A Week in the Life of Gustavo

"Seems to think that if he fails to write, la migra will find him."--OC Weekly More merriment available at ronmaydon@yahoo.com

quarta-feira, junho 05, 2002

These should be the final batch. The first one really has no particular point...

For the record: Lalas and Buchanan were expressing their horror at the fact that Mexican fans threw bags of urine at the US soccer team, and similarly pelted American fans with food and waste. Americans can tolerate a lot, but these acts were appallingly uncivilized [not to mention disgusting].

It is true, however, that Americans can't grasp why this specific group of otherwise hard-working immigrants have chosen not to assimilate into a culture that produces the world's most vibrant economy and democracy. Asians [e.g. Vietnamese boat people] have certainly embraced our language, educational system, and business opportunities to catapault themselves up to a higher socio-economic plateau.

The joke by Leno was insensitive [though dog is still eaten in Korea], but ignores the fact that it's completely acceptable to lampoon and ridicule white Americans in a public forum. By the way, what's with labeling all whites "Anglos". Certainly La Raza realizes that Europe is a vast place where a Swede and and an Italian [not to mention Irish vs. English] are of different historical and cultural backgrounds?

Lastly, I disagree with the assumption that all South Americans are united against the US. I've found many Argentenian's and Chilean's to be bigger fans of the good ol' USA than say Mexico.

My response...

Thank you for your comments. I must respectfully disagree with you in regards to Lalas and Buchanan's anger towards Mexican soccer fans. Though the actual acts committed no doubt played a large part in their reactions, I am still of the opinion that Lalas and Buchanan were more angry that these were residents of the United States that were not cheering for the United States. Buchanan, in particular, has used this game time and time again as proof that the latest wave of Latin American immigrants are inassimilable in this country.

This said, the immigrants are assimilable and do want to assimilate, despite your observation to the contrary. We must keep in mind that these are recent immigrants with almost no education. Many of the Vietnamese people--while refugees--nevertheless were either professionals in their homeland or had education and so found assimilation easier--not to mention governmental programs that expedited the assimilation process. But assimilation is an unstoppable force in this country and all immigrants eventually succumb to it.

I do not understand your comment about ridiculing "white" people in the American public forum. As you give no examples, I can only state that stacked up against each other, the ridiculing of ethnics is far more prevalent that ridiculing "whites." And I also do not understand why you choose to concentrate on "La Raza" (which, btw, is a term that you should research before attempting to use it as a synonym for Latinos) for oversight over the meaning of "white." I'd wager that most "white" people don't even know the diversity that exists in that term. That's why they're "white."

I really can't argue with your final comment since I have seen that myself. But I will say that Latin American unity does play a big role when facing the United States, regardless of the situation. Thank you once again for your remarks.
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Instead of symbolizing resistance to being absorbed into a culture whose government and populace don't always do the right thing you can do the real thing. Resist by departing (swimming?) back to Mexico. Why are you here? To save yourself from being sucked into the American dream and to save us from your sucking it for all it is worth you might just take off and attempt to better your motherland, or does its populace and government always do the right thing?

My response...

I'm here because I was born in the United States and my family has been in this country for nearly a century. Don't assume my motherland is Mexico just because of my surname. Speak against others, but don't speak against me since without you knowing me personally, any attacks against me make you seem as ignorant as your comments.
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Yours was an intriguing article on the relationships immigrants have to their countries of origin and the USA via World Cup soccer.

I’ve thought a great deal about this recently, especially as an indicator of “assimilation.”

You may recall that during the 80s both Ireland and Italy had World Cup moments of greatness. Living in NYC at the time, I can assure you the mood was much like you describe it among Latinos. I also recall my grandmother waking at 5am every four years to watch Spain get trounced. And nobody spoke about assimilation then.

However, I’m confused by your determination of the root cause for Americans cheering against their real “home team.” Specifically, you say the anti-USA cheering “symbolizes resistance to being absorbed into a country whose populace and government do not always do the right thing -- especially against the immigrants and their home countries.” I don’t believe this logic bears out.

If someone leaves their country of origin to seek a better life here, why would they still be cheering for the country they prove – through their own actions – doesn’t treat them as well as this one? I think a more accurate characterization of a Mexican’s support for Mexico’s soccer team is a more nuanced combination of ethnic pride, homesickness and cultural unity.

They’re not cheering against the US, they’re cheering for Mexico.

My response...

Thank you for your remarks. In hindsight, I should have been a bit clearer in my article about why immigrants would root for their home team. However, I am still of the opinion that many immigrants also root against the United States. Though immigrants do come here to search for a better life, many times they don’t find it here or live in wretched conditions that make them resentful towards this country. They still have every intention of working towards a better life here but those doubts do exist. If they are a soccer fan, rooting against the States is a good vehicle to express their frustration.

We must also keep in mind the psychology of sports. Much like the Yankees, the United States is a juggernaut (though obviously not in soccer, their political power somehow spills over to the soccer squad). Most sports fans don’t like powerhouses so they will automatically root against the team. For example, I do not like Brazil’s soccer squad, not because of any particular hatred towards the country but because they’re so good! Whether that’s rational or not is another story, but there’s a reason why “fan” is a short term for “fanatic.” Thank you once again for your remarks.

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I READ YOUR ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE AND YOU MAKE SOME INTERESTING OBSERVATIONS. IN GENERAL, WHEN YOU SAY THAT MOST IMMIGRANTS DO NOT CHEER FOR THE U. S., YOU'RE RIGHT. HOWEVER, MOST OF MY FRIENDS, AND, MYSELF, WE CHEER FOR THE U.S., NOT ONLY BECAUSE THIS IS OUR ADOPTED COUNTRY, BUT, BECAUSE OF OUR LOVE FOR SOCCER. WE WANT THE U. S. TO DO WELL IN THE TOURNAMENT, AND WE
WANT THE PRESS TO GIVE SOCCER THE DUES SOCCER DESERVES.

I FIGURE THAT IF THE U. S. SQUAD DOES WELL, IT WILL BE ANOTHER BOOST FOR THE SPORT IN THIS COUNTRY. JUST AS IT WAS WHEN THE WOMEN SOCCER TEAM WON THE WORLD CUP AND THE WORLD GAMES.THANK YOU FOR WRITING ABOUT THE GAMES AND FOR KEEPING THIS IMPORTANT ASPECT, (OF OUR CULTURE) AS WELL AS THE SOCIAL ASPECTS MENTIONED IN YOUR ARTICLE, IN THE PRESS, ACCESSIBLE TO ALL THE READERS IN THE BAY AREA.

P.S. U.S.A 3, PORTUGAL 2. HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES?

My response...

Thank you for your comments. I loved those apples, thank you for asking.
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And finally, the most positive email from a stranger I have ever received...

I live in San Francisco, Ca and I just finished reading an article you wrote in the "Open Forum" of the Examiner newspaper. Its title, Why immigrants don't cheer for the U.S. soccer team". As a matter of fact, this is the second article I have read from you in such newspaper.

As a Dear Abby writer would say: I have never written to a columnist. However, I was compelled to do so because I feel you express so well the nuances of being a latin american in this country. I also felt a certain kinship with you since my daughter Gabriela Santis is a student at the Latin American Studies graduate program at UCLA. I do know she approached you once, since I had commented on you and had sent her that first article.

I want to congratulate you and to request from you more articles about the feelings and ideas of the thousands of latin americans, male and female, who have made this country theirs and the dichotomy they experience in trying to be part ot this society and keeping that spot where our identity resides. Something as you so well express, it is not so mutually exclusive. A place that it doesn't matter how much some try to forget , some us have decided to keep forever latin.

Do you have a compilation of your articles somewhere? I would appreciate it very much if you let me know since I think it would be very interesting for my daughter to read and be aware of the ideas of her contemporaries.

My response...

Thank you for your very kind comments. It is nice to here them after the barrage of negative comments I have received since the publication of my article.

Yes, I have met your daughter and she mentioned to me that you had forwarded to her my César Chávez piece. I am glad that you think so highly of my work and am humbled to know that you want to read more of my articles. Indeed, I do have a compilation of my articles available online. You can find them at www.geocities.com/ronmaydon Editorials is just one of the many subjects I have written about; I am mainly a music writer. In addition, I maintain a list where I send updates whenever I have a new article published. I keep it for my friends, but if you would like to join it, please let me know and I would be more than happy to include you in it. Thank you once again for your encouragement and remarks.
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I have to be a shameless self-promoter when it comes to my writings. For everything else, I am a diamond buried in a cave