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Pomona Pochos on the Move

April 29, 2011

This blog began as an effort to describe, understand, and think about being pocho in/while traveling. Arriving and dwelling in spaces that were Mexican, a distinct form of Mexicaness than that of Pomona (California), opened up ideas about migration, identity, class, etc….

It is in this vein that I post a wonderful email from a fellow Garey High School alumni. Alberto, a Pomona pocho who moved from Pomona to New York City to Brazil is a good friend of my sister’s since high school and has become a good family friend….bueno ay les va. To learn more about Alberto’s projects go to

On Real Surroundings: Notes from Brazil

by Alberto Duarte

1. South America loves México. Unlike in the United States, with a racist anti-immigrant cultural mainstream and all of its subsequent shit, South America speaks of México with enthusiastic smiles. In Brazil, for example, Chavo del ocho is wildly popular and one of the most watched shows in Brazilian history. In Chile rancheras are commonly played at weddings and other special ceremonies. The Simpsons is translated into Spanish in a Mexican dialect and more than a few folks from Argentina have remarked on this with laughter. Not to mention the overwhelming migration of South American artists to D.F. during the ruthless dictatorships of the 20th century across most of the continent, which helped forge a sort of poetic allegiance between México and the rest of Latino America. The Cholos in Bolivia are mad smart. Reclaiming the colonial word, they are articulating some legit political projects.

2. Obama is not welcome in Brazil, at least for those who have not suffered from the mass amnesia that infiltrates the myopic optimism of Brazil’s current capitalist growth spurt. It seems that people have forgotten that U.S. interests in Brazil have led to particularly heinous instances of exploitation. Recently, a friend who lives in Copacabana told me that colleagues of his at the Federal University in Rio had uncovered startling evidence of modern day slave labor in the sugar cane ethanol industry, an industry controlled mostly by foreign investors from the U.S.

Jair Bolsona is a prick. He is Brazil’s most outspoken and ultra-right congress person who has recently attracted controversy over some blatantly racist comments when speaking to Gilberto Gil’s daughter, Preta Gil. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Gilberto Gil is thoroughly a bad ass. He, along with a handful of Brazil’s more vibrant, led with music, a popular movement that resisted the military dictatorship and explicitly sided with LGBT and antiracist struggles in Brazil and around the world. The following music video is both of that time and timeless, both strikingly relevant and universal in its beauty. Behold…( Video Link – Till this day Jair Bolsona defends the murderous dictatorship that censored Gilberto Gil and Chico Buarque in this video. His homophobic and racist comments (often going unchallenged) are matched in disgust only by his boldness to defend those comments. He is an alien pest that threatens the natural vitality of our groundwork for the future. Write his name down, and if you get the chance, restrain him and put him away somewhere. But there are others.

4. On April 6th, just a few of weeks ago, in the suburban neighborhood of Rio in which I reside, a young man walked into a public school and shot and killed twelve children before killing himself. The T.V. says this 23 year old man, a Muslim, was obsessed with anything involving terrorism and closely watched American news casts. It would be naïve to say that the monster is now dead, that the monster killed him self, without looking at the society that produced that monster. Thus, proper resolve is not to angrily punish the perpetuator, but to dismantle and reorganize the house in which he was raised. I see his actions directly linked to the influence of American media and foreign policy. In the U.S. random school shootings have lamentably grown common, but this incident is the first of its kind in Brazil.

Oh my friends, (I do not write in this tone to enemies), my hope is that we all learn to write and gather, pray and fight, and to not lose sight of each other in the dangerous milieu of abstraction. Although useful, I have grown to distrust words. In a world of sweat and blood, we learned first to hold each others bodies from cold than the names of our fathers. With this I leave you for more valuable adventures.

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