Blog: Salsa and Patriotism

Enjoying Salsa on Independence Day, July 4th.

I recently wrote . The example I used was José Antonio Vargas who is a renowned journalist who has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The issue with José is that he came to the United States at the age of 12 as an undocumented immigrant, i.e., an illegal. As I read the comments on the Patch of as I asked myself do I define my patriotism and who I am as an American on the music that is played on the 4th of July or any other celebrated holiday? Of course the answer is NO! Just as José believed he was an American based on his national loyalty to the United States, I believe my patriotism to my country is not based on the music played on any celebrated holiday. It is based on the joys and freedoms given to me by the United States.

The word “salsa” translated to English means sauce; like the Italian sauce for spaghetti. Translated to music it means flavor and spice.  This musical flavor and spice did come from Cuba, however it was influenced by the slaves from Africa, by the indigenous people of the Caribbean, and by the Europeans who conquered the peoples of the Americas. The U.S. influence on salsa has been tremendous. There is New York style salsa, Miami style salsa, and Los Angeles style salsa. It has truly become an American form of music. Internationally salsa is viewed as an American phenomenon.

On July 4th 1,500 people, who are all Americans, enjoyed this American form of music. However, there may be some who don’t enjoy salsa. I personally would rather hear . Memorial Day is celebrated to remember the men and women who died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Is the Blues the best form of music to honor these fallen heroes/heroines? In memory of them I truly just enjoyed the music as hundreds of others did.

I currently am volunteering as a tutor at Cabrillo College for the Migrant Summer Program. On the day after the Fourth of July celebration I asked the students why we celebrate the Fourth of July in the United States. They responded by saying it’s Independence Day. They continued by saying that with our independence we have the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to assemble, and freedom to have control of our lives. For those that did not enjoy the salsa music you had the freedom to leave. You had the freedom to go elsewhere to enjoy the Fourth. You even had the freedom to complain about the music. However, for those who stayed to enjoy the music I would suspect they feel as patriotic and as American as you do. They truly enjoyed the Fourth of July dancing to salsa music.

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Cathy P. July 12, 2012 at 02:51 PM
FYI - "Soquel" is a Costanoan Indian word for “place of the willows.” The name Aptos may also come from a Costanoan Indian word for "meeting of two waters."
Victoria Banales July 12, 2012 at 06:14 PM
David, just because one is Mexican, this doesn't mean one cannot be prejudiced against other Mexicans (or against other people of color, for that matter). As I stated before, this is called "internalized racism" where a person of color may feel ashamed of his/her background/culture/ethnicity and sides with the dominant (white) culture. Think Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerly, or Linda Chavez, for example. Skin color or "ethnic" last names do not shield one from espousing prejudiced views, and your paragraph on Watsonville and tviews about Capitola's beach event and the insistence on ENGLISH only are in sync with xenophobic views and fears of the "other." More disturbingly, they evidence traits of internalized racism.
Wayne Green July 13, 2012 at 03:44 AM
I think that its okay for David to not want to be identified as a certain kind of Mexican. Theres a number of different kinds of Mexicans I imagine. Just because he's not gunjo about salsa or banda or la cucaracha makes no difference. What? he feels the Fourth should be English only?! Lets stone the s.o.b. he hates his damn self. So does that Linda Chavez loving mecissy gal. They've been internalized, since you dont like it leave David! Leave I say!
David H. Perez July 13, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Victoria - I am reminded of the Latin quote, "Cogito, ergo spud", translated, "I think, therefore I yam." In the words of Popeye, a great American figure, "I yam what I yam."
Cathy P. July 13, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Who's Linda Chavez?


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