Recipe for a mestizo

Recipe for a mestizo

A Story by Arnoldo Garcia

Historical ingredients necessary for a perfect migrant laborer.

Part One.
How to cook a Mexican-American

First, pre-heat oven at slightly over five-hundred years.
Second, destroy languages, monolingualize, monoculturize, monocropize,
harangue the people who speak them,
erase the lands they named,
give them names from other lands,
force them to flee,
make them forget their history my any means necessary,
make them speak languages which don't respect the lands,
make them die surviving,
make them believe they are ugly, everything they stand for,
every syllable, consonant,
every gesture,
the rough-hewn hands, their wrinkled hearts,
their ancient lungs,
the wind they create,
every iota of their ugly being,
steal their foods, seeds and soil and call them yours,
steal their finest words and call them yours,
steal their dances that stamp the dust into the sun and call them yours,
steal their music and call it heinous, heathen, devil-inspired,
burn their corn, their flowers and songs,
make them
forget how to treat their dead,
forget how to treat their elders,
forget how to treat the young,
forget how to treat the lovers,
make their sacred profane, their profane sacred,
the flight and wind of birds go north instead of south,
divide up life into hours, hours into money, money into life.
(If you cannot get fresh, unspoiled peoples, you can use the colonized as a substitute. Taste will be a little more historically stale than original recipe.)

Third, bring some dirt from the valley.
Pour into the water you erin.
Walk many miles to work.
Be too tired to rest, dream or be passionate.
Now you are ready to begin mixing the ingredients:
1 Palestinian worker
1 Yemini woman
1 Purépecha
1 mestizo, like yourself, but one who is a fervent Catholic (they are called by various names: half-breed, mixed blood, mongrel, mud people, greaser, indio, w*****k, illegal alien, immigrant).
They must all be landless and in some state of statelessness, homelandlessness, but not lost.
Tenderize by deliberately dragging them across oceans, suffer wars, disease, death of families, villages razed, make them work miserably in the fields and deny who they are to avoid problems.
Set aside for at least five generations.
You will also need:
Stunted purépecha sprinkled with swahili, nahuatl, pocho and German
No more than two years of formal education
Alcohlism, perfect pitch, ability to work long hours and withstand lynchings
Awe for nature, migrant campus, being stopped constantly by bosses, police and other state agents, harassed by landlords or anyone else who thinks they have more power than you or actually have more power or they're of lighter skin.
Make sure at least half, if not more, of the ingredients are women folk or else the taste will not be as bitter.
NOTE For a delicious variation of this recipe also add any of the following:
The Texas Rangers
borders and border patrols
greedy contratistas
greedier landowners
"No dogs or Mexicans allowed" signs
Teachers who beat anything that moves like a Mexican
Offspring that are kicked out of schools between the third and sixth grade and are made to work in the fields and aspire to nothing else.
Now, bring back the main ingredients when they have two children, name them Manuela and José.
Manuela is the perfect blend of mestiza. She is a curandera, a priestess who baptizes illegitimate children, knows the Bible backward and forward, knows plants, herbs, seeds, knows how to cook at least fifty dishes without measuring anything once, can hear tomatoes, chiles, frijoles, green beans, avocados, onions (any plant she cooks) sing on her comal (griddle), cooked all meals, worked full-time in the fields, took care of her own children, grandchildren, neighbors' children, would use our innocence to fight evil, ward off storms, nuclear holocausts, hurricanes and lightning storms with her chants, prayers and knives while we kneeled in prayer, cure newborn's moyeras, massaged away any pain stomach ache, fever; she would absorb all the dangers her sons and daughters faced on any night out at work or at play meditating for hours on end. She hardly slept; would go outside very night to pray in the still of star-filled skies; she would always remind us not to be afraid of ghosts, the dead, spirits when she was outside in the dark but be very afraid of living persons who could harm us. No one could lie to her; her eyes would make you stutter, weaken your knees. She always forgave, always loved; was a master of discipline. she had twelve children (six girls/six boys); took care of animals, constantly nursed birds, gave water and planted nectar for hummingbirds. In the fields, snakes would always appear in her row. She would shriek then laugh at her own surprise while the rest opus would jump up and away in fear. She has a man's name because her mother lost all her female children except the last five when she gave them men's name to fool death. From this she learned to name things by their names. She knew that one's name was the heart of culture and life, the blood of gods and goddesses and without your real name you would die before your time. When she dies she promises to come back, appear and give us guidance only in the dreariest of times; and she keeps her word.
José is an indio, an Indian, who has lost everything except being an Indio: A purépecha, cultured, cuadrilingual (spoke purépecha, Spanish, later English; and then created a language with a landowner who only spoke what we believe was German -- because we knew it was not Engish -- and because he taught the landowner how to take care of the land he was rewarded a job).
José begins working in the the fields, has the duty of burying the dead of his community during one of the many epidemics that hit his people in the mountains. His family is decimated; with his father he becomes part of the displaced indigenous communities forced into indentured servitude becoming farmworkers or like the Chinese in the U.S., forced into mining and building the railroad lines that run north into the U.S.
With his father, they reach the border and work in the U.S. several years. José is undocumented, illegal, Indio, witnesses wars and revolutions, lynchings, works every single day of his life, helps build churches wherever he lived in communities, knows how the plants grow, how the land is alive, how much tilling, how much walking among the plants is needed before the harvest is ready, knows how to live anywhere, find work anywhere, knows how to find any field in the middle of nowhere at four o'clock in the morning darkness, never complained abut anything only about not having enough time to be with us and he always lets us sleep as long as possible even though he gets up hours ahead to prepare the meals, the tools and pray for the day light. Patience, tranquility, meditation with a rosary every night counting the stars as his beads; he works every day until he dies in a field in the Lomas Coloradas, dies a painful death caused by pesticide poisoning.
NOW MIX these together while traditions and their peoples are being ravaged:
He's almost 25, she's 14. They are married for mutual life: everyone around them is dying from famines, war posing as revolution, pestilence. There is no one his age; she's married off to him so that her mother and sisters can hope to survive.
Bring to a boil and simmer for fifty years. Make sure the offspring number twelve before turning off the heat.
Serves to feed at least five constellations of families living in two different countries, five different regions, speaking in tongues, with varying degrees of recognition and monolingualism: U.S. citizens, Mexicans, Hispanics, coffee with varying mixtures of milk, sugar, cinnamon and fatigue, undocumented, pasaporteados, southern accents, tetanus, dispersed North and South, midwest, northwest, southwest, migrants all...
[1994 | El Presidio, San Francisco]

© 2014 Arnoldo Garcia

Author's Note

Arnoldo Garcia
This is a recipe for a revolution. Your DNA will become brittle, your soul will evaporate and your eyes will become shadows.

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Added on January 9, 2014
Last Updated on January 9, 2014
Tags: mexico, migration, indigenous, culture, recipes, faith, migrant, worker, laborer


Arnoldo Garcia
Arnoldo Garcia

Oakland--Matamoros-New York, CA

I write and scribble every morning over coffee, half- asleep, dreaming a different world or where all the other worlds come crashing in on the one that has me captive/captivated. I belong to many fami.. more..