Día de la Raza

October 12 is traditionally celebrated throughout the Americas as the day Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón) “discovered” the American continent in 1492.  For better or for worse, that date changed history in the most fundamental ways.

México should be a land of infinite possibilities. It has almost every climatic and topographical region found on the planet; there is a wealth of natural resources and the greatest of these has always been its population. The people who live in this country are strong and hardworking. They are loyal and love their families. With such ease they create achingly beautiful art, music, color, dance and delicious food. Yet many are not well educated. Their familial alliances are often severed by poverty. Their culture is not respected.

The media in some “developed nations” is very quick to condemn México for being the corridor through which drugs are shipped to the north. Do they ask themselves why the drugs need to go there? They’re also very judgmental of Latin American politics. Why do we tolerate this attitude? In Mexico, wee have enough to deal with.

The lifestyle of most Mexican families is just high enough to deter serious civil unrest but it’s  not enough to allow sustained material, social or emotional growth. For those with means, living in México is like being set loose in the candy store. For the poor, it is like standing outside and looking through the window into that same shop.

Nonetheless , despite all the manipulation the majority of citizens live with, the foreign and national “puppeteers” have never managed to completely capture and cage the spirituality of  La Raza. The ancient ways are still alive.

Many do not understand how this culture prevails because the means of  its survival are beyond their experience…Sublime stories passed from father to son and secrets whispered between women as they prepare the mid-day meals… the nursery songs and children’s games… annual festivities and fervent devotion to traditions. Through these seemingly naïve folkways, the age old values are passed on.

La Raza  is certainly a term open to very broad interpretation. It is often used by tough-looking street kids looking for a descriptive moniker.  I’ve even read that there is some worry that it is the banner under which Mexico will reclaim the southern USA. Ha!

In truth, the phrase not only encompasses ethnicity but also allegiance and cultural pride. If a way to positively spread the strength of La Raza was put in motion, you’d see mountains move. However, it is yet a sleeping giant.

Proud as Latinos are, the masses are pulling in too many different directions and those in power utilize this to their advantage… “Divide and conquer” is the oldest domination strategy there is.

Photos: The photographs on this post were taken by my son Carlos


Filed under Vida Latina

2 responses to “Día de la Raza

  1. That’s a very thought-provoking post, Joanna. After reading it, I kept thinking about the candy store metaphor–and could write for pages myself on this particular aspect of living here. (Some of my more difficult experiences are exactly due to this.)

    And your son’s photos are great–especially the two young señoritas!


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