Monday, March 10, 2008

Can Blacks and Hispanics Get Along?

Wassup, Y'all!

It's not quite West Side Story with the Jets (northsiders) and the Sharks (westsiders) (particularly since they wrote the southside Crunks gang out of both the Broadway and film versions of the story...), but with the clear division of Democratic political affection apparent in the Smooth Barack / Sister Hillary race, ol Ty is detectin' an uptick in the southside / westside Animosity Meter. In recent days that bad boy has been clickin' like a Geiger Counter at Chernobyl. For sure, the Democratic Presidential race didn't start that pot simmering but recent events have definitely turned up the heat...

Pressure valves have been slowly opening on this for a while now and there's plenty of blame to go around. By far the largest of those is the displacement of the southside nation as the country's largest minority by our westside homeys. Power shifts are never easy on the displaced party be it politically (Bill Clinton out, G-Dub in), culturally (westsiders in, southsiders out) or in-house (Obama in, Jesse, Al and the rest of the old guard civil rights leaders out) so the environment, by its very nature, starts out tense.

Add to that suspicion and fear that job and advancement opportunities will be siphoned away effectin' your paper and your ability to provide and you start to hear the steam pipes rumblin'. Add to that southsider's overwhelming support for Smooth Barack and westsider's similar sentiment for Sister Hillary and you start to feel the steam pipes rattlin'.

Prior to the Texas Primary, old school Adelfa Callejo, an 84 year-old Dallas lawyer and civil rights activist, spoke her mind and provided a glimpse into some hard westside feelins that also factor into this. She said, "when the blacks had the numbers, they never did anything to support us. ... There's a lot of hurt feelings about that. And I don't think we're going to get over it anytime soon." And there's the rub, y'all. I can't say that I disagree with this sentiment, though I think the primary reason for this was our focus on bringin' our own issues to the table to get them addressed, but it's also true that many of our issues transcend just the southside nation and apply equally to westsiders, eastsiders and othersiders - things like fair and equal access to higher education and jobs for instance. Our unfounded fear was that by being inclusive and providin' access to other sides, the message would get fractured, diluted and ultimately ignored.

Still I can see how hard feelin's can linger and how this will continue to linger until a democratic nominee is selected, but it damn sure shouldn't stop us from comin' together in the fall to support a common Democratic candidate, particularly if that candidate happens to be Smooth Barack. Now if it turns out that Smooth is the nominee and our westside homeys decide to switch their vote to John Sidney McCain because, as Ms. Callejo puts it, "Obama simply has a problem that he happens to be black", then we'll clearly have bigger fish to fry on this issue.

But I don't see it comin' to that point, y'all. We have more in common than we think. Fried catfish and empanadas never hurt anybody. Reggeton is good because it mixes the best of both worlds on top of thumpin' a$$ beats. We can get along, express our differences and work together on this - everybody just slow your roll.

Now I know some of you are sayin', 'No we can't', but as Smooth always says, 'Si se puede'!



No comments: