Los Angeles Riots: 17th Anniversary

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Image from Understanding the Riots: Los Angeles Before and After the Rodney King Case, Los Angeles Times.

The events of April 1992 still remain fresh in my mind and it’s during the last few days of April that I pause and reflect on the state of our city. What’s changed? What remains the same? Being a fourth generation Angelena, this city is in my blood and my history is rooted in the streets, the asphalt and palm trees. I am part of this place for better or worse.

Last year’s post.

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Los Angeles Times readers share their experiences here.

How Mexican are you?

Prelude.

As a substitute teacher in public charter schools throughout Los Angeles, I have the honor and pleasure of meeting young students (K-12) – America’s future! – almost everyday. All of the schools I work at are 98% Latino/Raza (except when I get called to work in Inglewood, and rarely do I take the job – too far!).

I’ve worked in East LA, Northeast LA, South Central/LA, Pacoima, Inglewood, Crewnshaw, Korea Town, MacArthur Park and Downtown. The most fun I have and maybe the students have when I’m in the classroom with them is when I introduce myself. First, they have trouble with my name. “Kraus,” I say, “Miss Kraus. It rhymes with mouse and house. If you can say house, you can say Kraus.”

Then it goes into an impromptu Q&A session. “Where are you from, miss?” or “Where are your parents from, miss?” and sometimes just bluntly, “What are you, miss?” Elementary school students don’t care as much as the high school students. I say, “Guess.”
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Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!!

Uh Oh! If Mexico is on the shit list of the paranoid conspiracy theorists can the LA Eastside, which is considered the capital of all things Mexican in the USA, be on the shit-list too?

I don’t know about youse guys but mañana all my bacon, Jimmy Dean sausage, chorizo de puerco, carnitas, chicharrones, and even the head cheese and morcilla that I got from the matanza this last winter, is going to be fed to the dogs or given away to the winito’s down on the corner.

It’s starting to look like a holy jihad or a fatwa against anything resembling or having to do with Mexican. Shit it’s bad enough that Gloria Molina has got the anti Mexican forces all in a foam about the “Edward Roybal, Linea de Oro” , last thing we on the Eastside would want is the Rush Limbaugh shock troops campaigning for a total quarantine on the LA Eastside over this Marano flu.
Those culero’s might think we’re part of the “reconquista plot” to take back the southwest. Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
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Lies and Berries: Art Is Priceless Except When It Costs $1.75

BookSale. Two words together that make me smile, kinda like job and blow. I got up on Saturday morning, a lazy morning, the best kind. Exercise, wash clothes, check e-mail, blah blah. Looked at my calendar and saw that the week of April 12 – 18 was highlighted. Of course, National Library Week! Ok, they weren’t highlighted, just kidding. I promise.

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UCLA Festival of Books

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It’s extremely rare that I take a Saturday off because that’s when I make my money. However, since I had to call off work because I had an interview in the morning, I decided to make a day out of it and make my way over to the UCLA Festival of Books. I have never been to one and decided to see what it’s all about. I mean, I love reading books and comic books so this should be right up my alley right ? WRONG.

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East Los Punks

Animal, Fruit Punch and Sed

Sed, Fruit Punch and Animal

This is Sed, Fruit Punch and Animal. This is a Photoshopped/Illustrated version designed by friend and local artist, Benny Gonzalez. We’re planning to make stickers, patches and shirts.

I found these guys on First Street near Evergreen Cemetery. It was winter – January of 2008 – in sunny Boyle Heights . While driving east on 1st, I spotted the trio walking past Haru Florist with their $5 pizza from Little Caesar’s. I just so happened to have my digital point-and-shoot camera and turned the corner to stop this fashionably dressed bunch for a photo op. I remember the conversation vaguely but it went something along the lines of this.

Victoria: “Hey guys. Can I take a picture of you? I know it may seem weird but I saw you walking from like 50 feet away and I just had to stop because you guys are dressed so freakin’ cool.”

Fruit Punch: “Yeah. Sure.”

Sed: “Yeah, so how do you want us to pose?”

Victoria: “However. Just stand against the wall. So are you guys off-track? You go to Roosevelt?”

Fruit Punch: “Nah… (laughs)”

Animal: “Yeah, we go to another school.”

As I took their picture, I wondered what minority laws I was breaking by taking their picture. I also wondered what laws they might have broken. I wonder what laws I’m breaking now by posting their picture.

Link to original photo:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/victoriaemk/2657976077/in/pool-laeastside

Memories of a Lost Boulevard; JonSons Markets

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JonSons Market
4820 Whittier Boulevard between Fetterly & Fraser Avenues, East Los Angeles
Brooklyn & Matthews Avenue, East Los Angeles
Whittier Blvd. & Lorena, East Los Angeles
Whittier Blvd. & 20th Street, Montebello

Every payday my dad would give my mom her expense allowance for the week.
I recall that it was about $25 for all the groceries and necessities our household might need. My mom would grumble about what a cheapskate my dad was and she’d have to always supplement that allowance with her meager earnings from her seamstress job at Jod’is Sportswear sweatshop factory on Whittier Bl. & Vancouver Ave…. Continue reading

Race & Hollywood: Latino Images in Film

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Recently Chimatli’s blog “Glassell Park on TV” created an interesting dialogue about what is fake and hilarious to the eastside audiences in film and how others view these ludicrous stereotypes of Latinos as gospel. Yeah, you know who you are, my little eastside.com tourist friends.

So just for you—those that don’t have a clue that there are racist depictions of Latinos in film—AND you, who can afford cable television during La Crisis –tune into Turner Classic Movies (TCM) starting on Cinco de Mayo (Tuesday, May 5 at 8pm) for an enlightening learning experience about your beloved Hollywood. Via television you will receive a condensed version of a Chicano Studies class—but you won’t be tested until you say something dumb like “Everyone in ELA is a gangbanger or drug addict—-I saw that on a TV show!” Continue reading

Fiesta Broadway 2009

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This years fiesta sucked ass !!! It will never be as I remember it when I was a kid, walking around with my parents and sisters getting in lines to get free samples of things we don’t need and taking pictures with celeb look-a-likes. What happened to you Fiesta Broadway ? How did you lose your heart ? Did you even have one to begin with ? I know that the corporate advertising is part of you, but companies use to give out WAY better things. Now, your lucky if you even get a stupid pamphlet telling you to buy some crap you don’t need. Sigh… this years fiesta really was no different than last years and Chavo posted a good photo essay, which was ok I guess. I think mine is better, but I’ll let you’se guys decide. Sigamen los valientes !!!!!!!

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La Bamba as universal truth

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Edward R. Roybal – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ed Roybal (February 10, 1916 – October 24, 2005) was an American politician.

Inspired by El Chavo’s post, on the resistance to the Gold Line route on the Eastside being called the Edward Roybal “Linea de Oro” . I just shake my head a have another drink of wine. Here you have a route named after the great Edward Roybal who was one of the founders of the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), who was the first Mexican American LA City Councilman since 1870 or something, first Chicano US Congressman, the first Congressman to get bilingual education into the schools as law, a spokesman for all minority people and probably the greatest Mexican American political leader of the 20th century, from the LA Eastside, (and Roosevelt High), the Honorable Edward Roybal.

But no sir, wait just a minute, we don’t want to piss off Lou Dobbs, Walter (my car radio is speaking to me in Spanish), Moore, The Minutemen, English only nabobs, and the fearful of Latino power, lying sanganabeetches, who oppose any Spanish language in public.  Because in reality they fear to their bone marrow the rise of Latino Americans and see the name “Linea de Oro” as a threat.

What bullshit! Even though they live in a city called Los Angeles, in a state called California, have next door neighbors (Mexico), who speak the Spanish language, they piss their pants if anyone dare propose any further Spanish language inroads into the holy grail of Anglo America. Funny, because if you go to the ancestral mountain pueblo, high in the Sangre de Cristo Mtns.  of that great American, Edward Roybal, in Pecos, New Mexico, (where I was last week btw), and where his and other familia’s go back literally hundreds of years, you will still be greeted in the Spanish language, Hola! Que Tal Señor? Bienvenidos Señor, de donde viene? Ah Los Angeles? Oh, tengo mucha familia en el este de de Los Angeles, no quieres una helada Mano? Como se llama Primo? Gee how dangerous the Spanish language is!

And on the subject of the Spanish language here’s an ambassador of Español that instead of fear and loathing, as in some parts of Los Angeles, brings happiness and brotherhood all around the world.

La Bamba!

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La Linea de Odio

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I guess someone should have mentioned it here earlier, this whole thing with Gloria Molina asking for the new Eastside extension to be named in Spanish, but I didn’t think it was a big deal. I keep forgetting about the hatred people have for Spanish and Spanish speakers. In 2009. In a city of mostly Latinos, where half speak Spanish. I was planning on being outraged at the backwardness, call some assholes out, but fuck it, who cares? It’s just the monolingual ethnic white enclaves grasping at anything as they build up the virtual gates to stave off the inevitable: you will have to accept us. And the way we speak. Oh, I bet they are longing for those restrictive covenants now.

This shit is old and tired and repetitive. I’m used to it. I grew up with it. A second class citizen in my own country. My primary language mocked, derided, condemned. Taking the brunt of irritation as some annoyed monolingual bureaucrat is forced to talk through a child to communicate with his Spanish speaking parents. Authority figures that treat you like a criminal just because of an East Los accent. Newbies to the city thinking I’m the foreigner since they don’t recognize that accent. Even as other romance languages signify upscale. Yet a symbolic gesture to recognize one of the main languages on the Eastside, somehow that’s considered offensive?  Efaak eyuu.

I’m not going to get mad. Para tal baboso, sus babosadas. Look it up.

What you don’t understand is that we have defensive mechanisms, built from experience, to deal with this continued attack on our identity. What you don’t understand is that your streak of hostility will not touch us.

Sas!