If you won’t have us…

*This reflection was written as a direct response to anti-immigrant and anti-Latinx ideologies spread by recent (and, if we’re being honest with ourselves, not-so-recent) political and national events. There is mostly anger and resentment reflected here. But this is only a small fraction of the emotions I’ve felt over the past few months, cycling through moment by moment.

[Friends, I shit you not, I have found myself crossing the street or taking alternative routes to avoid certain people. I try to recognize and own my bias, working to change them when possible (and when not-so-possible, I’m stubborn that way). AND, at the same time, I also recognize what my experience has been, recently and not-so-recently, what the experience of many others has been. Initially (i.e. a few weeks ago), as I drove around around with my windows down, I feared what would be said to me by passersby who heard mi musica, who saw my skin, who heard mi voz. …this is not okay. YET, my experiences do not come close to the actual threatening or discriminatory or racist encounters experienced by recently by so many others…].

Still, I fear and feel. Anxiety. Worry. Paranoia. Shame. Despondency. Doubt…yet, despite those unpleasant feelings and fears, I also feel a fire to do and act and move, a feeling I haven’t felt before, not like this. I tend to work mainly from a place of reflection, insight, and intuition. However, I’m trying not to ask of others what I won’t commit to doing myself. So, I am also actively working to educate myself. I hope you’ll do the same. I’ll continue to reflect and not silence my voice, like I’ve done so many times before. This time, I’ll try to be bold. More to come…

If you won’t have us…

If you won’t have us
Then you can’t have me
No “exotic” women and men
that make you weak in the knees

Not our beautiful lenguaje
You clumsily navigate with your tongue
Ni our salsa picante to flavor your food
Corn, tacos, or tortas, you should not have none

If you won’t have us
Our music and art should then not be shared
Neither Fernando Botero or David Siqueiros
Nor Frida Kahlo’s beautiful despair

No salsa, cumbia, or banda to make you move your feet
Ni tequila o aguardiente to help soothe your soul
Or our sarapes and blankets
To help you keep warm

If you won’t have us
Our inventions shouldn’t remain
Were it not for Pedro Paulet and his liquid fuel
We may not have begun our trips into space

And what would you do
without your color t.v.
Thank Guillermo González Camarena
The next time you see

So, no, you can’t have all that
if you don’t want to have us
Lo que trajo mi gente
Should then remain between us

 

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