Nov 21, 2006

Mexicanos Unidos

Mexicans: tall, short, lanky, bearded, dark, blond, squat, skinny, wavy, pudgy, fit. How many times have i gotten the "you're Mexican?" Mostly it comes from people who have a notion of what Mexicans look like from the Mexicans they encounter--in New York, they're from Puebla, so they have a certain set of characteristics they've maintained from their indigenous ancestors. Yet the Homies, a Northern California pop-cultural creation based on Mexican stereotypes (or should i say archetypes?) , look generally pretty different than the people of Puebla.

Class divisions are strong in Mexico. In the US we have the luxury of forgetting this, realizing it's a much more powerful tool to unite with all Mexicanos--and Central and Latin Americans, and the oppressed black populations, and the Hmong people of Northern California, and hell, why not even some disenfranchised white folks while we're at it? But in Mexico, it's back to that old racist shit: the lighter one is, the more likely it is you're simply not living in poverty. Just look at the soap operas.

Nov 20, 2006

Dia de la Revolucion, o la Perrada

Of all places to go on November 20th, I end up at Zapo-Poom, a "carnival" organized, seemingly, by a group of investors, corporations, or both. The whole experience is marked by the crisp white tents housing "exhibits," markets, restaurants, small dance venues: a showroom for new Dodge trucks, a room containing miniature models of Mexico's biggest tourist sites, a Chivas exhibit showcasing the new stadium still in the works, a "flea-market". A schedule of the nightly performers tells me i just missed Maria Daniela y su Sonido Laser the night before! It's Mexican culture enveloped, masked, by whiteness, and with the undeniable sense of making you want things. It's the whiteness of corporations: New!ness, Stability, Safety, Control.

When deciding where to eat, we have basically a couple of options--a row of tents down the carnival's main drag, featuring restaurants with outdoor seating, menus, waitstaff, etc, and a single large pavilion where you have a bunch of taco stands to order from. We choose the larger tent with various food stalls. “Vamonos aca, con la Perrada,” says my cousin Taquin.