I've always wondered how one muses. It must go something like how I am doing now, just staring off into the space of the coffee shop, not really staring at anything in particular, but hearing the sound of this man, I believe he does not know the loud tone of his own voice, and this is his indoor voice. Aside from this its interesting how I don't think about the things I'm missing not being in my home state of California, until I've come across them out here in the midwest. Something simple like a Mexican market/restaurant serving up a dish a of sopes and tacos de asada, is truly worth my musing. It's one of those, you don't know what you have until you no longer have it-situations. I even ordered a plate of rice and beans, that I couldn't finish, but upon tasting the beans I coulda sworn I tasted manteca/lard, (sigh) just like grandma used to clog our arteries. It's those little things that remind me of home and Mexicanidad.
In the marqueta I saw all the things that I would see at the local marquetas in my hometown, we had small ones, and we had the Wal-mart sized kind that were looking to put the locally owned marquetas out of business. In fact I remember a case being developed against one of the larger marquetas because they were hiring undocumented workers and exploiting them by paying them lower wages. Sad, but true. What is worst is if this marqueta is Mexican owned, doing this to it's own people, taking the easy route, as opposed to trying to help their employees gain documentation. Nonetheless the exploitation of the undocumented Mexican immigrant doesn't only occur in the strawberry fields, it also happens in marquetas frequented by 99.9% raza. Employees that complain about their wages from what I heard have threats lobbed at them consisting of possible reportage to the authorities to oust their illegal status. (sigh #2). This is us doing it to ourselves.
The question then becomes, what, if not who is to blame, when the person who becomes your enemy looks like you? We replicate the oppressive structure and tactics used upon us by "The Man," and then eventually we become "The Man." Is it capitalism and the need to profiteer? Or is it just us as humans? We as people seek to create a caste based structure or system where one must be above the rest, the whole 99% versus the 1% thing. I think it's of no surprise that Mexicans do this to each other, in Mexico there is a clear differentiation between the indio and the "modern" Mexicano. Interestingly enough I was skimming through Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States by Seth M. Holmes, wherein he notes in his research that Mexican farmworkers have a hierarchy that goes:
That is to say that the non-ideginous Mexican looks down upon the Mixtec and Oaxacan farmworker. What's truly troublesome is that all three are Mexican, because they are descended from Mexico. The only thing that separates them, or they allow to the separate them, is the ties to the indigenous roots, which is looked down upon by the "Mexican," but they're all Mexican-Mexican. That's right folks, we're still fighting over whether we're Xicanos, Latinos, or Hispanics, and our Mexican-Mexicans have divided themselves as well.
I guess I shouldn't be too troubled about it, I had noticed this when I had traveled to Mexico. Those living in the city, looked down on the more indigenous Mexicanos. A licensiada I spoke with who served as our tour guide, spoke to us about philanthropic work that her and other people were trying to do to assist the "more" indigenous people who didn't have the many resources available to them, that were easily accessible to people living close to or in the city.
I'm going to make sure I read Holmes' book, because I'd like to know how the Mexican farmworkers organize during a labor struggle if this type of division occurs. Do the "Mexicans" turn on the Oaxacans and Mixtecs during a labor struggle? Or do they distance themselves and just let the Oaxacans and Mixtecs have it out with the grower? Every Mexican for himself? I just keep shaking my head and thinking "come on maaaannnnn, you're all Mexicans from Mexico! You're Mexican-Mexicans! Maybe they just need to be united against a common foe they really despise, like the blight of the Xican@. Maybe they can turn their ire toward one another against us Pinche Pochos. I'll die happy if My Xicanonees unites all my Mexican people by placing me on the bottom rung of their hierarchical ladder.
But guess who is above all them? That's right, the JEFE, the grower they work for.
I just remembered, today is Breaking Bad sunday. So I'll stop now, so that I might go look at myself in the mirror for a long time, and see if I can pass for Mexican-Mexican.