Wednesday, December 26, 2018

I love brown people

I took this picture months ago at my local Pavilions supermarket. It was about lunchtime and this mariachi band was on break enjoying the latest in Asian cuisine from Panda Express.

"Este es Kung Pao Pollo es muy bueno."

"Me gusta los lo mein noodles."

"Que dice su cookie de fortuna?"

I love that the band shared in the irony and so willingly let me photograph them. I also love how this one shot so captures the blending of cultures that define American Exceptionalism.

At least until now.

Because as I write this, the government is still shutdown until a great big beautiful Wall is built on the southern border.

Oh, and it's Christmas morning, and the nation's faithful are basking in the warm, loving words of scripture while simultaneously tithing their paychecks to fund the Wall and angrily demand that we not only deny entrance to these poor, brown refugees (fellow Christians by the way) but that we snatch up their children and lock them away in camps.


When Precedent Shitgibbon kicked off his campaign he said, "Mexico is sending us criminals, rapists and drug dealers. And some, I assume, are fine people."

I've had the good fortune to meet only the fine people.

When I moved to Southern California, I got work as a head cook and kitchen manager at a local steakhouse. The guys at the back of the house taught me Kitchen Spanish. We would curse at each like drunken sailors. And laugh just as loud. Valentino, the sous chef, taught me how to roast a whole pig, which we served at catered events, mostly wrap parties for movies. These guys were skinny, wiry, and hummingbird quick. Moreover, they worked harder than any white man or woman I've ever met. If you ask me, this country needs more of these people not less.

Years ago, while employed at my first ad agency, I was invited to an authentic Mexican wedding in Pacoima. There were more than 500 attendees. The affair dwarfed anything I've ever seen in New Jersey or New York.  I hate to make sweeping generalizations like Captain Fuckknuckle, but from what I could tell these were hardworking, joyous people who were contributing to and were part of the American dream. (Though I was not fond of the cash bar and dropped a C-note before it was over.)

Finally, I'm taking the advice of my two woke daughters and not mentioning the many gardeners and nannies we've had over the years. But instead broadening the discussion to cover the whole of Southern California which is now close to 50% Hispanic. Some, find that alarming. I find it comforting and count many Hispanic people among my friends and neighbors.

Therein lies the difference.

I see them as people.
The folks sporting the red golf caps see them as something less.

Perhaps, on this fine Christmas morning, they need to be reminded of other poor, brown people who only wanted a better life for their children.

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