It makes me laugh, and cringe, every time I hear about some ?Hispanic,? usually from the Southwest, who boasts of his Spanish lineage (the last one being Senator Ken Salazar from Colorado). New Mexicans and Coloradoans are notorious for this.
These folks usually have the typical Spanish last names and the physical features of most Latinos. Yet right off the bat they assert that they can trace their blood to the Spanish way back in 1583 or some other date from 500 years ago. When asked why many of them have dark complexions they say that it comes from The Moors; not from the Yaquis, Pueblos, Aztecs, Olmecs or Mayans. I guess claiming a European background makes some people feel that they belong on a higher rung in our society.
Well, I?ve got news for them; the great majority of Latin/o-Americans can also claim Spanish origins. In my opinion this shouldn?t be seen as some sort of badge of honor, or something to be ashamed of either. It is merely a fact.
The difference is that most of us fully comprehend that our Spanish ancestors, at some point, clearly intermingled with the natives and thus we, the Mestizo was born. This was hard to avoid since Indians from the present day Southwest down through Mexico vastly outnumbered the Spanish. You really had to go out of your way not to mix with the tribes people of the Americas.
What?s so amusing is that many of these New Mexicans and Coloradoans who so adamantly cling to their Spanish blood, have lived in the same poverty stricken barrios for generations, proving that they?ve been discriminated against just as badly as any ole Mexican. Their misdirected pride really hasn?t gotten them anywhere.
In the 1970?s the legendary golfer Lee Trevino often asked ? Why aren?t there any Mexicans who make more than $50,000.00 (around $100,000.00 in today?s economy) a year? Always answering his own question, he would say, ?Once a Mexican makes that kind of money he becomes Spanish.?
I?m happy to note that things have changed and this doesn?t seem to be the case any longer, except of course, for those blue blooded New Mexicans and Coloradoans who will never allow themselves to be lumped in with all of the other regular Mexicans.
Alejandro J. Diaz:
Alejandro J. Diaz is a free-lance writer and filmmaker who has no problem at all with his Mexican blood.