Short Film/Doc – Life Between Borders: Black Migrants in Mexico

Director: Ebony Bailey

Mitu did a write-up about this documentary: https://wearemitu.com/newsfeed/heres-what-its-like-to-be-a-black-migrant-in-mexico/.

If you want to skip the mini-article, here’s the video: https://vimeo.com/203384382 (there’s another one with Spanish subtitles)

Anyway! I really appreciated this documentary. It follows some recent Haitian immigrants and speaks about their stories, but it also has an interview with an immigrant from African named Amadou who arrived in the 1970s. It was cool to see the different perspectives among the black diaspora there and how they perceive their treatment in Mexico. Also, I didn’t know that Africa had had any influence in Mexican cuisine, but apparently it has had a bunch. Which would actually be a really cool thing for me to look up later. One of girls, who seemed more frustrated with how Mexico treats her, mentioned that the government covered up African contributions a lot. That reminded me of America and the contributions of every ethnic group that is not white.

I don’t have much I really want to say about the documentary, except that it introduced me to a new topic and inspired me to learn more. I mainly write these so I can remember how I feel about certain things that I’ve viewed.

Anyway, off to re-watch Get Out. Toodaloooo.

 

Poems to Keep: A Poem for Jesse Romero

by Yesika Salgado 

When they found you Jesse, I understood why you ran

who hasn’t been afraid of the cops these days?

who hasn’t panicked at the sight of their guns drawn on sight?

what brown and black boys haven’t been called weapon before being called boy?

how many mothers faces haven’t we met on the 11 o’clock news, tear streaked and tired?

 

my cousin and I drove down highland park the other day

the police had two brown boys against a fence

I said your name like a prayer, Jesse

you, the new patron saint of who we want to come home

 

I have loved so many boys like you before

beautiful brown boys with names they trusted their city to hold

their aerosol cans rattling in their pockets or backpacks

they all just wanted to live forever. I know you did too.

 

your Mami says you were a good boy

and I believe her

the city does too, Jesse

we’ve been saying your name

we’ve been asking for justice

we’ve been holding all the fourteen year old boys closer

kissing them good morning and goodnight

hoping

your face

lives somewhere amongst them now

 

I have a nephew your age

his name is Andrew

the last time I was over,

I listened as he talked about a recent trip

he hugged his mother as she walked by the couch

he let his little sister lean on his lap

 

I wanted to cry the whole time

 

Jesse,

is there a word for the grief

you feel

when all the bodies

being murdered

look like the people

you love most?

 

I don’t know the things I used to know anymore

 

all I can offer

is this poem

this votive candle

with your name

 

I’ve been told your mother is still waiting for your body

that the money isn’t enough

that she never planned to bury her son

 

and my heartbreaks all over again

 

what is the word for loving someone past

tired and murdered and angry and injustice

and helpless and tired again

so tired again

 

Jesse,

you must be that word

 

sweet boy,

you are.

 

 

 

 

It’s crazy how people are so easily convinced that there is a “war on law enforcement” but refuse to believe that there is a war on black boys.

From the start, all people needed to hear was the phrase “Black Lives Matter” to be convinced that there was a war on cops, and then they got their supposed confirmation with their one sniper attack and their one shooter.

Yet, they still remain unconvinced of that war against black/brown boys despite videos, pictures, names, statistics and facts.

They don’t see any problem unless the black boy is the problem.

It is not about bad cops and good cops.
It’s about being raised in a society that portrays black boys as the Other/as an enemy/as a threat/as dangerous and obviously having people who are products of being brought up with the message constantly portrayed to them.

The cops who continue to believe that narrative of the dangerous black man are not always full-out racists. But they are the product of a racist society. And until we acknowledge that problem, we get nowhere.

Also, friendly reminder of this: Were any of y’all scared when you saw (if you saw) the all-white “militia” who was occupying a federal building with all their guns ready at hand? Did you even perceive them to be a threat? No? Exactly. Neither did I.

Be honest with yourself.
How many times have you been afraid of a black man? When you think of the scary members of society, who do you think of? And yo- I’m not judging you for your answers. I’m just saying the problem, and there is a problem, is a lot bigger than individuals. It is our society, and the images that we’re fed continually. And there is a history to this. There always is.
It is not just all of sudden that we are scared of black people- but not “those” black people, the “other” black people, as someone so eloquently told me once.

Really- almost any of us could be a member of law enforcement who uses excessive force against minorities disproportionately.
We all grew up here.
It’s up to you and all of us to challenge what is in your heart and dismantle any biases that you might have.
Y’all are the next CEOs, people in the entertainment industry, future police officers, and leaders of different corporations. Racism didn’t go anywhere among millennials. It’s still very prevalent. So challenge your heart. And if someone is telling you that something you said was racist, try being empathetic and actually listening to them before discrediting what they say.

Everyone wants to critique the media, right? Whether it’s conservative or liberal?
So, how about we start by stop letting them shape our perceptions of people? And let’s go a step further by not taking individuals to represent a whole group- if a black person, immigrant, person from the middle east, or white person has ever done you wrong, it is ignorant to let them stand for the rest of their group. That’s one person.

Seriously, y’all. Let’s stop blindly defending any and all institutions that we were taught to respect. Their ideals may be lofty and their mission might be respectable, but to critique something or point out systemic issues in its operations is not to hate the institution. But if someone does hate an institution that continually disadvantages them, you need to let them have their emotion and work with them to remedy the issue so that they hate it no longer. Think about it- if there is a person who has continually demeaned you, how much do you really like them?

Again, I ask y’all to examine how easily you were convinced of a “war” on law enforcement vs. how you’re still not convinced of a “war” on black boys. If it is about evidence, there is more for the latter.

Maybe we just need better education of all of our histories and for our American history textbooks to be honest as to the extent of slavery, Jim Crow, economic disparities and other realities.
We get a lot of facts but not a lot of context and not a lot of why and not a lot of history.
‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ is bigger than this moment.
It goes from when we were considered property and subhuman to now when we’re still considered one-sided, violent, subhuman still, and a joke. S/o Kelly peeps who laughed every time a black person came on Channel One. S/o to everyone who laughed so hard any time the black man in Purge: Election Year said anything.

It goes to all the people who think removing someone’s “blackness” is a compliment, to people who compliment people on how mixed they look, to people who have interacted with black girls and boys and yet still somehow believed all the negative or positive stereotypes.

It goes to deflections about black on black crime without seeing that white on white crime is a thing too (most people kill other people of their own ethnicity). Honestly, that’s one of the most offensive deflections. It’s saying, “oh they kill each other, so why does it matter to them if we kill them too?” Check yourself, cause you kill one another too. And also check yourself if you think the black community doesn’t deal with other issues too. We can discuss more than one thing at a time. We got it, boo.

It goes to denoting a table the “black table” without noticing that there’s plenty of all white tables nearby.

It goes to applauding the families of last year’s church massacre for the forgiving way in which they responded and for “showing reason”.

It goes to continually denying there’s a problem until white people acknowledge there’s a problem too, and then it’s “oh, well, I guess there might be.”

And again, it’s still needing more evidence and more bodies to convince you something is wrong in the way law enforcement (as a product of our society) deals with the black population, yet being convinced from the beginning of a hashtag and one attack by one sniper that there is a war on cops.

But aye, I understand, we’re so violent, so unreasonable, so dangerous- what more would you need?

If you want to educate yourself on any of these issues, because the US education system won’t do it for you, take an African American Studies class, take a Chicanx Studies class, take Asian American- Pacific Islander Studies. If your school doesn’t offer them, the library of novels, poems, songs, film talking about perception, media, police, being x minority in America, goes back to the “founding” of this nation. I know you can find them. Check out a museum. Check out articles on line. Check out academic journals, theses, and speeches. Read more of MLK’s work beyond the I Have A Dream Speech. Read some Malcolm X. Talk to your friends. Build up your own repertoire of information.

But beyond any of that, please consider that nothing is as it seems on the surface. Nothing is that simple. Critically examine anything and everything, until you get tired of thinking. Then take a break, and think again. And look again. And dissect every little thing. We don’t just live in this moment. We live in all of the ones that came before us, and plenty of those moments showed the ugliest side of humanity imaginable. It carries.

Peace.

Also- I do not feel the need to respond to any of you, especially if you respond like a jerk. Yes, maybe conversations are good to have. But if you don’t get it, it’s not my job to make you get it. Someone else can handle it.

*originally posted on Facebook*

Brexit

2016 is like God’s own reality show. Or maybe the Devil’s. Who knows. But for millennials, we haven’t really seen anything like this before.

So let’s talk about Brexit.

It made me really anxious and sad. Had I heard about this campaign until the past few days? Nope. But- regardless, from the articles I’ve read, it seems as if the Brexit advocators were most upset over the EU’s immigration policies. Obviously, the Brexit peeps remind me of Trump supporters in the US. It seems as if their concern was nativist/xenophobic/based in thinking the immigrants were going to ruin their economy (when immigrants actually boost the economy, at least in the US). So, if I had gotten a vote, I would have voted to stay in.

Britain has this reputation of being the rational parent of the United States. Brexit basically rubs me as a hot-tempered cousin of the US.

The negative effects of leaving the European Union have already started to show themselves, or will soon. Whether it’s for the economy, the pound, the film industry, or any other industry.

But I’m pretty proud of my friends and I for actually knowing what’s going on somewhere else in the world.

It’s crazy though- with the amount of news that circulates in a day, things can seem not so important. You hear the news, relate what happened, and move on. But the UK leaving the EU, that’s a hugeeeee deal.

And a very bad move.  #ImWithIn

(and Scotland should rejoin the EU)