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Two little Chavos got beat up, and we watched.

November 22, 2010

We slowly walked along the San Antonio River and talked about culture and resistance. Over dinner Cut’s professor had argued that cultural practices are only resistant if there is some threat, tension, or conflict. Isreal thought this allowed larger society to determine resistance…good point. I remained silent and enjoyed the conversation.

As we left the river in search of a bar to celebrate the end of a good conference, we witnessed two bike cops eagerly and quickly cross the street towards a group of kids. It appeared that two of the bigger kids were gonna fight. By the time the cops crossed the street, there were only two little chavos with their skateboards. Two chavos who clearly weren’t the ones who were going to fight. We hurriedly crossed hoping our presence might “check” the cops. These two chavos started walking away and the cops started yelling at them.  Yelling didn’t work, so they reached for their arms. They eventually shoved, hit, and slammed them on the floor. 

By the end of it all—the cops attempt to “stop two kids from beating each other up”-one chavo was in the back of a cop car, the other on the floor, and at least 20 cops and 5 cop cars blocking the street and sidewalk. The kids resisted being labeled criminals. They resisted letting the cops define staking a crime. They resisted the cops “right” to yell at them. They resisted the cops “right” to use force as they see fit. They resisted AS they were being beat. 

Cut recorded. Israel and I tried, with no avail, to get have the cops give us a number to launch an official complaint. We were ignored, told sarcastically to call 911, and straight up intimitated:  “you piece of shit, fuck you.” We walked away..

When we finally arrived to the bar we got into a conversation about the role of middle class intellectuals with a doctoral student. She argued that all of us will eventually be middle class and have an important role to play. I disagreed. I told her we can’t even define who belongs to our community. Thus, we can’t distribute rights, access, etc, etc, to our friends, primas, tios, etc, etc. As these two chavos got beat up our options were to join them in getting beat down or “bear witness” (whatever that means).

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One Comment leave one →
  1. C.S. permalink
    December 15, 2010 7:15 am

    “Calmate mijo”

    Just another day in the hood.

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