In this nation of poor, blind fools led by rich, ruthless fools, we are under the illusion that “we” are white, Christian, western Europeans. Regardless of our own ethnic ancestry, we have always done our best to make the children of poorer immigrants regret their ethnic origin and exalted the foreign chíc of well-to-do newcomers to romantic excess.
At this moment, across the land and in media, we institutionally suppress expression of Spanish and Latin American native heritage and language. Descendants of these native Americans receive benefits for signing documents in which they describe themselves as “Latino” or “Hispanic” and then there are others we pay to call themselves, “Native American”, setting up another distinction in institutionalized discrimination.
Public school policies in California demean Hispanic tradition and teachers of Spanish-speaking ESL students are generally ignorant of the wealth of world literature that has been written in Spanish. Children learn to be ashamed of their appearance and heritage.
Long before Miguel Cervantes invented the modern novel and well before Gutenberg invented miniature metal type, the syntax that underlies the Spanish language was born in Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, Greece, Carthage, Babylonia, all of which together contained more wisdom of life and nature than has been since scientifically discovered.
Sub-Americans, who make up 40% of our population (80% where I live), don’t know that our numeric and musical notation, mathematics and sciences of astronomy, physics, biology and chemistry incubated in their language as they were incorporated, for the benefit of commerce, into the Iberian peninsula’s spoken tradition that we call, Spanish, the written form of which was devised by Jews at the behest of the Iberian caliphates that governed Spain until they were driven away by tribes from the north, organized for the first time under the banner of Christianity by henchmen of Charlemagne’s dominion.
English is a wonderful language and my own. It amalgamated voices of Norsk sprog with Latin derivatives. Spanish, derived from Arabic, Latin, Persian, Greek and other sources is a more sonorous, sensual and emotionally expressive tongue. Castillian friars made the native Americans they enslaved learn Spanish for pragmatic reasons. They were not invited to explore Spanish literature–what good is a slave who thinks he is a human being? Here, in this town in California, where I live, 100,000 our of 130,000 citizens speak Spanish and wonderful works of Spanish literature gather dust on the shelves of libraries, ignored by those who still have the most to gain from them.