I haven't been blogging much, nor reading blogs as much as before because there has been this conversation in my head and with my peeps about what are we really doing with the blogs and most recently a new magazine/newspaper called Brooklyn and Boyle.
The conversation basically goes like this: What is our point in writing about Boyle Hts or our Eastside in general? To counter the false hipster Eastside? To tell people to come and visit/gentrify/move into our areas because we live here, we can write blogs, went to school and so now it is safe?
It really got me thinking that we are helping to gentrify and alter the fabric of our communities. Ooops there is the buzz word "community."
We live in this community, it has been here before us and we came to be a part of it.
Many have begun to write and think that we need to create a community because it's not here. Only when there are others who write, went to school, like the same art and music and we take up a space and hang out will we have a community. How colonizer is that???!!!
Some of the spaces are like forts, art outposts, so to say where the natives aren't welcome, kept out by big gates or overpriced beer I can get for $2 next door.
I read in the first Brooklyn and Boyle a piece by a woman saying to come 'discover' Boyle Hts. WTF??? DISCOVER!!! We have been here, just cuz you just got here we are discovered? How colonizer is that?
We seem to have a lot of colonizer thinking in us. I know I do.
Even Luis Rodriguez's piece in the same issue struck me as an Ethno tourist map. I love Luis Rodriguez but when you write about a living and breathing place in the past tense as if people can now feel safe and its ok to go there because he was there, it felt like yuck.
BH has been here doing fine without the art spaces, the galleries, the cafes, the hipster-o newspapers, as a community for Raza who work, raise kids, have parties on the weekends, eat at the great restaurants and go to the beautiful parks. Why do we feel we need to let the world know we are here? Do we need their approval? Are we lacking tourist dollars?
I'm at home here. I don't tell peeps what is in my kitchen, the art I have up, the people that visit me. Well maybe in a way that is what this blog has been.
I'm thinking instead of selling our area to fit into some idea of community, what we as writers from areas like BH need to do is start telling the world how we see the world around us. No one ever asks us what we think about Palestine's fight; Obama-landia, or right wing Christians. No one ever asked us if it was now safe to come and visit our home, yet we can't stop selling it.
(I'm going to visit some exotic area like Reseda and write about the cool stuff I discovered like the Vietnamese Vegan Pho spot on Sherman Way and how straight their streets are.)
I guess I'm repenting for writing in this blog about Al and Bea's and other spots I love around here, they are doing just fine without my pimping them.
The other day I went to a spot and the owner's son was chatting with me. I told him about the changes that are coming due to the trains and gentrification. He didn't even blink. He just looked around at his packed restaurant full of families with kids, viejitos and mariachis taking a break and said, "I'm not worried about it. We got our regulars."
Indeed maybe us writers/artists/community builders (more like blind to community) are making this bigger than it needs to be. The regulars will be here, all visitors will come and eventually go.
As Anzaldua wrote: "This land was Mexican once, Indian always and will be again." I guess I can say this land was/is colonized Chuppy once, Raza always and will be again.