Maybe US Latinos should thank Katt Williams for his 7-minute Mexican rant in Phoenix last week since it had raised some very interesting issues regarding the complexities of being a US Latino in the 21st century.
Hector Luis Alamo, Jr
The latest debate has now shifted to Hispanically Speaking News, which published a post on August 31 by Hector Luis Alamo, Jr., that led to another comment of protest on September 1 by Jerómino Blanco, National Commander of the Brown Berets.
Here is a just a sampling of what Alamo wrote on August 31:
When I thought about what Katt was actually saying, at least in the video, I realized that I agreed with most of it, if not all of it. In fact, what he said on stage reminds me of an argument I once had with a couple close friends.
I’m a first-generation American, the son of a Honduran mother and a Puerto Rican father. The two friends I argued with are Mexican immigrants, and on the heels of a recent trip to their homeland, they were explaining how much better it would be to live in Mexico than in the United States. As someone who is proud of my heritage but prouder of the places I physically come from, I told them that if they truly felt that way, then they should live in Mexico. They told me that they were waiting to get a proper education and amass a small fortune. This, of course, angered me even further.
I asked them how they could talk so poorly of a country that their parents had sacrificed so much in bringing them to. I asked them how they could badmouth America while planning to receive their educations and earn their livings here. That seems like dissing your own girlfriend: if you think she’s so terrible and you have someone better in mind, then why are you still with her?
Personally, I wave the Puerto Rican flag during the annual celebrations and sport my Honduran jersey whenever there’s a good soccer game on TV, but I consider myself an American first and foremost. My allegiance is to the red-white-and-blue, and it’s unthinkable to me that an immigrant to this country should feel and act otherwise.
I think that’s what Katt was trying to say on Saturday, although he said it like a belligerent idiot. Still, he wasn’t being a racist, just acting like one.
As a citizen or not, a person in the United States has the right to wave whichever flag they please, but it takes real chutzpah to claim a love for any foreign land and its flag over this boundless nation and its Star-Spangled Banner. This may not be the land that birthed you, but it’s still the land that received you and put food in your belly and rights in your back pocket.
I know I’ll get a lot of flak from my fellow Latinos who think that Katt’s performance on Saturday will only embolden the Tea Party movement and other right-wing kooks. (Do they even need encouragement?) I really don’t care. There are likely a few undocumented immigrants who agree with Katt.
This is America: either love her or leave her.
Blanco replied with the following on September 1:
I am the National Commander of the Brown Beret National Organization. We have been fighting against racial discrimination towards people of Mexican descent in the U.S. since 1967. I am writing you this in protest against Hector Luis Alamo’s article agreeing with “comedian” Katt Williams racial rant against Mexicans in the U.S. because it shows him to be racist towards our people.
By agreeing with him, Hector Luis Alamo, though a Latino himself but not of Mexican descent, shows his also racist attitude toward our people and should not be employed by you or any other public venue.
Please consider this. If something is not done about Hector and his racist beliefs, We will organize protest at your front doorsteps.
Please feel free to contact me should you want additional information.
Alamo then with some points to Blanco that are basically summarized as follows:
In closing, Katt Williams’ comments this past weekend were not racist in the least, only nationalistic; and nationalistic in the most reasonable form. I do not think it is wrong of any American to expect that the people who immigrate here will pledge their unfettered love and energy to this great project called “America.”
For any immigrant to pledge their affinity and allegiance to a foreign country is simply wrong.
So what do you think? What does this whole issue mean to you?