Work in Progress
For as long as I could remember I wanted to be a part of the Latino community.
The music and comradderie; it felt like a place that I belonged; or perhaps could.
Mind you, I still am a dreamer; now just more equipped to know when I'm wrong.
And in this case I have been wrong.
I may be able to serve my people, but I will never be able to be one of them.
Ableit for a variety of reasons, too many of which have been shoved in my face unkindly.
The most poignant of situations was during my time at the University of Minnesota. A pillar of the Minneapolis Latino Business community was to teach a class at the University of Minnesota.
Three students were in attendance that first class; and an inordinate amount of time seemed to be spent lamenting the need to welcome those who had been adopted out of the community, back in.
I was the only adoptee in the room.
Frustratingly these were just words; it would seem.
After class, excitedly, I approached the instructor to tell him that I had aspriations of volunteering for the LEDC, and had applied for an internship there, but had not yet received any reply.
He began speaking Spanish at me ... much faster than my limited high school training would allow me to comprehend.
There was no remorse in his condescension either.
# Misplaced Restaurant Face
Economically it was always difficult for me in Minnesota; and food service, or landscaping, was my most consistent means of income.
Now comes the joke about how Latino is that? jajaja, fuck off.
Granted, with the day-laborers, cooks and bussers, there was often a positive relationship. Most of us were all obviously brown, and consequently could bond over our disdain for white people.
Mind you, I've never been one for mejorando la raza either ... which sometimes I throw a wrench in such things ... though I digress.
What I negated to mention earlier regarding the LEDC, was that the internship I applied to, was only after presenting their Vice President, and a few of his collegues with an idea.
The presentation regarded different ways to support inter-community communication between generations and through various electronic mediums. Not every Latino household had computers, and so, how might SMS technology be used to disseminate information and organize the community?
I was incredibly excited for the chance to provide my insight. I've always loved working with technology, seeing the opportunity it can provide to truly help bring people together.
I prepared a PowerPoint presentation, dawned my best dress shirt at the time, and might have even worn a tie!
My presentation was well received, seemingly.
Though as the weeks went by, I never received a reply ...
# White People Wanted ...
Never one to give up, I saw that they were also hiring interns for the Fall.
Welp, why not apply, I thought.
Again, I had actually been introduced to another individual at the LEDC through a mutual friend, who also happened to be a community elder.
I thought I had a reasonable chance ... despite this most immediate dismissal by neglect. I did have a personal referral.
So I applied!
I mean, I was a stellar candidate!
I was studying Economics, Statistics & Communications at the time.
A University student with a solid history of community service elsewhere, and a whole handful of peripheral skills to be utilized.
A week before the school semester was to begin, I took a look at their website.
I had never received any type of response to my application for internship ...
Though it would appear that three very white people had been chosen as interns for that semester instead.
The irony was not lost on me.
Though, in my gullability, I thought to take the aforementioned class of which I spoke; perhaps if I could talk to their leader ??
Well, we now know what happened there ...
# Back to the Restaurant
Months later, I was helping a restuarant open up; and because of this, I was allowed to be a server!
Remarkable, all things considered; until the LEDC's Vice President walked into the restaurant, and was sat in my section.
I served him and his date throughout their meal; it should be noted that she was white, because mejorar la raza, right?
And about three-quarters of the way through the meal, he mentioned that he seemed to recognize me ...
I dismissed the recognition, acting as though I had better things with which to concern myself.
I didn't spit in his food; I didn't call him a racist bigot.
I didn't throw a punch, nor demean the appearance of he, nor his date.
None of the things I still wish to do.
I simply refuse to let such people into my life anymore.
While for others, the price will be high.
As an apology for the remorseless arrogance of your counterparts.
# Otras Historias
There are others stories, such as when the girl said to me, I need to talk to a real beaner, at OccupyMN.
And while she may have been correct, I'm not Mexican; the intended insult did not miss the mark.
Or watching another, supposed, community elder protect a known white Latino predator; while casting me aside by way of lies.
It was curious to read; I ventured over to the LEDC's website after writing the first draft of this post ...
Their new Executive Director is yet another individual who approached me after I spoke at the State Legistlature, giving me his number, saying we need your energy, etc.
Though when I called him to follow up, he barely remembered who I was, and had nothing for me to do ...
This type of negligent, arguably jersey-chasing, style of leadership truly disgusts me; yet is embodied by so many monied people across the racial spectrum.
Regardless, I persist, insistent on using my skills for the betterment of the neglected and the ignored.
And truly, if you have the ability; this is why you should fund me.
So when I do get to the place of welcoming Venture Capitalist funds, you can receive an invitation; because I will not be sending out many of the.