Friday, March 20, 2009

parts of a mural

. . .

These pictures are from a restaurant Gera and I like to frequent. In English it's called Little Frogs. I took these just before Gera and I were headed back to the hospital to see Isra.

The greatest times about being home is re-visiting well-known areas. More interesting is looking at the spaces where I grew up, how they have evolved--. Many times Gera and I will be somewhere and someone from either of Latino origin or black origin, usually a girl/ or woman, young or mature, will ask me: "De dondo eres?" or "Where you from?"


Last night when Gera, his sister and I were shopping in Fiesta Food Store, a young black woman who checked us out---and who dropped our tostados twice--maybe it would have been a third time had I not said, "Girl! You break'in our tostados"---said (mind you, not asked): "You black--.--?--" I said "Yeah." She said, "You speak Spanish?" I said "Yeah." She said, "But you mixed? How you learn it?" I said, "In middle and high school." In the meantime, Gera's sister who neither speaks nor understands English was looking at Gera and me because you see, faces can be read---I love the beauty in countenance---faces. Even if a person never says a word, usually their faces will say the world. Will reveal their feelings at heart. Gera of course is bagging our mayo, lettuce, peppers, avocado, cilantro, onion, garlic, tuna, sweet bread and some other stuff we grabbed, and smiling. Again. Then she said, "But you mixed?" I said, "No. I'm black." She said, "Dang" then paid out change to Gera's sister who couldn't help but ask before we made it to our van. "Que digo?" What did she say...

Gera and I mildly laughed because this happens often when we're out, predominantly in Hispanic or African American environments. I've been a curiosity, seen as Puerto Rican, Dominican, even Brazilian (i'm always reminded of my mother when this happens-she, who let me be and who refused to set me on the porch, put me in sun to 'brownin' me). For the most, my culture knows who's who, but of late (the newagers) are really uncertain because there is such an 'of late' mix of races. Really, I don't have a right to say 'of late' because there are those who are really directly mixed and who come way before my time: Booker, Douglass, Berry, Obama, Keys. The funny thing about the two formers is I never saw them as mixed, only as black. Now when I look at their photos, specifically, I look for hints of white. I always see, however, in past and present how beautiful and strong willed they each were. Really amazing figures in our American history.

When I was growing up, there was never a doubt, and Zora wrote about it best: if there is ever a doubt, look at the hair (although I love now that in today's presence there's really not any distinction, any telling...and *it is* rather mainly fun for me, smilingly so, because *I am*--my color--is a product of African and white French history. But, my daughter's complexion told the real truth about my origins, my soul.

I must say Gera and I do have a good time with the inquiries, and I always take note...for possible poetry, writings, LMF entries. And I always hope that my culture's young people learn to learn other languages. There so much possibility and opened windows in doing so.

Other than living up to the theme in the name of the restaurant, I wonder why the artist chose to paint the people's faces green? Of all colors...why green?

7 comments:

PeacefulWmn9 said...

Good question. Perhaps if everyone was green, the judging of a person based on color would disappear. Or maybe the artist just wanted to keep people guessing : )

ArtSparker said...

Good slice of life post.

& Interesting sychronicity, I hadn't seen your post till now.

flawsnall said...

@PeacefulWmn9: Yes, if we were all the same color, there would be less turmoil. And then I think...that would be boring...I'm enjoying this new, of late question of what am I... (a nappy headed light skinned black girl speaking Spanish)...

the one thing we can distinguish the green people by is their clothes and of course, their countenances in response to...

thanks for your comment...

@ArtSparker: I LOVE your little green character of Spring. I love the green fire-like hair! I'm still thinking about what's coming into or away from his hand. I haven't settled yet...

lilaphase said...

Well, the way the guy in the top photo is positioned, he actually seems frog-like, the green face only adding to his frogginess.

Nice post.

Wildeve said...

Interesting how people always want to categorize everyone- and are puzzled and uncomfortable when they are not sure which categories to use.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

it's not easy being green....or brown, or black, or white, or yellow....

the mural is evocative of toulouse-lautrec - i don't know if many of his people sported green faces...

I love fiesta in fort worth...always go to the fiesta on 8th avenue when I'm in town visiting family.... in fact I'll be in fw in april - in town the weekend of the main street art festival

i'm encouraged by all the blending of people & culture now compared to 20, 30,40, years ago......

Chrisy said...

Hi there, Wandered over here via ArtSparker's blog...what an interesting post you have here - I enjoy that way you are amused and inquisitive about other's perceptions of color...and the green people...well a number of artists have used this color for skin...think it's because it's the opposite of pale skin on the color wheel...some use it to denote evil..or witchcraft...others alienation...and many more I'm sure...thanks for this interesting read...