It has always amazed me how many Hispanic people do not know their history. I recall talking to one affluent man from Mexico City one time. Surely I thought he would know some of his ethnic history but to my surprise he knew very little about it. I began to tell him of the Aztecs (Azteca) and how they forged a vast empire and culture. He was shocked! Shocked? What truly shocked him is when he discovered he was born in the very place where the capital of the Aztecs once stood, Mexico City, and he had no idea where he was even from. That shocked me!
Of course he knew all about the Alamo in Texas and Generalissimo Santa Ana and that was because his parent brought him to Texas when he was a young boy and that is where he was predominately raised. He knew Texas history but knew nothing of his own Hispanic history. So I gave him a short history lesson and he sat in awe of what I told him. I told him of the first and second Mexican Empire, about Pancho Villa, and Bolivar. We talked about the Batalla de Puebla (Battle of Puebla) which is commemorated on Cinco de Mayo and we discussed the Mexican-American War. I told him about some of the great Mexican generals and statesmen and of Cortez and the Spaniards. When I was finished talking with him he had a pretty good idea of some of his cultural history and that made me feel good because the Hispanic people need to know their history and hold their heads high.
Over the years I have not been unable to notice that in many Hispanic people there is a lack of cultural pride. It is as if there is some sort of cultural low self esteem among us. Why do we not know our history which is grand? Why are we not proud? Why do some of us feel inferior to other ethnic groups in the world? We should know our history. We should be proud. And we should not feel inferior to anyone!
I have often thought that in many ways the Hispanic people suffer from some sort of generalized cultural depression. Our cultural low self esteem is included as a part of that in my estimation. I think some of that cultural depression comes from Hispanic people often comparing themselves to others and that is a very big mistake. Any time we compare ourselves to someone else we always come up on the short end of the stick because we can always find something that falls short within ourselves. It really is not a good idea nor is it conducive to our mental health or cultural health to compare ourselves to others.
There are many Hispanic people in the world who are poor and there are many Hispanic people who are not educated enough. This must absolutely change! Hispanics must value education and Hispanics must pull themselves up out of poverty. No one is going to do it for them. They must do this themselves! And the Hispanic people can do this because I know that the Hispanic people are a strong people. How do I know that? Because I know Hispanic history. The history of the people!
Allow me to be upfront in this writing. Many of us know discrimination far too well and it is just not we Hispanics but all other ethnic groups too. Discrimination and racial hatred is something that is color blind. In history all people of all skin colors and ethnic backgrounds have been discriminated against at some point. So we ALL know discrimination and many of our ancestors knew it well. Discrimination is an ugly thing because it comes from hatred and hatred is always very ugly. There is no way to paint hatred so that it looks pretty or attractive. It is always ugly no matter how you paint it. One thing that people who hate fail to realize is that their own hatred destroys nothing more than their own selves. Why is this? Because hatred eats a person from the inside out! It is like some kind of horrible disease that starts on the inside of us and eats its way out of us until we ourselves are destroyed. Hatred engages us in a “batalla para la mente” (battle or agitation for the mind). If left unchecked this batalla por la mente becomes our “diablo” (devil) and that diablo will always eat us alive from the inside out. This is why hatred is so destructive and discrimination is simply a “child” of hate. Both are ugly. Both come from the same darkness. Both destroy the hater!
Discrimination is a way by which we make others feel inferior and unworthy (indigno). It is a way in which we make people who are different from us feel shameful (indigno). It is not right ever! Instead of ripping one another apart we ought to be trying to lift each other up. Sadly, however, we do not often do that because we are too busy trying to take each other down.
There is even discrimination and hatred within ethnic groups. For instance, dark skinned Mexican people are seen as inferior to light skinned Mexican people in Mexico. The lighter your skin, the more superior or beautiful you are deemed by others in Mexican culture. Again, this is just another form of hate and discrimination that exists within the Hispanic ethnic group. It is not right! Skin color really means nothing. Can we not see the beauty in the dark skinned Hispanic like we see in the light skinned Hispanic? We should be able to see beauty in both because there is beauty in everyone no matter what their skin color or ethnic background. And that is what we must strive for. To see the beauty and the worthiness in everyone!
When a people have a long history of being the targets of hate they fall into what I’m calling an ethnic depression in which their self esteem individually and collectively is destroyed. And with that lower self esteem come feelings of unworthiness and inferiority. Eventually these feelings enslave the person or the cultural group and if not resolved they will destroy the person or the culture. In some ways this has already happened to the Hispanic people of the world. I have often thought we are a destroyed and enslaved people. Enslaved to this hate and enslaved to feelings of not being good enough or as good as others. Slaves can have two masters. One of those masters is the mind. Meaning you can be a slave in your own mind and, sadly, there are many people today in all cultures who are, in fact, slaves to and in their own minds. It has nothing to do with skin color or culture. Many people feel it today and it is those kinds of feelings that are destroying human civilization today.
Whatever you ethnic background you should be PROUD! We should all know our ethnic history and take pride in our cultural roots. We must educate ourselves and not only know our history but LEARN from it. That old saying that says “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it” is very true. We can learn from our history and we can learn from mistakes in our history so we will not be condemned to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. And this not only applies to Hispanics but to all other ethnic groups as well.
One thing that I have always held in the forefront of my mind when dealing with people of other ethnic groups is this. “We all have the same color of blood, RED!” Think about that. We all have red blood and inside we are all the same. God made us each to look different on the outside but on the inside we are all the same. Maybe instead of seeing others as light or dark skinned we ought to start seeing them as red. We are all red inside our veins!
Many feel unworthy today and much of that comes from the collective human culture we have created. We feel we can do nothing and, sadly, many are waiting for someone else to hand it all to them or do it all for them. Sorry but if you are one of those people then you are going to be waiting for a long time. That’s not the way life works! In life you must do it for yourself. In life if you want something then you must work to get it. That is just the way life works and that is the way life has always worked. Otherwise you sit and waste your time and your life waiting on someone else to do it for you or give it to you. I find it greatly alarming that many of our young people have that waiting attitude today. We need to teach our youth to work for what they want and to do for themselves and not sit around expecting someone else to do it for them or just give it to them. If we don’t teach our youth this then we have failed them!
One last thing I want to address in this writing are stereotypes. Stereotypes are FREQUENTLY inaccurate. In fact they are more inaccurate than accurate because they come from hate and its “child” discrimination. Stereotypes are like scapegoats. They are both wrong! If you look closely at the stereotypes the person who hates holds you might notice that no matter what race he or she talks about, that race is always lazy. And on top of being lazy the stereotype holds the view that “those people” don’t want to work but just want to collect welfare and leech off of everyone else. It’s a short stretch then to deem “those people” as worthless and that, in turn, just builds the hate even more.
Fact of the matter is that there are lazy people in all ethnic groups. No matter what the skin color we can easily find people of all skin colors who are lazy, do not want to work, and spend their lives on handouts. So stereotyping someone of a certain skin color or ethnic background in this manner is pretty inaccurate because it ignores the full facts that we find such people in all races. Stereotypes are nothing more than masks and deceptions that we use to justify our hate. And if you notice the hater is forever trying to justify his/her hate! It’s an endless battle. People who hate must always be trying to justify their hate because if they cannot justify it then they would have to stop hating.
Hate is not the answer to anything. Discrimination resolves absolutely nothing. Being ignorant only makes it all worse. For Hispanics, we must educate ourselves and not be ignorant of our heritage and history and we must not be ignorant of ourselves. We have a long and noble history and we know to know what it is and take pride in it. We must begin to free ourselves from our inner enslavement and we must begin to WIN that “batalla para la mente” (battle for the mind). For as long as we do not then we will continue to be slaves in our own minds and we will not have any pride either in our selves or in our people. And that will continue to be just outright WRONG!
Hasta la Vista mi Amigos 🙂