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View Diary: Black Kos, Tuesday's Chile (113 comments)

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  •  Hello Porch (27+ / 0-)

    As usual, I hope that life is being good to, and for, everyone.

    Today is one of those days that started out great then I hit the "I don't feel well at all" wall at work and decided to come work from home.  Yuck.  I feel like crap inside (tummy troubles) and I'm tired as all-get-all. I wish I could whine in earnest, but was told that there would be days like this for a while so I really can't.

    Great, comprehensive Tuesday's Chile today. Thank you especially for the lead story. We're going to have to start addressing this sometime, or true coalition will quickly become a myth. One of the most painful times in my entire legal career was when I was running a legal services non-profit in our city, which when I moved here was 75+% Black but now is 60% Latino immigrant. At our nonprofit legal office, I agreed as the Executive Director to host parent meetings for Latino parents whose kids were being systematically pushed out of the local school district (same as Black kids) by the usual methods.  I helped write the know your rights materials with my colleague (who was the Education Attorneys). I agreed to have our organization pay for dinner for these meetings, since working parents could only meet after the day had ended. I reached out and secured commercial pro-bono counsel for what we believed then would be the inevitable litigation.

    On the date of the inaugural meeting, I came down from my office as parents were arriving. My colleague introduced me as the ED and I had on my most welcoming smile.  I couldn't stay for the meeting itself because I had young kids at home waiting so after meeting folks I headed out down the porch steps (we were located in a turn-of-the-century large house) and overheard three parents discussing, in animated how they hoped the "negrita" wasn't going to stand in their way and how probably they weren't going to get help and how she had no business here and how could they trust that the law organization was really going to help their kids.

    Of course, the only "Negrita" there that day -- one who understands Spanish perfectly, btw--was me.

    It actually hurt pretty bad. I'd gone over and above what is required for a law firm for their benefit, and all they could see that I was the "Black" and therefore by definition not to be trusted.

    Since then, I've had quite a few instances like this, although thankfully only one other time in a professional context (Despite busting my ass for a family trying to get their status normalized all they could see and appreciate was the white person I was training, and it was obvious I was the lawyer in charge since I'd both told the clients and since I was making the strategic decisions right in front of them.  Even after we got the entire family green card status despite being undocumented. They even invited the other attorney over for a barbecue at their house--with no mention of it to me.)

    We never talk about this stuff. We never talk about Los Angeles, for example, and the conflicts.  We simply pretend that Latinos can't be as racist as whites vis a vis Blacks (and vice versa--the stuff I grew up hearing in the Black community about Puerto Ricans was legion.) Thus, we never resolve it, and have a much harder time building real solidarity because of it.

    On the second story that caught my eye today, about the possibility of a constitutional right to vote, I am actually meeting with activists here on Thursday to begin discussing in earnest what a coalition of organizations of color has been meeting to strategize about ever since Shelby County v. Holder came down: a constitutional amendment securing the right to vote. We already know it's a years' long effort--all constitutional amendments are. But we are all also committed to the long game even if it takes a decade (and it well might, since it will require persuading the larger culture despite the effectiveness of the right-wing noise machine state by state.) But one has to start somewhere, and we've decided that we're at least going to get started.

    Hope everyone is having a good Tuesday.

    •  thanks for sharing that painful story Sis (16+ / 0-)

      we don't talk about it - much - but we need to.  

      We made headway here in the late 60's and 70's in the NY Puerto Rican community, but we have to start from scratch as other waves are coming in.

      I was glad to see the City councilwoman step up in NY - she is afro-Dominican.

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 01:37:39 PM PDT

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    •  Also want to add my thanks for sharing that. (7+ / 0-)

      -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

      by dopper0189 on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 02:55:16 PM PDT

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    •  Wow! Thai is some story. (5+ / 0-)

      That must still hurt shanikka.

      As to the tummy troubles, hang in there, it does take awhile after surgery and anesthesia for your body to sort itself out. But you are always allowed to whine about it.

      What you went through was major and the repercussions take awhile. After all your body was assaulted in extreme ways, and it's trying to figure that out.

      I've had more than my share of GI surgery and patience is just part of the surgery, one the doctors never tell you about!

      Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace. ~ Ulysses S Grant

      by vcmvo2 on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 03:43:22 PM PDT

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    •  Wow! Two amazing personal stories in one diary, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Denise Oliver Velez, shanikka

      and a topic that is very sad: Hispanic racism against African Americans.  I am a white son of Cuban immigrants and there was (and unfortunately still exists among too many) a very entrenched and overt racism that no one thought twice about. I grew up in Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans come in many colors, from whiter than me (and that is pretty pale) to black as a squid ink - and everything in between. In many ways Puerto Ricans were better integrated (at least more than the Cubans that left before 1961) and, on the surface, less racist.  Yet I learned by the time I was 10-11 that many Puerto Ricans considered themselves superior to "los negros."

      My mom died to young to have a chance to come around (and perhaps she never would have), but I saw a transformation in my dad from a racist to a person aware of race but no longer considering himself different as a person from Black people. (He came around on many things and even accepted my baby brothers homosexuality and welcomed "Charlie" just like any other member of the family.) For a person born in 1924 and raised in Cuba that is very far to come.

      Sadly I still have some cousins and an aunt that are horribly racist.  Many of them were already Republicans, so hearing them badmouth a Democrat president was very commonplace - yet their hatred for Obama (most in my extended family are convinced that it is because of the color of his skin) is just about as bad as the hatred they had for Janet Reno when she returned Elian Gonzalez to Cuba (and that is saying a lot). Another (86 year old) aunt adores Obama and Michelle and has a framed portrait of them at the kitchen table where we gather in their apartment. At a family gathering last year the racists were going on and on about Obama and my aunt just stood up told them all they were just racists, but she saved her worst for my lesbian cousin and told her "your racism is ugly, but the fact that you are against a President that takes care of your 'group' and favor Republican homophobic bigots tells me that you are also stupid."  The topic never came up again (although I am sure that the racist clique still do so among themselves, at least we don't have to listen to it in extended family gatherings). Why were my father, my amazing aunt and most of my extended family able to come around, but others were left behind in their ignorance? I guess humans are all different and human nature (the beauty and the ugliness) can go one way or the other.

      As far as you being called "negrita," I believe that you're right that it exposed their racism (I wish it were the very kind negrita that you might hear in PR when talking directly to a person that you like, even if their skin is lighter than yours, but that is more often than not in a situation where both people are very comfortable with each other). So many idiots (just look at any Trayvon Martin story on Yahoo News) say: Zimmerman cannot be a racist - he's Hispanic, as if that made anyone immune to being a racist and a bigot. Hispanic is not a race (here I am preaching to the choir), but we have suffered similar discrimination as African Americans (especially Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans) and it is hard to fathom that someone that has been discriminated against can turn around and do the same to others. The human condition can be sad many times and it does not have to be one person of color against another - here in Boston the Irish were dumped on when they came over after the potato famine.  The Irish were treated like trash, but a few years later when Italian immigrants came they were dumped on and the worst offenders were the Irish.  

      In spite of how sad that is, I am hopeful that my kids are definitely growing up in a better environment where bigotry (at least in our circles) is heavily frowned upon. They cannot understand why our lesbian friends (that are married and have kids) would be treated differently - I told them a lot when the SCOTUS killed FISA, and they cannot understand why anyone would be discriminated against because of the color of their skin. I realize that what my kids are experiencing is not the norm in our Country, but we have to educate the bigots one at a time and learn to leave them behind sometimes.

      Sorry for getting so wordy.

      Happy Tuesday to all!

      •  thank you so much - con abrazos (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DefendOurConstitution, shanikka

        for sharing your family history and perspectives.

        sigh - Elian Gonzalez was a real bone of contention in my Miami Cuban religious family - the rants and the racism they spewed daily made it so uncomfortable for me I could barely maintain a modicum of "respect" for my elders.

        Do not apologize for the length of your comment.  I hope you will do a diary on all this one day.

         

        Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

        by Denise Oliver Velez on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 02:46:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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