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For whatever reason / the negro refused to transform the ghetto

who cares for reasons / Negro thou dost protest too much

Mexicans are coming / turning ghetto shacks into palaces

 

 

Welcome to Mexi-Cali

                                            By Marvin X

 

 

Vamanos, vamanos

the Mexicans are coming

to reclaim the land

avenge  Blackfoot Cherokee Lakota

Comanche Seminole

Aztecs Mayas Incas

the Mexicans are coming

 

to make the yankees disappear like

civilizations of old

the guns disease greed for gold silver and blood

the Mexicans are coming

tired of poverty mud huts

washing bathing drinking dirty water in streams rivers

the Mexicans are coming

filling American cities with rivers of human beings

seeking new life love hope

after centuries of slavery oppression corruption

Vamanos

the Mexicans are coming

working three jobs by day stealing by night

to come up and stay up in Gringo land

Let the New Negroes arrive and take control

who will do God's will as Elijah promised

Old Negroes never got the concept

too full of pride selfishness greed

no unity no love for self no sharing

The Mexicans are coming to Cali New York Dirty South

working living loving sharing building

enjoying heaven on earth

better than hell on earth below the border

For whatever reason

the negro refused to transform the ghetto

who cares for reasons

Negro thou dost protest too much

Mexicans are coming

turning ghetto shacks into palaces

even the roaches disappear

ghetto is better'n than dirt floor shacks

no electricity no bath no clean water

Remember the Aztec vision of the Eagle on the catcus

Ahora, the catus now lands on the eagle

llike the catcus they are juice to the lazy gringos

starving for cheap labor

even the negroes are tired down to their dna

Oh, gringo, will you have mercy on the Mexican

Will the Mexican have mercy on you?

Vamanos!

 

I grew up with Mexicans in Fresno, California, the central valley, the richest agricultural valley in the world. I used to pick cotton and cut grapes with my grandfather who would take my brother and I to Chinatown at 3 or 4 in the morning to board the bus to the fields. I couldn't wait to hear the Mexicans shout "Vamanos" (let's go) at the end of a hard working day in the fields. On the weekends my grandmother would send my mother and my Uncle Stan to retrieve my grandfather who was stuck in some Chinatown bar and gambling joint such as the "El Gato Negro"  (the black cat).

During intermission at the show on Sundays, when we took a break from eating popcorn and finger @#%$ the girls, we made our way to the restroom to beat up Mexicans because they were the closest things we knew to white boys, although once in a while white boys made the mistake to visit White's Theatre and found themselves the object of our wrath.

And when Little Richard, Chuck Berry, The Drifters, James Brown, Sam Cooke and others came to town, our main objective was to go fight during and after the concert, and again, Mexicans were the object, unless of course, white boys wanted to rock and roll. The last thing we came to do at the dance was dance. We came to throw down with our hands and sometimes knives but not guns. When we caused a fight during the concert, the Mexicans would be waiting for us outside after it was over. We would meet on the grass and clash like mad fools with nothing better to do. Sometimes people got stabbed, kicked in the head, beat unmercifully.

At school, the Mexicans were the dumbest, according to my white English teacher, although two or three of them were in the honor society with me. For a moment, I had my eyes on a Mexican girl, but my black sisters weren't going for that. My favorite lunch was tacos from the cafe at Walnut and California streets. I can taste those tacos now, and those tamales. Mama used to make us tacos as well.

As a draft resister during the Vietnam war, I found refuge in Mexico City. My contact was revolutionary artist Elizabeth Catlett Mora and she aided me during my stay. She was the witness at my civil wedding to one of my students from Fresno State University whose education I disrupted to come on my revolutionary sojourn.

I traveled throughout Mexico, from Tijuana to Chetumal on the East coast and Oxaca on the West coast. I had no problems in Mexico, especially after I obeyed Betty Mora's warning to stay out of politics, something I didn't do when I ventured down to Honduras, but that's another story.

Mexican poverty was overwhelming, something I'd never seen before. I didn't know people lived on dirt floors watching television with Catholic saints adorning their walls. I didn't know I could have a maid for one dollar a day, that she would do all the cleaning, cooking, clothe washing and shopping for one dollar a day. And yes, even Betty Mora, my revolutionary comrade, had a maid.

I loved Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, near the Paseo de la Reforma, cerca de Metro, which was where I lived. Sundays in the park was for lovers only and families who loved. The Mexicans taught me how to love in ways different from what I was accustomed: their passion was not suppressed as in the US.

And they worked so hard. Recall what I just said about the maid. But all the people work hard or hustle hard. I never saw any lazy Mexicans. Or fat Mexicans either. Where did these ideas come from?

The first thing Betty Mora gave me after dinner was a book on the Mexican revolution. Soon I understood the determination of the people and their will to be free, and the constant sabotage by PRI, the eternal dominant political party until recently. I understood why Betty and her husband Poncho Mora could not let me stay at their house except for a few nights, since they were being watched because they were Communists and radical and non radical people were known to disappear into the night. Just before I got there, students had been massacred at the University and when their parents came to check on their children, the parents disappeared. As I said, Betty told me not to get involved in politics, although I did visit with political refugees who'd fled to Mexico City from throughout Latin America, including Black brothers from the Dominican Republic, Columbia and Venezuela, although the only thing I could say to them was "poder negro" (black power).

In spite of the repression, the poverty, I admired Mexico because at least they had their own country: they made their own soap, own clothes, shoes, own flag, own oil and hated Yankees or gringos, although I was often considered a gringo when they didn't misidentify me as a Brazilian and call me Pele. When they found out I was an American, they could not and would not believe I was without money and poor. After all, their sole objective was getting to America. They lined up around the American Embassy each day for visas. Of course many made the trip north without visas, after all, why do they need visas to visit their own land, now called California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico?

After the rise and fall of the Black Power revolt ignited resistance in other minorities, including white women, gays, grays, Native Americans, Asians and most importantly Latin Americans, the cry "Viva La Raza" was heard throughout the land, surfacing on the East coast as Puerto Rican power and on the West coast as Chicano power. Of course none of these minorities suffered like African Americans, after being named the greatest threat to national security. None had assassinated leaders the stature of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. None gained international recognition like the Black Panthers. But all of these minorities siphoned the Black energy to enjoy social/economic and political benefits after the Black Liberation movement was decimated from within and without, mainly as a result of Cointelpro, the US governments counter intelligence program to destroy the black movement and prevent the rise of a "Black Messiah."

Caesar Chavez did emerge as the leader of the poor, down trodden, exploited Mexican farm workers. And the Brown Panthers attempted to organize the Latin community. But Afro-Latin unity was short lived once Chicanos saw being too closely allied with the Blacks was a liability and furthermore, many Chicanos preferred identifying with white European culture rather than their African/Native Indian roots, although the concept La Raza suggests Native Indian mythology, including the oft-pictured Emiliano Zapata, hero of the Mexican revolution, himself of African/Indian roots, not to mention another revolutionary hero, Vincente Guerrero, the African/Indian George Washington/Abraham Lincoln of Mexico.

But as Blacks no longer worked the cotton, grape fields and orchards of the Central Valley towns, Chicanos and Mexicanos replaced them. On college campuses, Chicano and/or La Raza programs were often empowered at the expense of Black Studies. In other words, Chicanos collaborated with college and university administrations to gain power while black studies was decimated, underfunded or eliminated. There is now a Ph.D. program in Chicano Studies, a Chicano Studies Department on various campuses, but most Black Studies are absorbed in Ethnic Studies or traditional Euro Studies. Many Ethnic Studies programs and/or departments are headed by Chicanos who have no shame in looking out for La Raza, which means too hell with the Blacks.

A similar phenomenon occurs in the prison system. It is a known fact that the white administrators cause division between black and Latin prisoners, especially the prison gangs that are kept divided so they can be contained, preventing Afro-Latin unity. And again, many of the Latin prison gangs have betrayed Afro-Latin unity to align themselves with the white gangs.

A strange thing happened during a performance of my play ONE DAY IN THE LIFE before an audience of exconvicts when several of them marched out in unity because the black former inmates objected to my use of the N word and the white and Chicano excons objected to my Black hero worship. The drug program counselor had to baby-sit these inmates all night, telling them not to be so sensitive, it was only a play.

Moving into the millennium, another strange thing is happening, or perhaps it is not so strange but a demographic reality: Latinos are now the number one minority in America, eclipsing Blacks. A few years ago I was walking with poet Amiri Baraka in New York. He said let's get something to eat. I said what about some Mexican food. He said I was crazy, there wasn't any Mexican restaurants in New York City. If I wanted Puerto Rican food, that was a possibility, but not Mexican. Today, Chicanos are the largest Latin minority in New York.

In California, the ghetto is rapidly becoming AfroLatin, from Watts to East Oakland, Chicanos are moving in, buying property, renting, setting up businesses, especially Chicano grocery stores and supermarkets, also auto shops (since they are known to have ten cars per familynice racist joke). They can be seen throughout the ghetto hustling on every corner, selling every conceivable item, including Crack and other drugs, but legitimate items Blacks would be arrested for selling or would be told to close down because they lacked various permits, especially health department permits, while Chicanos can sell tacos and burritos without any problem.

The new demographics are indeed creating cultural tensions, but I suggest Blacks learn from their new Latin neighbors who are in many instances simply utilizing the positive aspects of Latino culture, i.e., practicing economic unity, entrepreneurship, political and most of all, family unity. Blacks need to observe the Latinos hustling items other than drugs and do the same. Observe their collective unity Blacks merely talk about during KWANZA. And finally, present Chicanos with a political agenda for Afro-Latin unity that cannot be sabotaged except on the pain of death. Whether we like it or not, Chicanos are the new guys on the block, yes, the hog with the big nuts, so rather than fear them, we should unite with them for mutual political/economic progress. If we sit around playa hatin, we shall slip farther behind in the multicultural ladder and ultimately be forgotten as history marches forward with new people determined to make progress.

I must inform Blacks that employing Latinos to work in Black businesses, because they are cheap labor is no lasting solution to our economic woes. Even though they may be cheap and more reliable, their employment in soul food restaurants such as Sylvia's in Harlem or Lois The Pie Queen's in Oakland, is a disgrace with Black unemployment sky high. Young blacks can and must be found who will work for low wages to gain job training.

Welcome to Mexicali.

Marvin X, poet/playwright/essayist/activist,  is the author of IN THE CRAZY HOUSE CALLED AMERICA, essays, WISH I COULD TELL YOU THE TRUTH, essays, LAND OF MY DAUGHTERS, poems, Black Bird Press, 11132 Nelson Bar Road Cherokee CA 95965. He is available for lecture/readings. Marvin X recently completed a novel MAMA SAID, a collection of poems SWEET TEA AND DIRTY RICE, and a book of essays UP FROM IGNORANCE

posted 14 April 2006

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

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#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

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#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

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#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

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#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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