August 25, 2006

First Person:

Your beanie may look like a turban

By Al Carlos Hernandez

The subliminal fear of another terrorist attack lingers like a rabid cockroach on our emotional radar. We have to live our lives differently, now that we know there are people who hate Americans, whose stated goal in life is to do us in. We know that our homes businesses and means of travel can come under attack, this puts most people on edge and less trusting, we have become a nation of New Yorkers.

In public, we vocally disagree about the war, but basically agree that we support the soldiers. And the terrorist’s, from the Liberal point of view, should be given a “Time Out.” Conservatives believe, that for Terrorists, “Time is up.” I tend to lean to the right when someone tries to punk me. Let me restate that I, like most working class Males, leads with the right when someone tries to punk me.

I have looked at pictures of suspected terrorists on-line, and I don’t know about you but many of them look like Latinos. We have a close home girl Middle Eastern friend who I advised for the next few months to tease her hair up; wear heavy mascara with wing’s and sport baggy clothes. I have also advised her to change her name to Miss Mimi Cilantro. It’s worked; no cops have sweated her for a year. Believe it or not, a healthy Spanish accent, or a Black cent, might be a good thing if you catch a shakedown. Bottom line is, Latino’s cannot be terrorists because we love this country so much we sneak into it, and we can’t do math or follow complicated directions on time.

The frustration in the war effort is to identify who the true enemy is, when the enemy is a faceless coward who strikes defenseless civilians. There is a danger that we don’t displace the angst, and execute wrath, or instigate a protective reaction, as the military likes to say, on the undeserving. I heard it said that people don’t blame all Gringos because the traitor Tim McVeigh was white; his race had little to do with his twisted convictions. We shouldn’t blame all Middle Eastern folks because the Bobosos Bin Laden is our nation’s number one enemy.

Just because you are an ethnic person doesn’t mean you can’t be a racist. Home folks can be racial just like the other guy, too dark Indio, or too light Güero. It’s time for Latinos, whose culture is formed from a blend of all races, to break the American paradigm of racism and forge a new post ethnic society based on homogenous tolerance and understanding. The recent census indicates that Latinos are not only the largest minority group but the youngest as well. Latinos come in all shapes, shades and sizes.

I walked into a meat and potato restaurant recently and got a hushed look, and it wasn’t because I’m cute either. It was the same look I used to get when my hair was down past my shoulders. I wore a black leather sport coat and sunglasses; they mistook my look of hunger for anger, my aggravation for not being seated at our reservation time, I was deferred like a militant zealot who wanted a cup of goat milk and a jihad to go.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very suspicious of dudes that look like me myself. Who knows if Osama shaved his beard, he would look like a shot to the curb European basketball player. Make no mistake about it, if any Harley rider found him, we would get our money.

I catch myself meandering through the mall, pointing out to my wife which Homies look like terrorists. It is ironic that some of them end up being my kids’ former classmates and Chicanos with super sized beanies.

What is daunting about the pictures of the terrorists is that they don’t look crazy, just focused. They don’t mean mug the camera or toss up their sets, they look normal. The rectangular grouping of their picture could easily be a glee club, math scholars, or a convenience store managers bowling team.

The real crooks don’t look shady anymore, take for example the president of Exxon with his 400 million dollar bonus fish egg eating grin, which was funded by 3 bucks a gallon at the pump.

Discrimination, prejudice and racism is always wrong, and if we buy into it, even under the guise of born again patriotism, we will unwittingly endorse the exclusionary process, that will surely come back and bite us in the end. The enemy seeks to divide and conquer us; the battlefield is in the mind. We need to recognize and categorically reject racial profiling in its simplest forms.

A beanie can look amazingly like a turban to someone ignorant enough to have learned how to hate anyone who has the nerve to wear a hat.

Al Carlos Hernandez writes from Hollywood.

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