By Elmer G. Roldan, @grand.supreme.chapin
This piece is about tensions between my Central American fam and our Mexican brothers and sisters.
It is inspired by Centro Americanos on social media who are saying things like, “If you ain’t down with TPS, then don’t expect us to cry about DACA” or “The Chicano old guard needs to die and they need to let new voices speak for us”, or worst yet, calling Chicanos “Shitcanos”.
First of all, shut the fuck up. Your hatred isn’t gonna fix our problems.
Read more. Stop paying attention to the tweets and posts of nationalist, sexist, elitist, and homophobic assholes whose only point of reference is their own fear and insecurity.
I get it. Many of your comments are paired with painful experiences of Mexican children (and adults) criticizing our forms of speech, culture, and countries of origin.
It happened to me. I am Guatemalan. My mom brought me here when I was nine years old. We landed in South Central and I went to LAUSD schools in the 1990’s.
One thing that I came to understand before learning English was that Mexican kids creen que ellos mandan. They wanted us to use their words, listen and dance to their music, and eat their food. They even wanted us to praise their Virgencita and saints.
So yeah, kids can be assholes and some of them are raised in xenophobic homes. You know the word xenophobia! Its an SAT word meaning bias towards people who are different.
Kinda like when Latinos don’t hire Black people because we think they’re lazy and loud. In fact, you should ask your families to clarify why they say, “Trabaje como un negro” to mean they worked really hard…. A.K.A like a slave. BUT, they also say, “Los negros son bien huevones” to mean they believe Black people don’t like to work.
But, I digress.
Some of those Mexican kids then grow up to become members of MEChA, fraternities, and other groups with nationalist values. Their campaigns of exclusivity only amplified because college can be a lonely place for people of color. So our folks tend to double down on identity politics.
That’s why I never joined MECha. Cause Mexican kids let it be known that it wasn’t for me. Maybe that’s changed now, but it wasn’t when I was a student.
What I realized was that, some of those kids didn’t have a Latino identity until they set foot in a college.
A lot of them grew up with parents who were either trying hard to assimilate or sheltered the kids from the discrimination they’d faced in this country.
All of a sudden these kids started speaking words en Español and exchanging their Gwen Stefani posters for pictures of Frida Kahlo and the Aztec calendar. So they acted extra hard to prove their Mexican-ness, which often revolved around talking shit about Central Americans and Black folks.
But, here’s where us Central Americans need to stop and reflect. Yes, our feelings and egos are hurt. But, we are also bathing ourselves in indignant holy water if we don’t stop and realize that we have our own race and class issues to deal with among our own nationalities.
Not to mention the fact that, to the Republicans (and some Democrats) we are all brown micos.
What we can’t do is stoop to the level of these muthafuckas who aggrandize themselves by picking on other people of color.
We are all in this immigration battle together and anyone making divisive statements is only playing into the same racism that’s ambushing our communities: Mexican, Central American, African, Caribbean, Asian and Middle Eastern.
This is all political.
I get it, we want our space. It’s time for the seven Central American nations to get our shine too. Plus, we’d have to make room for thirty-three countries if you wanna rep all of Latino America and the Caribbean.
But, there are different ways of doing it. Older generations have organized to carve space for all of us to exist, albeit with some major contradictions. And there are things we Centro Americanos must recognize.
Uno: Not all Mexicans hate Central Americans.
Dos: There many Mexican and Mexican-American leaders fighting to improve the quality of education for all children in America, notwithstanding national origin.
Tres: Immigration leaders like Angelica Salas of CHIRLA (a Mexican) and Martha Arevalo of CARECEN (a Salvi) aren’t sitting around discerning which immigrants come from Mexico and which ones come from other countries. They’re throwing down for all immigrants.
Follow their footsteps instead of listening to those babosos you’re following on social media.
Cuatro: Mexicans risk their freedom to help immigrants cross through Mexico and into the United States, every day. They did it with me and my family (and countless others).
Cinco: Mexican American and Mexican immigrants are not to blame for the mamadas of the Mexican government and their immigration crackdowns on Central American immigrants. Just like we can’t be blamed for the mamadas of ICE or the corrupt/inept governments in our homelands, y
Seis: This is still México. Le duela a quien le duela. There are more Mexicans here than any other Latin American nationality. And Mexican food is fucking delicious, even if some Mexican music is fucking awful.
Do we have work to do? Absolutely. Should we challenge that xenophobia? You’re goddamn skippy! But, use some finesse por favor.
To my prideful Central American people who ain’t having it, here’s my solution for you…. speak your native Spanish. Mexicans won’t understand what you’re saying. When they tell you to say chiquillo instead of patojo or cipote, just call them a maje. There you go, your petty ego is now restored!
Now turn your energy to the real threat to all of us: America’s long-standing disdain for Latinos and other marginalized communities!
Stay humble. Stay trucha. Stay united.