Monday, June 8, 2020

Racism in other communities



My daughter used to volunteer teaching English to refugees in Vancouver. She is fluent in Spanish and has visited Colombia and Honduras many times. One time there was a refugee family from Colombia and Honduras with two young children that needed a place to stay so they stayed with us until they could get housing. They both had green cards in the US and had been working in Texas but Trump revoked their green cards so they came to Canada with their two adorable young children homeless. In Texas they owned a home, rented a bouncy castle for their young daughter's birthday and both had jobs. They came to Canada with nothing.

The father was Black and the mother was Latino. I didn't know what race they were before they arrived and when I saw the father inside the doorway of our home he looked at me with anticipation in his eyes wondering how he would be received. I took one look at him, smiled and said out loud que pasa parcero? Which means what's up homeboy in Colombian Spanish. He took one look at me as if to say, I can't believe a white guy just called me parcero.

The father had to leave Colombia because FARC murdered his brother. He fled to Honduras, met his wife and together they fled to Mexico. Tragically the mother explained her husband faced severe racism in Mexico. She said they'd be walking down the street and people would attack him physically. I was shocked to hear that. It appears that Mexico has a problem with racism.

Here we would go to the supermarket and black guys would some up to him, shake his hand and say it's really nice to see you. I joked and said, see, here you're a celebrity.

I have a friend in Canada who is Latino and described to me an experience he had several years ago in LA. He and his friend were in a black area. A woman told him they had to leave. What do you mean he asked? Then he saw that they were surrounded by an angry mob of black youth. This was two Hispanic guys surrounded by a mob of Black guys. My friend said that he bowed his head and closed his eyes bracing for the beating of his life. At that point he felt the wind rush up from under him. He opened his eyes and looked up. A police helicopter spotted the mob and was hovering above them which dispersed the mob and saved his life.

LA was different than New York. When I was in New York there was none of that. Most of the guys in the group were Black or Hispanic and they certainly got alone well with each other. The Hispanic guys there were mostly from Puerto Rico. I had no problem. We would walk from Harlem over to Spanish Harlem and there was no racial tension. In fact Tupac sang about the good times he had walking over to Spanish Harlem in New York. LA was much more racial. That Rodney King beating was nasty and apparently exemplified the tensions that existed at that time.

My point here is simply that all racism is bad and we have to be honest about what is and isn't going on. We also need to be mindful of stereotypes which are promoted to fit political agendas. ANTIFA claims everyone who isn't Communist is a racist and a Fascist and that is ridiculous.

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