I just wrote an email to a friend concerning unconscious institutional bigotry. It’s quite common. We’re all guilty of this from time to time, no matter how virtuous and progressive we feel ourselves to be. It seems that attacking affirmative action has become a popular sport not just among conservatives, but also liberals, who feel, I suppose, that the struggles have been won. But the struggle continues. San Antonio is a great example. This city, as an incubator for the social experiment of ethnic equality, has made enormous strides since the 60s and the 70s. This city’s Mexicanos (be they US citizens (some who trace their ancestry in this city back more generations than I can count on fingers of both hands) or Mexican nationals (here legally or otherwise)) make up the majority of the population. And they had to fight for representation within the local political system. For the last couple of decades the faces of the San Antonio city council members has fairly well reflected the demographics of this city, in so far as gender and ethnicity. Maybe we’re even doing well with other categories such as socioeconomics and sexual orientation, but I’m not following local politics that closely.
Whenever I find myself in a group of people here in San Antonio, I often find myself doing a head count. I feel that something wrong is going on if the number of Mexicanos (Latinos, Chicanos, Hispanics, what have you) is less than half. I am also looking at the male to female ratio (though perhaps not for such elevated reasons). Because I often work with arts and cultural organizations on the south and west sides of the city, this is rarely a problem. Actually it’s not uncommon for me to be the only anglo in the room. And perhaps that’s just why I’m so sensitive to a preponderance of whitey.
There have been occasions when people ask why I identify so much with Mexicano culture. My answer is not very short. And it’s not very interesting. My usual response is the stock reply I use when people ask why I’m a board member of the San Antonio chapter of NALIP (the National Association of Latino Independent Producers): “Read the NSLIP mission statement. If you’re a San Antonio filmmaker and your body of work dons’t fit into this defined context, you might as well be making movies in Milwaukee, Canberra, or on the fucking moon.”
Anyway, art, narratives, story-telling, or whatever, is all deeply entrenched in place. And I’ve decided to hang my hat here in San Antonio. The hat is huge and shady. A damned sombrero. The faces, mostly brown. The voices, musical, just as often Spanish as English–usually switching back and forth. The bread is flat and round. The music combines accordion with electric guitar. And if you can’t conjugate “changer,” no matter what your skin-tone, you’re just another suspicious carpetbagger pendejo.
Okay. Here’s what’s bugging me. Right now! My wi-fi router has become password free. Anyone can use it. This happened because I never made a note of the password. When I set it up, I let my white macbook know the access code. But when I got my macbook pro I realized that I couldn’t connect to the internet via my wi-fi router. I had no clue what the password was. And there seemed to be no way to retrieve it. It’s crazy, I know! There was one easy answer. Reset the router. This allowed me to let ANYONE use my wi-fi. And so that’s where I am. If I want to stop this madness, I will have to buy another router. Or so it seems (there might be a way to retrieve this info, but I’m not finding it….). And, damn, it seems that there must be some wi-fi hungry and horny neighbors suckling on my bandwidth. A pox, you scofflaws!
I’m blaming my fucking neighbors when my internet slows. But there is also the problem that when I’m working late at night (like right now), I have both my laptops running at once, each using the wi-fi signal. So, there’s the additional problem of competing with my own bandwidth with two hogging computers. Hell, I’ll still blame my fucking neighbors.
Tomorrow I begin work on my Neighborhood Film Project movie. I have a few secret weapons. Three extraordinary actors, a kick-ass DP, and a special lucky charm I keep on my keychain!