Friday, October 12, 2018

Día de la Raza, Part 2

Su sangre es del color de un nuevo amanecer.
The civil observance of what Americans call Columbus Day was this past Monday. But we all know that today is the day Columbus supposedly "discovered" America. As I said on Monday, Latin Americans don't celebrate Columbus' discovery of a land that had already been inhabited by humans for thousands of years, but the people that came together on that day. To celebrate the civil observance, I posted Ekhymosis' Raza: "Blanco, negro, mestizo, indio y mulato es igual."

Today, on October 12, I'm sharing a different take on the same theme. Bacilos' Cuestión de Madera has long been a favorite song of mine, and as its writer and lead singer states in his introduction during this live performance in Italy, it's about racism not against Latin Americans, but among Latin Americans. It opens (1:04) by telling the story in the first person of entering a restaurant: 
After waiting quite a while, "What is it you desire, sir?"
"Hmph. What am I going to desire?" I think (sarcastically).
"A table near the balcony."
"But that's only possible if you're going to eat."
Poor waiter. In reality, he sees his own reflection in my skin, and I lose value. It's the same old story of this colonial world—
"This way, boss. What can I get for you today?"

The song continues (1:42): 

And down through so many years this is how so much mediocrity is making us live our lives according to the confused model of a Europe that can never exist here. 

The best line in the song comes later (2:49): 
That waiter will never understand, never comprehend that his blood is the color of a new day dawning.

I'm not Latino, but I appreciate Latin music. This song by Bacilos is an excellent example of the depth of poetry and social responsibility that can be found in so much Latin music—even Latin pop. And as people of European blood think about race, we should remember the racism we've inflicted on other peoples not only effects the way we deal with them, but even the way they deal with each other.
jorge villamizar • bacilos • cuestión de madera

No comments:

Post a Comment