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Machete vs SB1070

I enjoy seeing popular entertainment take a stand against injustice.

Last week, Robert Rodriguez released a mock trailer for his upcoming “Mexploitation” film, Machete, and aimed it directly at the home state of SB1070.

One thing that popped out at me was the Jessica Alba  line near the end:

“We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.”

It also struck a chord with a lot of Spanish-language media. And that was perhaps because it sounded like a line from a 2001 Los Tigeres Del Norte song, “Somos Mas Americanos“.

“Yo no cruce la frontera, la frontera me cruzó”

Here are the translated lyrics to the song.

Of course, me…I immediatley thought of  the Malcolm X line:

We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, the rock was landed on us.”

You can see it below. As you do, think of what’s going on in Arizona, and the plight of poor people who go there for work, for better opportunities; and then think about what SB1070 is trying to do. Reminds you a little of Jim Crow. Doesn’t it?

Here’s the Denzel version (starts at 07:18-07:32)

Shouts to Cypress Hill for cancelling their May 21 show in Tuscon in protest.

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Google Video pick of the week #008

This week´s clip comes via one of the greatest comedic writers of his generation, Paul Mooney.  ¨Jesus Is Black¨ (2007), kicks off its first 10 minutes with ruminations on Mexicans and illegal immigration in California. Funny stuff.

Mooney might lean heavy on his use of the ¨N¨ word,  and makes harsh assessments of race in America his calling card. Still, you have to respect him, because he´s an uncompromised comedic force, who hasn´t been made soft by Disney movies and Hollywood contracts.

For the uninitiated, he may be hard to stomach. Sure, he´s racist, but there´s no denying some of the stinging truths in his work.

You can find  tons of video of Mooney´s work online. From his earlier days writing jokes for Richard Pryor, to clips of his hilarious creations on Dave Chappelle´s show.

Pryor  goes in on Paul around the 5:34 mark of this clip from a comedy roast.  Ending his session by calling Mooney a ¨brilliant writer¨.

¨Brilliant¨ doesn´t seem like an overstatement either, when you consider that Mooney is the man who created Homey D.  Clown.

Post-race in the Americas

In the week before Obama won his presidency, this guy on a Mexico City roof, above, thought up a great costume for a Day of the Dead party. There were only a handful of people who gave this get-up any pause.

There are a lot of complicated reasons, which I hope to explore throughout various blog posts, why many intelligent people in this country don’t see anything wrong with blackface, or deny racism exists here. As a person whose mother is from South America, and father from Prince Street in Newark, I’m always interested in how Black Latinos view themselves in the context of Spanish-speaking culture, and how those cultures in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Spain, view people who are Black.

This 2005 piece from the Boston Review, raises the race issue, starting with the Vicente Fox speech that said Mexicans grind doing the types of work not even Black folks want to do. That, along with the federal government nearly making a postal stamp with this character’s mug on it, brought international attention to Mexico’s apparent culture of racism (which really isn’t that different from what still exists in the U.S., we just hide it way better).

“Criticism of race relations and racism in Brazil, Mexico, the Andes, the Caribbean, and Central America has developed as a natural extension of multiculturalism and identity politics in the United States, and many studies describe persistent racial inequalities masked by the idea of racial democracy.

This criticism and research has, in turn, fed discussions of race in Latin America, albeit in an attenuated manner: Brazil has had its own proponents of “black power,” and racism against Indians has become a theme in Mexican social movements.

Because these challenges are difficult to reconcile with Mexico’s 80-year-old ideology of national integration, they are often downplayed in public debate—as if Mexican racism had long been taken care of, and as if whatever remains of it were somehow less harmful because things are worse in the United States.”

Check out more on the topic, here.

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