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September 20, 2004

Expecting Too Much

Working at and attending the University of Hawaii I get this feeling of always having to be politically correct. I’m Mexican and sometimes I get this feeling that whatever I do is represented as part of “my culture” and I suddenly become the Latino Ambassador to the world.

Just the other I was expressing my discontent with the war on Iraq and the professor that I was speaking with told me that Hispanic cultures have long histories of believing in letting other countries be if they present no threat to your own. WHAT?! I’m against war because I’m Mexican? Or maybe I’m just against war cause I can make my own mind about subjects.

I wrote the following not so fictional anecdote for my blog to exemplify how sometimes people (this time myself) seem to make a bigger deal out what someone says simply because they belong a certain culture:


The air was a bit thick with heat and hints of fumes from the newly painted walls.As I watched Dame Edna on the large sized television, I noticed Ken, one of my best friends, has fallen asleep on the couch out of early morning exhaustion.Often I find myself wondering why I become friends with certain people. Is it their personality?Is it what they bring out in me?Is it their energy, their talents, their interests, their perceptions?What draws me to certain individuals and repels me from others?

Dame Edna continued joking with her guests in her contrived soprano voice when Ken alleged “Pedro, they’re taking our soil away”.Ken is part native Hawaiian and his roommate is a strong scholar of the Hawaiian culture.Through the years Native Hawaiians have had their lands taken away through force, through laws, through trickery, through every conceivable method.Walmart being built in the middle of Ala Moana is yet another example of how the cold hand of globalization grips the Hawaiian islands while squeezing any sort of authenticity out of its shores . “They’re taking away our soil”, that is what made me friends with this man.Someone waking up with a social commentary is not something I was used to.

Although I was blown away with his ability to abridge a social problem into a simple phrase I looked at him, smiled, and asked “can you elaborate”.He stared at me for a second, as if confused with my question and answered “they’re building a wall around our property, but the first step is to dig up all this extra dirt and take it away.Finally they came to take all that extra soil away.”I simply exclaimed “oh”.

Posted by Pharoe at September 20, 2004 12:22 PM


Posted by RON on September 23, 2004 12:50 AM:

Senior Pharoe:

And I can call you by that title...having picked a fair amount of grapes with your brothers in Calif. many years back. Or, at least, tried to keep up with them picking the grapes, to be more accurate. In fact, I call everyone from south of the border, "Senior."

"Or maybe I’m just against war cause I can make my own mind about subjects."

Well, that's a plus. Of course, you're really, really missing out on a lot.

As far as accusing somebody of leaving things be that are not percieved as threats...we (U.S.) seemed to "not" be putting relatively a lot of effort intervening in Sudan...because I guess Sudan doesn't present a threat to us...while Iraq stood as a clear and present danger to America...(?)

And look who's picking up an $87 billion tab today.

I'm afraid that everyone is an ambassador for their ethnicity. And as such, it's good that people should be self-conscious in that way, and not spoil it for the rest of their race, and expect their brothers and sisters to live up those standards also.


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