July 21, 2000

Poet's Corner

Minority Majority of the Southwest

by Rosalinda Salgado

In times of war or times of peace, it doesn't really matter.

Our poverty always exists, but it's worse during the latter.

A war requires labor that's cheap for the United States.

Peace just means our presence brings forth major political debates.

We're blamed for the border states' budgets being so damn high;
Yet we contribute more than we get from the states' budget pie

We don't get welfare, `cause we don't have U.S. birth certificates,
And we work for our food or shelter without complaints or regrets.

With pride we do the jobs that are demeaning to the average U.S. citizen.

Then we keep silent when Governors (like Wilson) offers us only criticism.

The 1990 Census shows Latinos work more, though getting less pay;
Yet we're accused of taking not giving by the journalist reports of the day.

We are the Mestizo race, who are the lightest in color to black,
And we seem to be the most popular race presently under attack.

It doesn't seem to matter that it was our ancestors on the American Continent first.

Then our European ancestors came introducing racism at its worst.

The result is us Mexicanos, Chicanos, Latinos, call us what you may,
And give us any language you choose, los chicanos are here to stay.

You can take away our present language, you can tell us we are wrong.

You can tell us to stop coming to where we don't belong.

You can teach our brethen that the word cinco is now and forever five.

Give us any language you choose we will continue to survive.

Our culture teaches that family will always be first in life;
But modern American culture has caused our families nothing but strife.

We may have to suffer for one or two short generations more.

But our rise to power is inevitable according to Aztec and Mayan Folklore.

So remember a Latino may have skin that is black to white;
But the best way to recognize a Chicano is for our family life we will fight.

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