Wednesday, December 30, 2020

For Peace and Trust Can Win the Day Despite All of Your Losing

Maybe it was a refreshing distraction from all the ugly reality we're living in right now but during the full moon the Hilaria Baldwin story popped in to my orbit and I held it like a sweet baby.   Knowing nothing about her, at first I took her side in the kind of ignorant argument you can only have with your partner of too many years during your morning intake of too much caffeine.  P introduced the story to me the night before with video footage back up and his version of research.

The story is quite fascinating when you really break it down.  On the surface it's all a bunch of silliness.  Some unknown girl takes on a more exotic persona maybe because she and apparently her family just love the culture so much of Spanish people. She meets and cons an iconic celebrity liberal with this alluring Latina facade and lives successfully ever after.  Until, one day, a couple of chance circumstances blast light onto the whole farce.  Truth has a way of popping to the surface no matter how much you push it away and with all of this evidence a click away, I'm super surprised it has taken this long.  I had no idea how many times she'd milked this cow, on TV even!

She has absolutely zero Spanish blood.  She comes from an upper crust Boston family and lived in a 4 Million dollar mansion on Beacon Hill until her parents moved to Spain after she was 20 and she moved to New York to attend NYU at 19.  They visited Spain.  Visited!  No matter how much you speak Spanish in your all white home, and I don't know why you would, seriously, I still don't believe you'd form a legitimate accent.  And unless you visited Spain every day for all of your childhood, do I believe you could ever forget how to pronounce the word Cucumber.

Still, I figured, there is no law saying you can't fake an accent.  Although, cultural appropriation is definitely frowned upon especially when you use it for personal gain.  And being featured in Latina magazines and hailed as a successful immigrant, definitely falls into that category.  She claims she had no idea ALL of these publications and sites claimed she was born in Spain because she never read the articles.  Because when you're featured in a major publication, why would you bother right?  Busy woman, I get it.  

All signs pointed, at the very least, to a clever opportunist.

After reading much more about her than I ever wanted to know I settled on my list of charges.  Misleading the public, cultural appropriation, impersonating someone more interesting,  and perhaps the worst, naming her children Spanish names that they'll need to live with as a reminder of their mother's self indulgent fantasy. So, it's a deliberate, long running grift as P could not quit pointing out to me.  

I work with mostly all real immigrants that are bilingual.  Most of my customers are immigrants that are bilingual.  I see their very real struggles, extremely hard work and constant efforts to gain the American Dream.  This girl could not be farther from all of these ideas.  

I thought back on growing up in the Midwest as a Mexican-American and how coincidentally we had to say we were Spanish in order to be accepted even in my East End crackhead, incest-filled neighborhood.  And then moving to San Francisco where I was shamed for not owning my woman-of-color crown, or even realizing I had one.  Later in New York, shamed for not knowing how to speak Spanish by some and not being ethnic enough for others to call myself anything.  Nothing I lost sleep over but it's all part of me.  At times I would have done anything not to be different than my friends but now embrace the bits there are left of my third generation culture.

It's so easy but I really do hate judging people.  Still, after all we've been through this year, I can't help but get a weird kick out of all of this.  In fact I learned a new word from P to describe it, Schadenfreude; Experiencing joy from the misfortunes of others.  In a world more divided by the have and have nots, it's hard to have a lot of compassion for the elite, the rich, celebrities especially opportunists but in the end, I guess that's exactly what we're supposed to do.  If you only had to have empathy for the people you like, we'd all be enlightened by now.   I do agree this young, woman did a lot of wrong and her beloved liberal celebrity husband probably realized this week that he got duped for years and it's all being televised in real time.  They'll figure it out and will be just fine.  I would suggest giving a huge load to an organization to help real, Latin women to come up in business.  Now, our only question is the next time she rolls that Rrrrrr or slips in her little accent will they both go silent for a brief moment before carrying on?

Riding with the Wolf Moon home, I stopped to howl at a light.

Earlier at work, I ate lunch looking out onto the harbor
Lady Liberty waving the torch to give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, the tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door. 

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