Sunday, June 3, 2012

Being Mexican-American or Chicano on Cesar Chavez Day in Chico, CA Pt. 2

Meek doesn't seem to see the hate associated with dressing up Mexican on Cesar Chavez Day. I'm guessing because he still sees racism as something that you have to yell out by using some type of racist epithet like "beaner," or "wetback." The fact of the matter is that racism exists in all types of forms. It's almost like having to listen to Joe Arpaio say that they aren't profiling when they pull over anyone looking suspect while brown so they can investigate their status as a legal/illegal person of the country. It's utter horseshit.

It's always strange for me to hear people say that they don't see anything wrong with it, but when I ask if they'd wear face black or dress up black would they do it just for drink specials, many of them say NO. The reason being according to them it's different. However, there has been at least one or two people who say they would understand if it were done, because college students want to get $2 dollar beers. Something similarly annoying is having to hear people say that they have so and so friends that are Mexican or Latino or Hispanic, and they dress up or they don't mind. Something similar that Meek does in his article when he mentions a Christopher Medellin who says it's okay, but only to a certain extent. Thats is the norm even among conservative racist politicians, "lets oppose what we're doing wrong, by speaking to minorities who agree with us in our practice and ideology."

One of the most annoying things I have to hear is a white person say that they have a Latino/Hispanic/Mexican/Brown friend that they're cool with, and that they don't have issues with based on their ethnicity or race. If you have the need to point out your ONE Latino/Hispanic/Mexican/Brown friend that you're cool with, then there is a problem that you are internalizing, and that your trying to cement over by mentioning, said friend. What's really the end all be all is when they say "my Latino/Hispanic/Mexican/Brown friend doesn't mind when we dress up for Chavez Day or crack the occasional racist brown joke." In other words because your ONE friend is okay with it, that makes it okay? Even when there's plenty of people that say it's not okay? That ONE person out weighs the rest of the group? That ONE person represents the sentiments of the whole? Nah homie, that's just convenient for you, because it helps you to keep your white guilt in check.

Meek considers what occurs in Chico as "friendly and social." I'm reminded by what my friend told prez Zingg about the way Chavez Day is celebrated; that there are many Chicano/Latino students who leave the area or who stay indoors because they don't want to see the costumes because they know that they will feel insulted, and they'll feel angry. For example, one year, a group of us were sitting around drinking and this issue came up, and my friend mentioned dressing up as white people, by wearing powdered white wigs like George Washington, which was funny because there were many other varieties of white people to dress up as. But soon this conversation took a turn toward the dark as he mentioned maybe going around and beating the shit outta anyone who was white and very obviously dressed as Mexican to mock us. Although it was said jokingly there was that sense that some of us had-why not? Fortunately it never went beyond the joke stage. You can imagine the headlines in the Orion, "Hispanic Male Suspects Beat the Shit Outta White-Hispanic Male Suspects on Cesar Chavez Day." Yeah like something similar hadn't been occurring between the college students and local Latinos/as already, which in turn would lead to many of the white college students giving us looks of apprehension, because they'd be wondering if the mean-looking brown guy in their class could have been involved in the incident that past weekend.

It just continues to blow me away that Meek and students that he mentions in his op-ed piece don't seem to have an issue with what they do, because in their mind they're doing it for the right reasons, and that's to party. The racist implications of this doesn't seem to sink in, but that's because they don't want it to sink in. Again, their white guilt doesn't allow them to take a step back and possibly consider the fact that they might just be engaging in racist behavior and that they are creating a hostile atmosphere for other students. Because in Meek's mind not all white people are racist, just because they dress up as Mexican, which I don't think has ever been an argument. The main problem is being apathetic to the culture of a group, and to the person that group admires. I have yet to see any local businesses celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by having drink specials that ask students to dress up as the civil rights leader so they can get their $2 beer. Nor do I see the majority of the student population take charge and get dressed black in order to celebrate MLKJ Day. All of a sudden we're not deserving of that type of respect. Why? Because we weren't enslaved? We still have family and friends getting paid shit wages, and there is something referred to as slave wages. Do your research and look up the history of Mexican@s and labor in the U.S. Or do we get no respect, because we're not black? Meek and all the other people like him need to take a step back and think about what they're really trying to say, and what they're really trying not to admit, and that is that as a minority, fuck that as Mexican@s we are not deserving of their respect, whether because they aren't sympathetic to our culture, or because they feel that they don't have to be as sympathetic to our culture, or maybe it's because we need to blow shit up in their faces, and we need to be loud about showing them we are drawing a line. Nonetheless, at the moment Joe Arpaio and the rest of Arizona are cheering on Meek and other like-minded CSU, Chico students.

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