Archive for the ‘culture MLK’ tag
They are all pieces of the vision for a spectacularly diverse and tolerant human race that belongs to Edward James Olmos which he shared with the Fort Collins community at the Lincoln Center last night. I would be hard pressed to say what was the most illuminating moment of the night. There was the potent opening in Spanish, the ideally desired but unfortunately never achieved love scene between Olmos’ European and indigenous cultures, there were the nostalgic stories of the barrio and her people, and the exceptionally funny representations of people brushing their teeth in the morning. Through his humor, passion, presence and narratives, Edward James Olmos spun a tale for the future and of our children, based in our present struggles and dreams and recounted in each of our lives.
From his self confessed ‘know it all’ twenties, to his more humbled sixties, Olmos expressed desires as far ranging as living until he was 120, a hope for people to treat each other so that we might all live sustainable and long lives and the eradication of the word ‘race’ as a cultural determinant from our everyday vocabulary. To all of which he asked the audience to respond, “So say we all.” Drawing on his experiences with and the lessons embedded in Battlestar Galactica, Olmos asked us to consider our relationships with technology, our relationships with each other and our relationships to our varied and diverse cultural his/herstories that present themselves in our bodies. Demanding more respect for the UN (they are the UNITED Nations after all) and presenting himself as ‘our worst nightmare – a Mexican”, Olmos produced some disturbing (for some) truths for the audience’s consideration. I offer them here for yours:
1. Culture does not equal race. There is one race – the human race. All else is culture.
2. There is no other person of color, other than Martin Luther King that the people of the US celebrate collectively.
3. We don’t know each other. It hurts.
4. All cultures and their contributions should be infused into our children equally.
5. We think we have it figured out now we have a black President and that is our greatest deception. We are further away from unity now than we have ever been because we think the struggle for it is over. It is not. We must recognize the worth of all.
Then there were the life lessons:
1. When you see a stop sign, look for the trees, flowers, birds and Earth (from his grandfather).
2. Infuse your kids with self respect, self worth and self esteem, for a cultured sense of self, before they are 5.
3. Have schools require a school uniform. Then the kids will know they are on the same team and are equal. It will not destroy their individuality but will build their collectivity.
Finally, the dreams:
1. Multilingual education.
2. Geronimo carved right beside the others at Mt Rushmore.
3. A Latina President.
After two hours of bewitching his audience, Olmos departed the stage to a standing ovation from his multicultural, multilingual, multigenerational audience. One of his statements though, remains etched in my mind…..
“I am African first, Asian second, Indigenous third, mixed with Europeanness and that’s what makes me brown. I am a part of every single person I meet.”
So say we all.