*Turns on Switchfoot Legend of Chin*
SOMEWHERE IN COLOMBIA — Alright fuckers, let’s do this!!
this is the bomb
that i’ve been waiting for
you finally lit the fuse
that’s in my head
I mean, I’m verifiably, certifiably, undeniably… white… right?
Even government documents say that I’m white… I know when you see me, you may see Brown skin… but I assure you… I’m white.
After all, that’s why I called myself Canin Applecore the Bastard Savage. If the shoe fits, right?
I think I’d rather play around
And I think I’d rather watch TV
Cause I don’t wanna face my fears
I’ll watch the movie
Cause it’s not me
I’m just like everybody else
I’m white, right?!
But what does that mean?
And how have we arrived at this conclusion?
Perhaps we are defining entities by their negative space?
I am not Latinx… nor am I indigenous…
Ergo facto, I’m white, right?
Though again, we return to the question…
Why am I neither of the aforementioned?
The latter is easier to address. I was not raised within a defined tribal clan, and my biological family are merely campesinos… I can’t be Indigenous…
But I should be able to be Latinx by way of la sangre!
Yes, no, maybe?!?
Pero, no hablo español muy bueno… Siempre tengo obstáculos para entender… O pues, ¿lo que es que aun tengo un acento del norte…? Que creo… no sé, algunas veces los demás piensan otras.
Or perhaps it’s because I speak English so well?!? My diction, lexicon, and fluidity of speech, are all marks of receiving a quality English education… Only white people can talk like that and so… I’m white ~ right?
I can’t tell what happens next,
Just what I’ve seen
I don’t know what it means
But I’m holding on the edge of my seat
While truthfully, none of this really means anything.
As others have said, “The highest form of knowing is doing.”
And so the real question is: What do I do with this privilege of being white??
I haven’t made tons of money, quite the opposite; I don’t even have a college degree… I’ve helped some to laugh, made a few cry… I’m estranged from my child, who has been raised to believe that I’m a drug addict and deadbeat… as does my sister at this point.
Stop to think of all the
Time I’ve lost
Start to think of all the
Bridges that I’ve burned
That must be crossed
At least my real mom loves me.
It’s a long way from
The moon up to the sun
It’s a longer road ahead of me
The road that I’ve begun
Two years ago, I started teaching English. During my decade at the University of Minnesota, I took a few classes on the topic, one class shy of the TESL certificate. :/
Not only am I able to teach my students about grammar and pronunciation, but also about the cultural conversations happening across industries: anti-Blackness, trans-excellence, how AAVE has become embedded within the English language, and how we need to be mindful of that.
Then through this work, I have developed other mechanisms to help others learn English that are less cost-prohibitive. We’re on the cusp of expanding these projects, while my other classes subsidize the ability to work with folks in more rural areas, who might not otherwise have access to such training. English remains a highly sought skill in much of the world, one that can truly turn people’s lives in completely new directions.
But this is just giving people of my privilege, and forcing them to accept it. Because really, they have too few other choices… an easy misuse of privilege.
Take away from me
This monstrosity’Cause my futile thinking’s
Not gonna solve nothing tonight
And so this next project… Notas de Casa.
Another of my privileges was being able to come into contact with Latino Rebels, and Julio, many years ago on Twitter. It was my privilege to define a safe space for me, and guide our conversation to the point where I was permitted to begin publishing pieces through Latino Rebels.
This is a blessing I do not take lightly. To be accepted by Latinos was once only a fairytale fantasy for me. To write words that some in the Latinx community might read and find benefit within… who could have thought! That I get paid!?!
Could it be true
Can life be new
And can I be used
The next step is to share this blessing; but not by telling the stories of others, rather by giving them the opportunity to tell their own stories, in their own words, and paying them.
Notas de Casa is exactly that… the stories of those who remain in the lands of our forebears. Sometimes surviving, sometimes thriving, most often somewhere in between, navigating the consequences of Simón Bolívar’s revolution.
Lost buskers, urban and rural resisters, indigenous adventurers, culture recorders, musicians, misanthropes, family and community members—these will be, these are, their words, what they would like you to know, or to remember, as you walk around the imperial core, wearing our collective culture, in all its elegance, extravagance and enigma.
Canin Carlos (Culture Clap) is an artist, entrepreneur and educator. His book of poetry is called White Like Me, The Incoherent Ramblings of an Unmedicated Adolescent. He also has a code ebook called Rebel Coding. You can find him on your favorite social media platform as Culture Clap.