The Things People Say


I'm gonna warn you up front, this post is going to be highly subjective, insomuchas I didn't ask people what they meant (you'll understand once you read), and it all comes through my American Lens. So, if you're the kind of person who gets upset at that sort of thing (I'm not pointing any fingers), then you may want to skip down to the bottom. It's just that things have sort of come to a head, for me, with this topic, and I like using this blog to talk about things that I can't really talk about here.

Like racism and anti-Semitism. So, the Channel (a TV station named just that) was showing a movie, one you may be familiar with. The Passion of the Christ, with Mel Gibson. And so, not being so much of a fan of whips tearing flesh off of bones, I left. Then, yesterday, Anita's son Carlos shows up, and he and Rosita start talking about the movie. Carlos specifically mentioned the whip-flesh-tearing as one of the reasons he liked the movie so much (It was so real!), and even made the sound with his mouth. I nearly laughed, but I held it in. Somehow, the topic got around to how awful the Romans were treating Jesus, and how awful it was. And then it was, Oh, and the Jews were awful too, spitting on him and no sé qué, no sé cuánto. Rosita wondered aloud why people don't blame the Jews for the crucifixtion, and Carlos said that after what happened in WWII, you can't blame Jews for anything.


I, of course, remained characteristically silent throughout the entire conversation, but then Carlos says to me, "You know how Jews are in the US, right, Jacob? They have all the money." I just sort of mumbled something, and the conversation moved on. I mean, how am I supposed to respond to that? I feel a little more sympathetic towards Hannes now (not much more, though). I could have said, "I have family members who are Jewish, friends who are Jewish, and they're not exactly rolling in dough. And I don't like it when you denounce an entire group of people, the vast majority of whom you've never met and don't know anything about." But what would that have accomplished? Not going to change Carlos's mind on anything. It's just going to put him more on edge around me then he already is (A guy under twenty thirty forty who doesn't like going out every night until 2 o'clock in the morning? What the hell is wrong with him?). It's like my Mom says, Sometimes you have to pick your battles.

But this brings up other questions to my mind. Whenever there's a discussion of crime, it's the Columbians who are entering into the country illegally. The guys who kidnapped Camille's host grandmother? The Columbian gang. The guys who broke into the house? Some Columbian hoodlums. The person who controls all the assaults in Yacucalle? That one black guy. Okay, so it's not all Columbians, but whenever the high crime rates are mentioned, it's usually Columbians who are responsible. And this is coming at me from various sources, Anita, Rosita, people on the radio, people on the TV. The scary thing is, is that I get the feeling that I've heard this all before. In the US. It's the same kind of thing as people saying the Hispanic immigrants are stealing our jobs. It's xenophobia, scapegoating. I mean, yeah, there are some Columbian criminals, like the drug cartels, just like there are immigrants who come to the US for less-than-honorable reasons. But there are far more immigrants who come to Ecuador, who come to the US, to support their family, to earn a living. And there are Ecuadorian criminals and American criminals too. It's just kind of upseting when people denounce the way Americans treat immigrants in one breath and then rant about those "Columbian thieves" the next. But, whatever. I should know by now to accept human frailty when I see it and be grateful for those acts of human kindness that there are, few as those may be.

On an unrelated note, I went and hung out with Rodrigo yesterday. We went and played basketball, and soundly got our asses handed to us by a girl and her friends. Thankfully, it was just the one girl on their side, so it wasn't so embarrassing. Still, it was like, 20-13. After that, we went and played guitar for a bit. Rodrigo's teaching me what he calls "punteado", which is playing just one string at a time. I dunno what it's called in English (I'm developing an artistic vocabulary of words I only know how to say in Spanish, like "esfumear"). He's also teaching me scales. Music is really cool. After that, he told me about how he went to the beach in Montañitas, and met this one English girl there, and he wanted to write her a love song in English. I suggested that we translate a love song he had already written, so we set about doing that. It actually turned out pretty cool. We're going to record it later today, and I'll see if I can find some way of uploading it to this page (any suggestions for music hosting?). Then we went to the internet, and Rodrigo got worried when he read an email from his German girlfriend saying that's she's going to be here in two months... Ah, the pitfalls of love.

So, that's about all. I'm planning on doing a post about the politics here, but that's another story, for another time. Sorry for the lack of Photoshopped pictures in this post. They take a long time, and I couldn't really think of one. To make up for it, here's a lolcat someone else made:

Yeah, mom, that other lolcat picture was one I got off the internet and added my own caption to. There aren't really any cats here. I think people are scared of them (not kidding). Thanks for commenting. You too, Kris.

Oh yeah, and I updated my self-portrait page, so crazy go nuts.



that black girl artist said...

Antisemitism is alive and well nowhere like in Latin America. In Uruguay, the Embassy staff would make fun of jewish applicants until I stopped it. They said, "Why does it matter to you, you're not jewish." So it goes - keep positive about the good things of the people you are with, and let go what you can't change.

I so enjoy your writing and drawing - I will strive to do more myself!

your mommy who is sorting through papers today (sigh)

that black girl artist said...

Why are people afraid of cats? Dogs are scarier - especially the wild ones.

mrjlab said...

Also lots of antisemitism in Peru. I had a long time trying to explain that the people in the old testament and Jesus were all Jews. My coworkers kept telling me they were hebrews and what was i thinking saying they were Jews. That conversation went on for like 5 min.

Diana said...

While in Chile, my coworkers spent 30 minutes over breakfast pitying me for being a Hispanic from such a racist country. During lunch, they all complained about how Peruvians are thieves and a burden on the Chilean government.


At least you have the right idea of how to deal with this human frailty.

Ben said...

My dad was once asked very matter of factly by a Brazilian if he really did eat babies.