Maybe Spike Lee should pick up a leaf blower! Or maybe do 12 hours washing dishes in a Chinese restaurant for two weeks, which is 14 workdays as we all know. Better yet, blow leaves for 10 hours and then grill burgers at Wendy's for another 8. I could go on, but I won't. The things he would learn from that would make one hell of a movie.
Of course, I don't know that from personal experience. My father was a surgeon in Cuba and my mother was a math professor. (Thank you, Fidel, for enabling me to be born in Nuevo York...) As Jews, we weren't even real Cubans, until we came here. It's nice to be a Cubano, though, if only in Miami, lol. I'm not complaining; this is just background. By the time I came along, papa was patching aortas at Cedars-Sinai and mom was was trying to instill calculus into young minds at CCNY. Heck, I was born on second base thinking that I'd hit a double. All in all, I'm one lucky little judio!
What you're missing is the 1950's - 1990's emotional connection between the Jews and Blacks. What's that got to do with anything, you ask? Well, the Jews run Hollywood. Thier/our story gets told, endlessly. I'm talking about 'Shoah' and about a thousand other movies just like it with a dozen new titles every year.
OMG, that's so racist and you're a filthy racist AND heartless anti-semite!!!
Actually, no. I mean, think about it; I'm not in a real good position to be antisemitic. However, I am lucky to be able to see behind the curtain a little. My sister, the accountant, works for Sony Entertainment and she got the job mostly because she's Jewish. OK, the ability to mark her down as 'Hispanic' probably helped a tiny bit, but that was just a little side bonus to an already done deal. Nice house in Westwood, etc.
The Jews that came over from central and eastern Europe a decade or two before and shortly after WWII believed that the Blacks were living in a situation similar to the pre-holocaust times in Europe. They needed help, so the Jews threw themselves into the civil rights movement. As the Jim Crow times declined, Blacks got better parts in movies and a very, very few number of jobs with the studios "behind the scenes". Portrayals of Blacks became more sympathetic and there were more parts. Then PBS got in on it and now every February, my wife calls that network Predominantly Black Shows.
Things soured a bit in the late 80's and forward; civil disturbances and that whole Black Holocaust denial thing started to fray the edges of what had been a marriage made in heaven. Several decades of government assistance with no results and that whole spitting on the American Dream didn't help, either. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know all about the Middle Passage. Tell that to refugees that had nowhere else to go. I'm here and I'm better off for it. If this place is such a miserable Hell on Earth, then why are we building that stupid, crazy fence?
Meanwhile, except for extremely stereotyped roles, Latinos (don't ever call me 'Hispanic') were invisible. And let's be brutally honest here, Mexican-Americans had/have it the hardest. When I talk to people about this here in Oregon, they bring up Desi Arnaz, Fernando Lamas, Rita Moreno, Antonio Banderas and Cesar Romero to rebut my statement. OK, I understand - anyone with a Spanish last name is "Mexican" here in Portland, but let's look; Cuban, Argentinian, Puerto Rican, Spanish and Cuban-American born in New York. Jimmy Smits? Nuyorican. Ruben Blades? Panamanian. Don Francisco on Sabado Gigante? German Jew from Chile, which has to be my favorite of the whole set of examples.
Enough; I'd just end up with more Cubans, like Delko on 'CSI: Miami'.
Don't like what you're hearing? So tell me, where is the Mexican-American "Roots"? Can we all agree that would make a SUPERB miniseries? I'd watch it just to learn more about Mexican-Americans, since I know very little. Example: when Selena was murdered, I was as clueless as my Anglo co-workers as to who she was.
The answer? All Latinos should recognize our common heritage and also our many heritages. Also, take a lesson from the Jews and do business as much as possible only with each other. This happens a little in Miami, but not enough. If anything, watch more "Spanish TV", but cut Arnold a break. Understand where he's coming from, mainly Austria with no English. I'll take it from him and only him, just for that reason. From his perspective, he's trying to help, based on his own life experience. He's clueless, but he means well in that particular case.
The Blacks? Brutal Honesty Time: think about this; if Mexican-Americans had received as many breaks as the Blacks since 1954, they would be totally ruling the USA west of the East Coast. OK, I know what a few of you are thinking, 'if the Mexican-Americans got the breaks the Cubans got...'. At the risk of sticking it to my own people, I have to say you are absolutely 100% right about that. We made out pretty well for our little part in the Cold War. Even the Afro-Cubanos who came here early and didn't "know" that success was impossible for them. Of course, they're not Black, as Barak Obama isn't Black, so they never suffered horribly. I guess all that sugar cane history is just some fantasy of my fevered mind.
BTW, I was about to write "got the breaks the pinche Cubans got", but I feel I have no right to use 'Pachuco slang'. Much the same reason I don't speak much Spanish with Latinos I meet here in Portland; the Cuban accent puts people off. I'll do it to help someone who has no English or their English deserted them under stress [it happens], but that's about it. I could probably do some good as a lawyer if I went in that direction, but I'm happy doing mergers, acquisitions and IPO's. Pays better, too.
As for "Zoot Suit", I own the DVD and the VHS tape before it. I always cry at the ending, even though I've seen it well over 30 times. I guess its that whole minority-within-a-minority-within-a-minority thing that starts the tears flowing. It's a story about a lot of us, really.
I just wish Universal-Vivendi or whoever is the successor entity to MCA would release the soundtrack on CD. I think everyone on this board would buy one.