Tuesday, November 20, 2012

BLOG POST 10 (updated): Where I am from (poem)

Oscar Alvarez
English 3241

I am from the tropics
from segregated Mulattos and Sambos
I am from the smell of sope and the sound of torogoz
from hanging palm fronds and summertime blacktops
from action figures melted in the sun and cocooned butterflies in untrimmed bushes
I am all of the history I was too young to comprehend
the politics I was too naive to care for
the religion I was too innocent to question

I am from dormant volcanoes and sunbaked hair
the ambient noise of street markets and wild life
I am rain and earthquakes and sunshine and dust
from the rolling R's that rumble in my tongue
from contradictory comanchero

The oversized runt who had to fight back
the cultured creature with an askew view
trained in the ways of beautiful savagery
No one comes up to you and gives you power
you have to take it

Analysis and master/counter narrative:
People associate El Salvador and its people as a third world nation with little to no value.
Central American nations in general are disregarded as breeding grounds for uneducated individuals and violence. As an individual who comes from a very peculiar background in said nation, I must say that the nation does fall into many of the faults other perceived it to be, but it is also one that is constantly overlooked.
I do not define myself by my ethnicity, nationality, or first language. In El Salvador though, the background of an individual marks them for the rest of their lives. My father was outcasted for all of his childhood and teenage years due to him being a mixed child borne out of wedlock. This sort of unfair judgment traumatized him, leading up to how he raised my siblings and me to fight through any prejudice we might encounter and to not be perpetrators of it also. My mother is also of partial Black descent, but her pale complexion shielded her from any discrimination. Blacks are almost nonexistent in El Salvador due to the civil wars that occurred in the 20th century, thus my parents' existence is quite the anomaly, the fact that they found each other and are both of similar mixed breeds is even stranger.
When I wrote this poem, I thought of the ways I experienced treatment of others when compared to my siblings. My sister is of a pale complexion and has very soft features, many individuals think she is Asian until they realize her hair is curly. My brother has a very neutral look, one that is not that attention grabbing by Salvadorian standards. When I was presented as a member of my family, I clearly remember it causing quite the stir. My strange complexion when compared to my parents, my odd semi blond kinky hair, and my strange ability to go from pale to dark vexed my teachers. The sort of misconceptions people had about my family and me led to much violence in my early childhood, one that is clearly mentioned in the end of the poem. It seems as if I was meant to relive my dad's troubles in modern times, but instead of pure discrimination, it was willful ignorance.

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