In a recent podcast for Grantland, Roger Bennett and Roger Davies reflected on Major League Soccer’s (MLS) current fortunes. After nearly two decades, they argued, the league had made it through the leanest years intact, financially healthy, and ready to expand its market share. Indeed, soccer remains one of the nation’s most popular youth sports and perhaps more importantly, among…
When James T Roane came to Columbia for his admit day visit, I said something like “this place kinda sucks, i aint gonna lie. But if you come here, we’re going to change that.” That was four years ago. And I still aint gonna lie. It aint perfect, but along with other students of color-Senia, Matt, Daniel, Jarvis, Kaveh, Melissa, and a ton of other folks-we’ve managed to carve a social and intellectual space for students of color. More importantly, we created an infrastructure that can account for gaps in activism and admission of students of color…
This coming Friday JT and Huewayne will be sharing from our latest collaboration, one that is particularly special to both of us. Not sure how it happened, but over the last four year, JT and I both began exploring the intersections of community building, art, and historical pedagogy. JT and Huewayne started doing art work out in Philly and Carribean and I did work in El Monte/South El Monte. This last Fall, they spent two weeks living with us, playing with Aura, meeting our families, and making art in South El Monte. As we constructed alternative historical narratives with South EL Monte High School Students, I reflected on our trajectory as historians. While we still have quite a bit of researching and writing, I think we’re closer to defining our role and responsibilities as historians of color.
Hope you can join JT and Huewayne this coming Friday, as they talk about their time and work in South El Monte and display some dope photographs of El Monte. Time: 6:15 Where: French House (in Front of Philosophy Hall), Columbia. Part of Columbia’s conference History in Action.
While most artists find their voice in the studio, Ramiro Gomez Jr. found his in the space between two very disparate and disconnected worlds. In 2009, he left the California Institute of the Arts and moved in with a wealthy family in West Hollywood to work as a live-in nanny and care for two infants. Although nervous about his huge new responsibilities, he was also grateful and relieved to finally have some stability and a chance to rethink his artistic path.
I started writing this blog back in 2009. My first post, “Why I root for El Tri: an Exploration of Pocho Mexican Nationalism,” narrated the experience of watching Mexico barely beat the United States in Mexico City. Like most Mexico-US games, that one was filled with its dose of heartache and stress. Soccer is one of the few things in Mexico that gets embedded with so much meaning. It’s as if it was Mexico’s last stance against the encroaching United States. As if it’s the only bragging rights Mexico has left in US-Mexico relations.
Looking back on 2009, it makes sense that my first post would not just narrate the game, but use soccer as venue to explore “pocho nationalism,” belonging outside of the nation-state. So when Mexico lost at El Estadio Azteca I was caught of guard. Shit, I didn’t even watch the game. I was at the park playing a 4 on 4 pick-up game with some Mexicanos. It was clear they saw the game, but I don’t recall them mentioning who won. There were just a few scattered jokes: every time someone missed a clear opportunity someone would call them “Chicharito.” I can’t even say I wanted to watch the game. After so many years of watching Mexico play I only really care about the World Cup. Olympics, friendlies, international tournaments, they don’t really matter. The World Cup matters and teams that matter win it. It’s that simple. You think Brazil is sweating losing in a friendly? Nah. hell nah.
This lose is historic, this is true. Mexico’s 75 year winning streak in the Azteca is gone. To give it the drama and heartache Mexicans love the goal was scored by a Mexican-American. Mexican-Americans have long been caught in an awkward position: do they play for the US or Mexico? Professor Alamillo research shows that Mexican Americans in Los Angeles played for the Mexican national team in the 1938 Los Angeles Olympics. Imagine that, the entire Mexican pueblo in Los Angeles rooting for Mexico (and you). While soccer in the US continues to privilege middle-class and elite families—it cost a good amount of money to play at the most elite levels—we are seeing more and more Mexican Americans play for the US national team. The documentary Gringos at the Gate (coming out this September) is sure to provide some great insight. High profile players from both national teams are interviewed. But what about us, the fans? What are we to do? As more and more Mexican Americans play for the US national team our position becomes that much more complicated. Maybe we can continue to root for the Mexican national team, while hoping that Mexican Americans players play well… just not well enough to beat Mexico in the Aztec.
Those of us north of the US-Mexico border constantly lament the quality of American mainstream media. Whether its the representations of people of color, the coverage of Mexico, drug trafficking, or the absence of significant social and political movements (in the US and Mexico). Academics, journalist, activist and bloggers seek to not only to correct misrepresentations, but shift the debate. We often forget that just south of the US-Mexico border journalist are doing similar work, but in a completely different context. Nuestra Aperente Rendicion is putting together a book to honor the journalist who have murdered or gone missing since July 2000. Please consider donating and spreading the word.
Author: James T. Roane
The politics of this event is to have folks talking about race, space, and place at CU and NYC in ways and at times that they might not otherwise. People of color, so crunched in the physical plant of Manhattan and NYC, desperately need shared spaces and moments of simultaneity. As the history of slavery in the Western Hemisphere teaches, people need both to organize revolutions. Stealing away in the interstitial spaces, the swamps and woods and importantly using local knowledge that the land’s indigenous inhabitants taught, black people organized revolutions in a scale from individual maroons, to whole maroon states, and to successful total revolution in Haiti. It is in this radical tradition of reorganizing space to reorganize time that we convene on Friday. Please join us at 4pm in front of Hamilton Hall.
In the spirit of collaboration and our effort to open up space for people of color we encourage you to send us a poem, rant, some words, a photo project, a twitter or FB status, etc. We’ve received a dope facebook status from Law School students, documentation of radicalism at Columbia from doctoral students/radical organizers at UCSD, an amazing photo project juxtaposing people of color with Columbia’s founding fathers (white, elite, males), a photo project on racial profiling, and security alerts from the perspective of black and brown bodies. Send contributions to to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org