Friday, September 29, 2023

A reflection of a party in New York

Because we like gossip and don’t like racism, here’s a quick timeline and some other information. A few days ago, I was in a group of, as Shakira would say, “my Latin people,” a group of friends of those who are enough It was a short time before they opened the doors of their home to you and, like me, left their country: Colombia, Honduras, Peru, Mexico, and more, each the owner of his own story in New York.

We celebrated the birthdays of some of them, and it was a great evening full of fun, dancing, and anecdotes until… let’s call her Isabel, to make it a bit historical, arrived. Isabel, “well” dressed, tall, thin, blonde, and above all white, arrived after her loss by chance and accident, missing only the Pinta, the Nia, and the Santa Mara. He told us it was in a very ugly area nearby; strange! All of us who were there lived in the area, but of course our definitions of beauty and danger are not the same, something like when someone from Santa Fe arrives in Guerrero. Oh no, what a horror!

I swear to you that he was greeted with appreciation on that terrace even without an invitation, so it warms him, and it makes me think of the look over his shoulder with which he arrived. I, like everyone else, have had many unpleasant parties, but this was something different. And yes, I started off somewhat ironically because we talk a lot about colonialism as if it had already ended and we were just living its legacy, but modern colonialism exists, and that day I saw it. It may seem like an exaggeration; perhaps it was just a thumbs up at an event where it wasn’t right, but perhaps that is the most powerful weapon, that of subtlety. I’m not saying that Isabel intentionally presented herself as “let’s colonize this Peda,” firstly because I won’t give her much wisdom, but mostly because we need to talk about the racism-based structures that are at work As already naturalized organisms.

David Silva said in “Backs Wet”, a film that meant so much in 1955 given the waves of migration from Mexico to the United States (US), “there is no one in the world who leaves their country for pleasure and stuff.” Those who go to the other side are starving. ) Thousands and thousands want to be here, to live with their families, to be able to work here”; Almost 70 years have passed since this dialoguue and it still hurts because it is still the reality of thousands, but it also has great inaccuracies because not everyone comes to their country with the same history and certainly not with the same privileges.

I’m telling you this because, before you continue with the story, you need to know that 23% of the migrant population in the United States, according to studies by the Institute for Migration Policy (MPI), is the undocumented population, while only 5% are in-state non-immigrants, that is, they have permission to stay temporarily with a visa that allows them to work, study, or visit for a certain period of time. It’s relevant because we might think that Isabel is a non-immigrant; he would feel familiar with those who shared their space because he simply understood what it meant to leave his country, but the opposite was true. It made it very clear to me that there are those who see spaces as a means of survival through creating community, while others see them as an object to be owned.

This is the relationship that colonialism has with the verb “to earn.” Not all of us feel this way, because while there are those who change countries to improve their reality up close, there are those who do it because they feel they deserve it because they feel like they’ve already worked for it. It’s not enough just because you have a higher academic or professional degree. Wow, just because you have the privilege For this reason, I am not surprised at the commanding voice with which she felt free, of course, to order who had to go with her that evening! Who here would dare tell her that she was not a “good girl”? It seems daring to me, but it’s not uncommon.

We could well look at Homi K. Bhabha, who offers us a very accurate perspective on colonialism by defining it as a process of “cultural hybridization”, that is, when colonial cultures become colonized, people interact and mix, creating new ones Identities and cultural expressions arise, but always out of the power relationship. This idea is fundamental for me to understand current social behavior because colonization is not a process that follows a direct line but rather complex cultural interactions that we can find at different levels, around the little ones, and that should not be ignored. Today they are apparently less pronounced, but their effect is much more structural.
I keep telling you that she was offended that the men on the scene didn’t give her the attention she intended; she wanted to manipulate the situation and construct a narrative that would put her at the center of the conversation, as she claimed those present tried to flirt with her in a disrespectful way. Of course, at the risk of denouncing white feminists, I don’t believe him.

There is a historical legacy of accusations of racism. You don’t have to be an expert to know which person looks the “worst”. Just ask yourself: Who gets checked first in a store? A white girl or a dark-skinned migrant child? Who would the police approach first? A white girl or a dark-skinned migrant child? Who would they believe first? A white girl or a dark-skinned child? And a migrant?

I don’t want to bully anyone with this story, but attempting to control the narrative in this way seems grotesque to me. Franz Fanon, a survivor of French oppression in Algeria, famously stated: “Colonization is not only the expropriation of land and economic exploitation, but also the dehumanization of the colonized person.” His definition is precise because it focuses on how how colonialism affects the social psychology and thus the identity of the colonized people and constructs narratives in which poor or racialized populations are interpreted as barbarism while whiteness is interpreted as barbarism

This is important to me because it is not against or about Isabel; It is what makes her make decisions against it; it is what makes her feel not only superior but also that she can hurt, because it is enough to change the balance of power in this or another Identify scenario to feel that privilege legitimizes your violence.

When we talk about community and resistance, I think we are also talking about encounters, entertainment spaces, the right to have fun, and spaces for consumption and entrepreneurship. This situation reminded me very much of a text by my beloved Otto Castillo, in which he said: “The Santis tried to bring us down again, but they couldn’t; they couldn’t stand it. (…) We didn’t want to let it happen.” In that moment, our dance was a claim, a claim to a space that was no longer ours and that, for that moment, became ours again.”
The violence faced by divided groups manifests itself in various ways, with people like “Isabel” attempting to take over territory that does not belong to them. In the end, yes, she got away with her Uber and her ego, but that doesn’t take away her actions and intentions, the excessive arrogance of the feeling that everything can be yours—today it can be a party or the complete gentrification of countless areas—because that’s what modern colonialism looks like.
The defense of an entertainment area can be transformed into an act of resistance. The fight against modern colonialism is not limited to political speeches or demonstrations; it is also manifested in moments of celebration and in the reaffirmation of cultural identity.
The violence associated with colonization is counteracted when racialized communities appropriate the spaces taken from them and transform them into sites of resistance.
Whiteness and its behavior illustrate the persistence of colonial attitudes rooted in today’s society, where privilege and perceptions of merit perpetuate inequalities and power relations. This happens especially
This becomes clear when one faces the world from the position of a migrant. Ultimately, what is needed is not a state but a community, because a space can represent a lot, from an entire continent to the terrace of a party on a Saturday evening.


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