The Question Stands: What’s Going On?

(This video is used for educational purposes only and belongs to its owner)

I am somewhat compelled to follow these events in the United States a bit further. The Picasso series will resume, God willing, next Sunday with “Picasso y Dora Maar”.

Today I would like to explore these actions a bit further…

I’ve always said that an artist must be in touch with the world, with the politics, with the social aspects and with the problems and difficulties that exist within it. Therefore I cannot escape from these riots, these disturbances without expressing some of my thoughts.

I do not claim to know what it is to be an American, although I did live in an American country, the US, for many years. However, the dynamics of the society, to my eyes, kept changing and not necessarily for the better.

One thing is certain, I never encountered any negative feelings or actions against my person or my family. Maybe because I am white. Yes, that was the key to my success in the US. As a white male I was privileged in many ways…

I don’t know what it is to be discriminated, to be ostracised, to be hated. But I do know that many in the US do feel those horrible emotions and they are not just theoretical but very real.

I recall speaking with two women, back in my early days in the US (circa 1973) one was Cuban and the other Black, North American, both middle class, professionals. Within their conversation the Cuban woman said that they…I would guess she and her family…did not think of Black people in the US as being “Americans” and the black woman replied that neither did the “white” Americans…

This statement has always remained in my mind and now that I think of it, in lieu of the current circumstances and the worsening of black/white relations in the US, it seems to me the real cause of all of these riots, protests, disturbances.

If you are not made to feel a part of the country where you live, where you were born, where your family is from, then you don’t feel you have to love that country, respect its mores, it’s laws, it’s institutions or it’s people. And Black people in the US have given their life for America, I know because I proudly served with them in the US Army and Coast Guard.

People are not meant to feel those contradictory emotions. Mixed feelings always give rise to disorders. People must feel a sense of belonging and of security within their community and the greater community of the nation.

Finally, the things that Black people have had to endure in the US are not easily forgotten. Many of those obstacles thrown before them are still there…

Yet history moves forward, albeit revising the past as it does, so lingering on past negatives is not the best way to solve the present dilemma. However something has to change, a new order has to surface and people must make an effort to adapt, to live more harmoniously with each other and to stop dwelling so much on their differences.

In the US, which is a country of immigrants of all parts of the world, the power structure looks white (Anglo-European and Male) and below are the rest. The policy is to label other groups in accordance to their fancy…that’s what it seems to be as the definitions for the terms they use are not the real definitions of these words…calling all people who procede from a Spanish-speaking country “Hispanics”, and sometimes “Latinos”. Black people are called “African-Americans” and Indians “Native Americans”.

Well, first of all, the term Hispanic applies only to people born in the Iberian peninsula, i.e. Spaniards. The term Latino doesn’t even exist in these days as it refers to the “Latin” tribes that populated certain parts of Italy. However, “Latins” are those of the southern Mediterranean, in today’s world. And “Native” is a term that can be applied to no one in the Americas. It is better to use the term “First Nation”, as it is used in Canada to refer to those of Indian origins.

So, first it is very disrespectful to lump all those who speak Spanish into a sack and call them “Latino” or “Hispanic”. They come from different countries with different backgrounds and as well countries that were populated from either Europe, Asia or Africa.

Worse is labelling Black citizens as “African” when they are not, when they are plainly Americans. And Indians call themselves Indians but why change their heritage designation.

In conclusion I can only say, as an observer, that I’ve not seen these fabricated differences anywhere else and that perhaps changing these classifications can result in better race relations. Or better yet, forget about race relations and just concentrate on better human relations. Because no matter how you put it, if you categorise people you are creating inequalities. People know who and what they are, they don’t need government encouragement to uphold their ethnicity or culture. Those things, like religion and upbringing, belong in the home.

Thank you. Now it is your turn. Tell me what you think.

35 comments

  1. Brad Osborne · June 1

    Whatever biases or discrimination I had learned growing up in my middle income suburban home being raised by a more bigoted generation of adults, was quickly put aside when I joined the Marines. In the service there was, by function and fact, no difference between races. In the Marine Corps, we were taught there is no black or white or red or yellow. We were all green…period. And in the heat of battle, the lack of differences becomes much more clear. As much as I encourage people to speak out, protest, and fight for what they believe in, rioting and looting are not the answer. Dr. King, arguably the most recognized fighter for civil rights, never suggested violence as a solution. In fact, just the opposite. I agree we must work hard to eliminate discrimination, categorization, and oppression. And civil protests are just what is needed to draw the correct attention to a cause. But as soon as it turns to looting and rioting, where others who are uninvolved in the oppression the demonstrators are fighting against, begin to suffer from those acts of violence, then I cannot abide. You cannot protest violence by committing violent acts against others. As soon as it becomes violent and impacts those whom hold no fault for the situation, then I stop listening to what your cause is speaking about. Great post, Francisco!

    • ekurie · June 1

      Thank you. I come from a military family. In my life I am proud to be considered the lowest common denominator. As such I helped form a base. It’s never a good idea to generalize and I believe most are proud of their heritage. You are absolutely correct. Civil demonstration is essential for the health of any nation. Rioting, looting, destruction are not.

    • Thank you Brad. You’ve said it all and I stand beside your words 100%. I too served in the US military in the Army and then Coast Guard reserves and we were all green, then all blue, no races, no ethnic group we were all one corps. Reference the protests, as a prior police officer I have to say that I would have demanded to be able to act and to arrest and to stop, by any means, those violators of the law. I find it deplorable that US mayors gave stand down orders to the police. It makes the police look guilty if they allow these punks to offend them, attack them and humiliate them, and the police is not guilty of anything! These riots are not about anger at the unfortunate death of Mr. Floyd, they are orchestrated, planned and financed by those who want to destroy US society and economy, and action, direct and overt, must be taken to stop them, arrest them, investigate who is behind them and bring them to justice. All the best my friend,
      Francisco

  2. Sharon · June 1

    Great post and yes lets concentrate on better human relations at every opportunity and no matter where we are!

  3. pedmar10 · June 1

    In my hood in NJ Hispanics were called Specks as Blacks were called niggers. Like I say you need to be in the hoods to understand America. Miami is not very different, and I worked there while living in Broward county,,,, in Daytona Beach the home of Bethune Cookman college historically black colleges of America go to Second avenue and see the difference. Learning is a process that America has not learned yet!

  4. Easymalc · June 1

    This is one of those topics which could be debated for ages, because regardless of what people think, there are so many issues to deal with. but there’s one thing to bear in mind. The world has always been organized into different peoples – boundary lines are artificial Different peoples have different cultures in so many ways. It doesn’t matter whether you belong to a tribe in Africa, a native of Madrid or Barcelona, an African American in Harlem or a red-neck from the Deep South. When I moved out of the city to the countryside I was called ‘Tommy Townie’ which was all said in good humour (I think) 🙂 , but you get my drift.

    I’ve never lived in the United States, but my perception is that it’s a country where peoples from all over the world have come to join together in the land of the free. The country as we know it was formed this way, and it’s only the Native Americans, if that’s the right phrase to use, that should have a genuine cause for complaint.

    Multi-culturalism can be more problematic in places where incomers start to take control from those who have built up a way of life that has been in the making for centuries, but I don’t quite see America in that category, but perhaps I’m wrong.

    Another great post Francesc and I hope I haven’t ruffled too many feathers. It’s just the way I see it.

    • Easymalc · June 1

      I should have added that those who were used as slaves also had a genuine axe to grind. Apologies for not including that to start with,

    • No, you are right Malc. The Indians (and that is how they refer to themselves in the US) are the First Nation, as they came across the Bearing Straits from Siberia, they have the first claim, yet they Re in last place… The US was made great because of immigrants from all over the Earth and I see it as unfair that they should be misrepresented as some made up ethnic group or race that does not exist. Here in the Kingdom we are all Spaniards but we each have our own culture, language and food, but that is according to the people, families, groups et cetera and not according to the government like in the US… I thank you Malc, and all the best… I finally went to the beach today! Welcome Phase 2! Take good care,
      Francesc

      • Easymalc · June 1

        Good to hear that you’ve made it down to the beach. Are you able to get a table in La Pepica yet? 🙂

      • La Pepica, yes, passed in front this morning…they are open again…but today was just a walking day…walked all the way to the end of the passeig maritim and then trotted back to the city…total of about 14 kilometres…not bad…take good care Malc.

      • Easymalc · June 1

        Good for you. Keep on trotting and blogging. You take care too 🙂

      • All the best Malc!

  5. swo8 · June 1

    If a real democracy is to exist there must be a sense of fairness. No one can be above the law. If this is not addressed properly you will witness the demise of the country/state that pretends to call themselves a democracy.
    Leslie

    • Good point Leslie. No one can be above the law or more equal than others…thanks and great to hear from you. All the best,
      Francisco

      • swo8 · June 1

        What happened in the US was murder….

      • I quite agree…and the officer needs to be indicted and brought to justice. There is no one that angers me more than rogue cops! Thank you Leslie.

      • swo8 · June 1

        His accomplices need to go to jail too…

      • Oh yes, without a doubt. I could not believe what I was watching when I saw the video! Those guys were just standing there! When I was in the police academy they warned us always to be very careful with people’s neck area and if someone suddenly lost consciousness to immediately render resuscitation assistance, which was not done in this case either. I find no reason, as a former PO, for the actions of this officer and placing a knee on someone’s carotid artery was certainly never authorised for us and we never trained using such a technique. When the government militarises the police it makes the people (civilians) the enemy. That is why in the US the police is all civilians themselves, so that there should be a sense of empathy…thank you Leslie and all the best to you, hope all is well over there in Canada and that the protests do not spread across the border as they have spread, I am told to European cities like London…

      • swo8 · June 1

        The protests are here too Francisco, but they are peaceful so far. I think the whole world is appalled at what happened in the US.

      • Yes, without a doubt. I’ve many friends and family over there and I’ve been very concerned as well.

      • swo8 · June 1

        As Trevor Noah says, there is no appropriate way to protest. It has to hurt someone….

      • As it should!

      • swo8 · June 2

        If they don’t hurt they won’t do anything…

      • Yes but they must make their point so that there can be a positive difference and the result to be a significant change, not just hurting the innocent and creating more violence based on revenge rather than on solving the problems that plague the US when it comes to treating all people with the same justice. I am all for protests, as long as the people protesting protect their protest from agitators, Antifa and other terrorist groups. Thank you so much Leslie. I look forward to your paintings and music! All the best and stay safe,
        Francisco

      • swo8 · June 2

        You are right Francisco. Thank you for your comment.
        The painting and music are put aside for the summer. Instead I have exerts from my husband’s book. Hope you will enjoy it.
        Leslie

  6. janetsm · June 1

    Thank you for your words today, Francisco. I have nothing to add to what I wrote over the weekend. Glad to see in one of your comments that you got to the beach!

    • Yes! Finally I walked 7k and saw my beautiful Mediterranean Sea! It was a thrill beyond compare after 4 months unable to see the water! Thank you Janet and all the best,
      Francisco

  7. Good afternoon or evening depending on where you are. I thank you for your words and agree with your sentiments 100%. As an American who has been watching all of this unfold for many years now, I agree that we need to come together as a better human society and stand with our neighbors. I do not agree with these violent protests, however, at the same time, I do not agree with the injustice of what so many have to deal with on a daily basis. I continue to believe that there must be a better way. I am saddened to see a country that was created to be a melting pot of nationalities crumble because of a long-fought rivalry between race and money. Every time our country takes one step forward to eliminate the monumental injustices that are taking place and combining our country as a people, not skin color, we change leaders and we are thrown fifty steps back. This go-round has been the worst in my lifetime, though. I pray that we may all find our bearings before it is too late and that as you said, we can become a better human society that is not defined by the color of our skin, the religion we practice, or the amount of money we have in the bank. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you! You have expressed what I believe all sensible, intelligent people would want and aspire to. The US is a nation of immigrants and that has made the country so rich and not just economically speaking but rich with culture and history the culture and history that all the different people have brought to it…the US, as I see it, belongs to all who there work for the better of the land and not to those who think their money and status gives them a superior place. Take good care and thank you so much! All the best

  8. Pingback: The Question Stands: What’s Going On? — Omnia Caelum… Poetry, Art, Music – Latino FEEDBACK Film Festival

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