Thursday, May 03, 2007

"Divide and conquer"...

...not the formula of "enemies" but a "poor minded" recipe for obtaining a corner in the market of ideas

There are two mentalities between the so-called "Latinos" or "Hispanics" regardless of which term one prefers. One is a bitter mentality full of personal resentments projected against a "racist" society where one may find all kinds of excuses for personal frustrations. The other mentality, although it recognizes the social problem of prejudice and racism, is a positive and constructive mentality.

The first, seeks to burn bridges, create disunity and paints itself as victim while promoting that mentality and living well from the same misery it criticizes. The second mentality sees in challenges, opportunities to build bridges and for encouraging heroes to cross them. The first lives out of despair, and the second lives out of hope.

Let's call the first mentality "poverty of mind" and the second mentality "constructive". The "poverty of mind" mentality sees faults in everything. It cannot recognize historical progress and lives in a past of broken dreams, whether personal, political or social. It looks at the world based on failed formulas and theories, and always expects the worse in order to prove that they are right.

The constructive mentality is always attentive to positive changes and considers how they may be applied to contemporary situations. It does not live from old ideologies or in worn out schemes in order to analyze reality and it gives the benefit of the doubt to those who think differently.

The "poverty of mind" mentality sees in the opponent not an honest human being with different ideas and experiences but a class enemy (even if they are of the same class), and an ethnic traitor; and for being mentally blocked they do not have the capacity to accept the challenge of different ideas and to respond to them adequately, but they have no recourse but to appeal to personal attacks.

The constructive mentality does not consider the opponent as a barbarian and therefore it argues against the ideas and not against the person. The constructive mentality celebrates the successes of all and laments the failures of others.

The "poverty of mind" mentality demands dialogue and debate but in reality it looks for a monologue to use as platform from where to silence the other. It claims freedom of expression as a human right but looks the other way when that right is denied to others of his group, if they do not share his ideology.

The constructive mentality invites to dialogue since it is not afraid of personal growth or of discovering the truth in any issue. And it searches more for what there is in common than for the differences that separate us.

The "poverty of mind" criticizes those whom by their own efforts and dreams build enterprises that employ hundreds of people, hospitals, philanthropic foundations, educational institutions and other contributions for the common good, while wanting to be included in their businesses. That mentality uses the means of communication to create rumors, create gossip, and foment false disunity and defamation. They confuse what a newspaper is supposed to be with a party pamphlet.

The constructive mentality creates, through the media, avenues for the expression of different points of view in our community about the issues that affect us all. It doesn't see in the difference of ideas a threat to the "union" that the "poverty of mind" claims to promote, but sees in those differences a rich and vital community full of real diversity.

The "poverty of mind" seeks shelter in a refuge of its own exclusivity and in isolation from the other. The constructive mentality invites those of the "poverty of mind" to reconsider and even to friendship in spite of the differences. "Latino" or "Hispanic", I'm happy to be on the constructive side, the American side.