: Edward James Olmos & famous people. "American Me" is not a tale of inspiration. Then there is the matter of education, drop-out rates, etc. This is even more painful, and rivals anything in HBO's "Hard Times at Douglass High." Again, Geraldo rails against Anglo cretins and oppression, but doesn't winnow into nasty stuff. Finally, there is the seperate issue of Mexico which could fill a whole volume. History? Yeah, they didn't cross the border--the border crossed them. Issues unique to California, Texas? Yeah, and again, no true co-sanguinity with Puerto Ricans. He doesn't even presage the weird doings of Hillary Clinton with respect to turning Hispanics "against" Obama this year. Ironically, his spleen's aimed that Republicans.
Geraldo missed a chance for a multi-volume Michener-esque chronicle of diverse tribes who are thought of as one "nation" onto themselves. Still, there are interesting arguments, insights, stories. Me--I decry the lack of "coverage" for Brazilians (and okay, Portuguese and Cape Verdeans in New England--ya happy?). As black folks we likely have more in common with them...even the "white" ones who cling to their German/Italian roots...than we do most Hispanics outside of Puerto Ricans, Domincans and some Cubans. Best looking women in the universe, too. And you'd have thought THAT would tickle Geraldo's fancy! Talk about BIRTH RATE. Lawd. Anyway, HISPANIC: Why Americans Fear Hispanics in the US. Read and learn.

10 comments:

Mercucio said...

Ditto on your statement about Brazil and Brazilian women!

There is this stereotype within the evil world of racial stereotypes that "Hispanic" people work "harder" than African Americans. You're right: Who, What. Where. When? I've spoken to many of my so-called red blooded American white male friends who employ both, and who grumble about Mexican takeover of the world yet love the cheap labor. If we are talking about builders, building trades, janitorial services and fast food the answer is the same: NO! They aren't "harder workers." Nor, it will surprise you, do they think African Americans are lazy. It's just that they feel African Americans are more surly, more easily distracted by "personal issues" and will not put up with bad conditions and pittance pay. I suspect if we are talking about professional or white collar jobs, it isn't even an issue.

Geraldo sucks ass, by the way.Such a fool. I respect your recommendation and enjoy your blog but I don't see this book as my beach read this summer.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

lations come from latin america
hispancis mexico

Dodd said...

Puerto Ricans - What about more Chicago than deep pan pizza?

By the way, the term Latino is being more widely accepted so the categorization doesn't apply anymore...
DW

Anonymous said...

La Eme has declared war on all black convicts in Cali prisons. How's that for black/brown friction?

Anonymous said...

SoCal 82Tiger Says:

One of your more thought filled posts Professor... Never cared much for G R - Thought of him as an opportunistic gasbag who plays on his "race" to sell TV time and books when it suits him. That said I think your wrong on Hillary turning brown against black in the USA. THE dirty little secret throughout all of South and Central America is that color based racism has/is never gone away! They’ve been beating down dark the skinned people in their countries for much longer than the US. I think their work might make the lovers of Ole Jim Crow envious.

Those close to power in most of the countries south of Texas are almost always light skinned – and even countries like Haiti it’s you see lighter skinned tyrants like Papa & Baby Docs swinging the machete ... Many of these D.B’s are the extended families with historical ties to their original colonial ruling families.

Dark skinned and Indigenous Tribal peoples in C.A & S.A. are with few exceptions at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder of these nations. Such racist feelings travel across borders & it does not matter that the immigrant is legal or illegal.

As to your thought on Brazilian women vs. others throughout the America's... First nations with the greatest acceptance of inter racial marriages and union seem to have the most beautiful people PERIOD...
With that thought I was always partial to ladies from Trinidad...

Ochyming said...

Ditto on your statement about Brazil and Brazilian women!


???? Stereotype ...

My wife is from Brazil.
If you tune on any Brazilian TV, you'll see only European looking Beauties.

......


Lations come from latin america
hispancis mexico


???? Stereotype ...

honesty said...

The un-PC position is that Latinos or Hispanics have a high birth rate because they are pretty much Third World and ignorant, and the Pope says no birth control.

Your Sister said...

I have been immersed in learning about latino/hispanic cultures over the past 2 years: my significant other being cuban. I would argue that the issues and problems they face are as complex, insidious, and pervasive as black americans,but in a somewhat different way. They are afflicted from within by the cultural, social and ecomonic scars of the Catholic Church, european colonialism, and remnants of ancient tribal traditions of the multitude of indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, Central and South America.
One more thing...why are these guys commenting on Brazilian women? Let's face it, the skin color issue is imbedded in our psyches. It's the more euro looking women that get the attention. Yes, they are pretty but they are essentially white women with suntans...

Ochyming said...

Calling these folks Latinos/hispanic is an INSULT, where Natives stands, and those who came from Northern European countries, Africans [you prefer Black]?

Here in Portugal, most Africans reject being called Africans, they prefer Nigger, Preto in Portuguese.

Anonymous said...

Virtual Memory sure is becoming cheaper and cheaper and cheaper. I'm curious as to when we will finally reach the ratio of 1c to 1 Gigabyte.

I'm quietly waiting for the day when I will finally be able to afford a 20 TB harddisk, haha. But for now I guess I will be content with having a 32 gigabyte Micro SD Card in my R4i.

(Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=http://crystalguo.vox.com/library/post/how-does-the-r4i-or-r4-work.html]R4i[/url] QDos)