Resistance Art: Immigrants Getting the Job Done

 

*The mixtape video we all needed. It’s a hard time right now, can’t understate that. Philando Castile, the healthcare bill, the deportations, targeting of Muslims during Ramadan, the environment destruction, the list is so long it’s almost paralyzing. It seems like the politics posts on Facebook at least in my filter bubble have waned a bit, bc it’s like, we know it’s not gonna get better anytime soon, but I know that there are so many broken hearts with a dose of toxic anger all the same from all the offline conversations.

But one thing I’ve noticed though in NYC, since the election, it seems like immigrants have been kinder to each other. Going to stores, Lyft/Uber drivers, walking in these streets, going to work, there is a strange gentleness to each other that I don’t think was quite there before. We don’t speak the same languages, we don’t share the same skin colors or cultures, we don’t really even have the same struggles (I’m totally cognizant of the fact I’m a light-skinned Asian whose is a natural born American citizen with a White collar job and what that gets me – I walked through customs in under 3 minutes with Global Entry yesterday – which gives me a responsibility to do a damn thing), but it seems we’re in this reality where we need each other’s kindness because of Trumplandia and a lot of the White Liberals who quite frankly seem to be want to be there for their racist cousins than for us, I get that tribalism, but we’re responding in kind with our kindness to each other in response to what is effectively state-sanctioned violence.

For some of you out there, I know you don’t feel this, but feel me for a minute when I say this cruelty out here is undeserved, and it’s real, and if you’re not fighting it, you’re complicit. Let’s get on with it. Save your kindness for those who deserve it and need it. We’re America’s ghostriders, and the former colonized in Europe built those empires. The credit is only borrowed. We’re going to cash those checks, sooner or later, one way or another.

*One thing I do want to call out some friends pointed out on FB – the misogyny in the lyrics and in hip hop in general, :(. Also, let’s not forget in the American context, most Black Americans weren’t immigrants and were forced to build the country for free and Native Americans driven off on the land that was theirs.

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100 Days of Resistance Art: Chicano Batman’s Rendition of This Land Is Your Land

I’m posting 100 Days of “Resistance Art” – music, poems, etc. that I’m finding to be inspirational to switch up the news feed.

I’m inspired by 100 Days Action of Creative Resistance to create counternarratives to the Trump administration, this piece by Marc Bamuthi Joseph: My Art Is Not A Bridge—It’s a Battery, and the “Disdain for Intellectuals & the Arts” line in the Fascism Warning Signs poster from the Holocaust Museum that’s gone viral.

Day One is remake of This Land is Your Land by the group Chicano Batman. Johnny Walker, to their enterprising credit on sentiment, sponsored a video shoot for the song in East LA. I love the Spanish-language verse incorporated:

“No existe nadie

Que pueda pararme

Por el camino

Del libertad

No existe nadie

Que pueda hacerme volver

Esta tierra es para ti y para mi”

As a native Angeleno, I feel homesick for that sundrenched landscape on a snowy NYC day, and I loved that so many people have been singing this song at marches.

Full version below and also available on Spotify: