Essay, Pages 6 (1305 words)
Mr. Jimmy Santiago Baca was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1952. He was abandoned by both parents at a very young age and from there he was forced to live from place to place and finally ended up in an orphanage until the age of thirteen because he ran away. Once run away he lived on the streets as a homeless person. He was raised by street people without knowing right and wrong but with a survival instinct until the age of twenty-one.
At the age of twenty-one, he was arrested and convicted for charges of drug possession and sentenced to prison for six and a half years until twenty-seven years old. It was in prison where he had the desire to learn and end up teaching himself how to write and read through poetry. During that isolation time from society, he composed poetry and submitted his poems to a popular magazine. Eventually, his poems where published. One of his famous poems is “So Mexicans are taking jobs from Americans”, written in 1979.
His critical vision through this poem towards social and political society; Baca expresses his concerns about how media is being used to manipulate society nowadays. Baca is writing this poem to three different social classes because he truly believes that different demographics are mixed and don’t have the same opportunities due to how media is using information around society.
Let’s differentiate first those social classes. In his poem Baca mentions black-browns which are poor. “Blacks and browns whose ribs I see jutting out and starving children.
” (21-23) Blacks and browns are seen by white Americans as aggressive and mercenaries. “O yes? Do they come on horses with rifles, and say, Ese gringo, gimmee your job?” (1-3) Horses and rifles represent aggression, brutality and ignorance. “gimmee.” (3) Gimmee is not even a word but the composition of two words “give me.” On the other hand, uneducated people will write “give me” as gimmee. People without education, principles, and manners are always taking and doing things their way without having empathy for others and without thinking about consequences of their own actions. “Do they sneak into town at night.” (8) According to white people, Mexicans act during night time like robbers because it is when they are not seen by anyone. “Do they mug you, a knife at your throat, saying, I want your job.” (10 and 11) Mugging represents delinquency and a knife at your throat is the act of criminal activity. Unfortunately, this is how white Americans perceive Mexicans and African Americans based on media. Racism is still present for all immigrants when it comes to white people. The most affected people turn out to be the innocent children. “Whose ribs I see jutting out, and starving children.” (22 and 23) “Trying to cross poverty to just having something.” (37) This is the reality for a lot of Mexicans. Mexico is a poor country with a corrupt government that is always robbing from the little that people have. These are the same people who come into the United States to take any job in any condition because anything is better than living in Mexico under corrupt government. These people will do jobs that Americans citizens will not do. Mexicans work from sunrise to sunset without complaining, sometimes with minimum payment because of their immigration status and are afraid to be deported to Mexico.
Baca mentions “Ese gringo.” (3) Gringo is a Spanish word that refers to white Americans. He separates two different whites, one is poor and the other is rich. Not all white people are rich according to Baca. “I see small white farmers selling out.” (25) With this line Baca is expressing that there are some white people who are hard workers as well. Those small farmers are trying to succeed and have a better life as well. Mexicans are immigrating to United States to have better opportunities for themselves and their families. White farmers are trying to sell their products in the small market and feel overwhelmed when they see Mexicans all over and feel that these poor Mexicans are taking their jobs away. “They are taking our jobs away.” (17) This is what the media is saying to the poor farmers and that’s the reason why they feel overwhelmed and are against Mexicans. Poor people are being manipulated by rich people. When I say “poor” I refer to almost all population including white, brown and black. O yes? Do they come on horses with rifles, and say, ese gringo, gimmee your job?” (1-3) The Media said to kill all outsiders and whites also said “I killed them because they were dangerous.” Mexicans are not coming with horses and rifles; Baca is using a sarcastic and exogenous tone. “Are white farmers shooting blacks and browns.” (21) Whites are the ones who are shooting, and being aggressive, criminals, and killers against poor people who are just trying to have a better life for themselves.
“Clean-suited farmers living in New York.” (26) This is about rich white people. This is the third social class that he mentions. According to Baca, there are white rich farmers who control everything and everyone. “I see small white farmers selling out to clean-suited farmers living in New York, who’ve never been on a farm.” (24-27) Baca is mentioning that rich white people don’t know how hard it is to work in the farm; but are saying that Mexicans are in the United States to take their jobs away. Rich whites want poor whites and Mexicans to fight each other; so they can never lose their social and economic status. “Even on TV, an asthmatic leader crawls turtle heavy, leaning on an assistant.” (12 and 13) Rich whites are very sick and heavy that they are not fit enough to perform the jobs Mexicans are doing. The elite want to make the poor whites believe that Mexicans are here to take their jobs away. The question is who wants to work in a farm from sunrise to sunset for under payment? And the answer is “Mexicans.” Then who are these rich people? “I see this, and I hear only a few people got all the money in this world, the rest count their pennies to buy bread and butter.” (30-32) Rich whites are the minority and they are manipulating the rest of the population.
Now let’s talk about what he says to those different classes and what is his idea to unite all people as one utopian society, if it is possible to exist. “Below that cool green sea of money, millions and millions of people fight to live.” (33 and 34) Baca mentions that whites, browns, and blacks are those millions and millions and this cool green sea is the symbol of welfare and prosperity. Just a few people have the luxury and the rest have to fight to each other for some left over crumbs. The majority are trying to cross poverty to have something in their pockets and offer a better living to their children. “Children are dead already.” (38) No one is killing children; but rich whites are killing the children’s dreams. If the children’s dreams are dead it means no future for them. Baca gave us a solution to this problem. “We aren’t giving the children a chance to live, Mexicans are taking our jobs, they say instead.” (41 and 42) Media is a very good source to broadcast anything nowadays. We should be using media for a better future. At the end of the poem Baca concludes that poor black-browns and poor whites should be united against rich whites to give their children better opportunities. Once the elite stops killing the children’s dreams, immigrants from Mexico will no longer have the need to come into the United States.