March 28th, 2010

wind

hasta la victoria siempre; or the Half-Jew Crew

I went running through the south Mission yesterday, wearing a bright red shirt with the UFW eagle on it, and

Apparently, after a three-day trip to the beach, I look Latino:

  • two, maybe three dozen Latino guys in identical long black t-shirts stare me down as I ran by Garfield Square Park
  • the littlest girl (perhaps three years old?) in a Mexican family of ten, out for a walk, tugged on her mom's hand, pointing at me, saying "¡mira, mamá, mira! César Chavez! Es César Chavez!"
  • A Latino gentleman in his early fifties, walking the other way past the hospital, thumped his right fist on his left shoulder and gave me the V-para-victoria, shouting across the street: "¡Sí se puede! ¡Hasta la victoria siempre!". "¡Sí!" I responded, but he apparently took the hint that my Spanish isn't that hot, and he switched to English: "Yes," he said, "it is coming!"[1]
A benefit of being in the the "half-Jew crew"[2] is that we are treated as vaguely "ethnic" -- Latinos and Eastern Europeans and South Asians are all equally convinced that I'm some kind of distant cousin.

[1] how awesome is it that la revolución is still alive for a 55-year-old Latino man in the Mission?
[2] the half-Jew-crew's most famous members are the Gyllenhaals: where I get occasionally talked to in Spanish -- or quizzed by Indian immigration officials about whether I'm Pakistani -- Jake Gyllenhaal, on the other hand, gets cast as the Prince of Persia.