Archive for April, 2012


The above video entitled “Discrimination PSA Light Skin vs. Dark Skin” shows how children discriminate against each other because of skin color.  The video shows two African American, dark skin girls approach a group of four light skin Latino girls who are jumping rope.  They ask if they can play with the light skin girls and the girls are turned down because they are too dark skinned.  As the black girls are walking away, the main girl who says no to the girls says “She is mad black, she is darker than that cheeseburger my father burned yesterday”.  One of the other Latina says “They just the same people just with different skin color and different hair type”.  Then another one says “Dark isn’t lovely, They is too ugly” followed by laughter of the other two.  The only one out the group who tries to diffuse their way of thinking says “Ya’ll don’t even understand my point” and they continue to jump rope.  This is a prime example of discrimination and how minorities of a lighter skin color look down on people that are darker skinned.  The girls were about twelve years old and they are using the color of a person’s skin to determine if they are worthy to fit into their clique.  There was one girl who stood up and acknowledged that her friends were being racists.  But, she continued playing with them.  This is a learned behavior, human kind is not born with racist tendencies.  As minorities we have to learn to embrace our rainbow of colors.  It starts within our community, we have to love ourselves regardless of skin color before others will.


April 21st, 2012

I am two parts/ a person


past and present

alive and oppressed

given a cultural beauty

… and robbed of cultural identity (1397)


In this passage from the poem “Here” by Sandra Maria Esteves, the poet addresses her nationality which is of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent. She speaks of being “two parts/ a person” which indicates how she is viewed within her Latino community and how she is viewed within American society.  She represents Latinos “past and present” who have dealt with the social struggles of being Latino.  Esteves speaks of her identity as a Latino dealing with “oppression”.  She is “alive”, but she is living in an oppressive environment.  The Latinos are known for having a beautiful culture but they are robbed of their identity once they immigrate to America.  Esteves is in conflict with the new “her” and the old “her”.  She craves to be one “part”which involves being socially accepted reconnecting with her cultural identity.


Everyone had Cameras

April 20th, 2012

In the critical essay “Everyone had cameras: photographers and the farm worker experience in California- a photographic essay” by Richard Steven Street speaks of the importance and impact film has had on the farm worker experience in California.  Cameras and film capture the struggle of the farm workers and their non-violent protests, marches, fasts and arrests.  Film is the best evidence for creating an impact on issues involving the human condition.  In the following passage Street discusses the photographer who waits for a critical moment:


The photographers who have worked among California farmworkers have been called the eyes of conscience, but they have also been called propagandists for hire. They have recorded life and labor in the fields, even while obscuring its harsh realities. They have probed the human condition and glorified an industry, captured tenacity, generosity, and dignity, and also recorded suffering, injustice, and violent class warfare.


Street brings focus to the importance of the photographers.  A picture says a thousand words and the photographers are usually on the front line willing to capture a moment to show the human condition.  They witness first hand and capture inspiring moments as well as moments of injustice.  The farm worker experience in California is gruesome and photography captures these moments so that the public is aware of the dark side.  But at the same time photography captures beautiful moments as well.  A freelance photographer by the name of John Krouns says that “Cesar Chavez really knew the value of photography”.  Krouns states that everyone had cameras and Chavez considered how everything would look on film.  The use of film is used to shape the visual to their advantage during the strike.  In Cesare Chavez’s “What is Democracy?”, Chavez discusses the involvement of people to achieve democracy.  Chavez states that “participation in the democratic process is a key strategy in nonviolent struggle”.  Hence, the reason Chavez appreciates and understands the value that comes with photography.  It exposes and is a part of the democratic process as well.


Street, Richard Steven. “Everyone had cameras: photographers, photography and the farmworker experience in California–a photographic essay.” California History 83.2 (2005): 8+. Academic OneFile. Web. 20 Apr. 2012.

As I watched the video “The Mexican vs. Racist Angry Minutemen”, I was disgusted by the ignorance and racism.  They told the Mexican man to go back to his country as if he did not belong here because he is from Mexican descent. Whilefilming the young man persistently asks the minutemen “Where did your ancestors come from?”  He asks this because he is trying to prove a point that he has just as much right to be in this country as the angry white minutemen does.  America is made up of the world and the many nationalities that encompass it.  The young man stood firm and did not back down or behave in a violent manner.  At one point he films a Latino woman who also protests against Mexicans living in America.  The young man shouts several times “I am indigenous to this continent” because Mexico is in North America along with the U.S.  It is so ironic that the minutemen are the ones acting like savages but they are to first to deem other minorities as savages.  In “Borderlands/La Frontera, Chapter 1”, Gloria Anzaldua sheds light on Mexicans and how they are treated as outcasts and aliens in the U.S. just as this young man is treated.


On various occasions I had been mistaken for a Jew, an Italian, a Greek, even a Hungarian; and each time I had come away feeling secretly proud of myself for having disguised my Spik accent, and with it my lineage.  I could almost feel myself melting smoothly and evenly into the great pot (1565).

In this passage From “Family Installments 7: In Black Turf” Edward Rivera speaks of being a lighter skinned Puerto Rican who is frequently mistaken as Caucasian from different countries.  But this does not bother him, because it gives him a sense of social acceptance.  Puerto Ricans range in color from white skin to very dark skin.  The darker skin Puerto Ricans deal with racial discrimination just as the minority Black race.  In the Latin community the lighter skin is idolized because they look European.  Rivera states that he feels himself “melting smoothly and evenly into the great pot”.  This simply means that he feels more socially accepted because he does not look Latino or Black.  His lineage or roots are concealed because of his appearance and this is a plus for him in American society and Puerto Rican society as well.

My parents and my grandparents, after all, had first instilled in me a sense that there was far too long a history of injustice in this society. “Only,” as my father would say later at my trial, “your mother and I never thought you would actually try to so something about it.  Not on such a scale, anyhow.” (1446).

In this passage from “La Vida Pura: A Lord of the Barrio” Pablo Guzman discusses the reaction of his family when he joins the Young Lords Organization.  Guzman’s family is exposed to the social injustices that were going on in their community but they never believed that their son would be one of the pioneers in establishing this radical movement for Latinos in New York which was an affiliation of YLO’s in Chicago.  Guzman at the tender age of nineteen had become politically involved in a revolution to fight against racial and socioeconomic oppression.  The Black Panthers and the YLO fought the same fight which was for equality and liberation.  Guzman fought along with the YLO’s for political change socially and economically.


Often when on a translating trip at the hospital or local school with my mother or a neighbor, another person—a Spanish-speaking stranger—would also require and request translating assistance.  The role as “go-between helped in my later radicalization because I got to see institutional practices up close.  I got to feel the disdain and injustices with which people, bureaucrats, and institutions responded to Puerto Ricans.  I experienced the mistreatment and humiliation (1429).

In this passage from PALANTE, SIEMPRE PALANTE! : The Young Lords –A CHILDHOOD AS “GO-BETWEEN” Iris Morales discusses her life growing up and attaining her role as translator within her family and friends.  Morales deemed herself the link between theAmerican culture and the Puerto Rican culture for her parents.  She assisted her parents as well as neighbors and strangers with translating the language.  Morales experienced first hand the social injustices that Puerto Ricans face in America.  The prejudices which Morales experience directly derive from being poor, darker skinned, and speaking a different language.  The scenes of disrespect and disgrace become implanted in a person’s psyche.  Throughout the history of the United States racist practices against minorities is not uncommon (the darker the skin the more prevalent).  Morales eventually utilize these experiences to pursue a militant civil rights movement with the Young Lord Organization to ensure that the government takes more responsibility for the living conditions and social struggles in the Latino communities.


April 20th, 2012

when I join my grandmother

for a tasa de café

and I listen to the stories

de su antepasando

her words paint materpieces

and these I hang in the galleries of my mind:


I want to be an artist like her (1414).


In this passage from “apprenticeship” Evagelina Vigil-Pinon speaks of spending quality time with her grandmother and learning of her Mexican ancestry.  The poem demonstrates two different generations where the older generation passes memorable life experiences to the younger generation.  Her grandmother’s words are so descriptive and beautiful that she compares them to artistic paint masterpieces.  The words become long lasting memories shared between family.  Pinon says “I want to be an artist like her” because she wants to convey the same stories to the next generation of her Mexican-American family.  I enjoyed this passage because it demonstrates the idea of identity.  When a person is knows their identity and ancestry it provides a sense of pride and self worth.  The passage also demonstrates an intimate scene with Pinon and her grandmother and it conveys their close knit family relationship.




A Mongo Affair

April 20th, 2012

I have to admit that he has been

lied to, misled,

that I know that all the goodies he named humiliate the receiver,

that a man is demoralized

when his woman and children

beg for weekly checks (1347).

In this passage from “A Mongo Affair” Miguel Algarin speaks of the Nuyorican who has established a life in New York from Puerto Rico.  Algarin states that Puerto Ricans come to America and they are “lied to” and “misled”.  Algarin believes that once Puerto Ricans come to America and fall into the welfare system, it only holds them down.  He calls the welfare system and all the “perks” that it encompasses as “humiliation” for the person that utilizes it.  He also uses the word “demoralized” to imply that welfare undermines a person’s confidence and goals.  The receiver becomes complacent and does not strive for more, such as education and careers.  He correlates welfare with a form of begging.  Algarin believes welfare brings about laziness in the receiver, which keeps them mentally enslaved and financially dependant on the government.


The Broken English Dream

April 20th, 2012

To the united states we came

To learn how to mispell our name

To lose the definition of pride

To have misfortune on our side

To live where rats and roaches roam

in a house that is definitely not a home (1365)

In the passage from “The Broken English Dream” Pedro Pietri illustrates the United States and the “American Dream” which many immigrants aspire to acquire while in America, as an unattainable and unrealistic goal.  Pietri states that Puerto Ricans in America deal with poverty and misfortune.  The Puerto Rican race loses all sense of pride because they come to live a life that is probably worst than the life they were living in their homeland.  All of their hopes and dreams are diminished and they live in amongst rodents because they are unable to achieve a life other than poverty.  Pietri says that they live “in a house that is definitely not a home” which implies that they are just living in a shell without any foundation or connection to the country that they reside in.  Instead of America enabling the Puerto Ricans, it has mentally disabled them.

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