A Thanksgiving Day discussion of the word “Spic”. Should it be used?

I found an entry on Facebook about an hour ago, from a friend and poet Marguerite Maria Rivas: it went something like this:
“This is an article well worth reading, a response to El Museo del Barrio’s use of the word
in their recent poetry presentation, “Spic up and Speak out”
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So –I looked up the article.
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It is from a blog entitled “Literati Boricua: El Profe’s Guide To Poetics, Politics, and Papafritas: Leaping the Barricades. MMR describes him as “Jersey-born writer and “fonny guy” blogging on life and latinidad in the United States, New York & New Jersey, and the literary worldic”
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It’s an interesting piece –I recommend it to you.
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I gave the following response that I reproduce here. It is on a subject related to a bigger subject that is located somewhere close to the center of what concerns me at this stage in my life.
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“Thank you for your most interesting and extended remarks on the subject, which a friend, poet Marguerite Rivas, drew to my attention on Facebook.

Usually, I confess, I ignore these “you MUST read this” FB recommendations. Something about yours got me to take a look. Once in I then had the conflict –this looks VERY LONG v. This SEEMS TO BE an interesting take, quite profound, but RELAXED, from somebody who has thought a LOT and seen a LOT, on the subject. I like the use of apposite references that he has gathered….makes it authoritative….

So –thank you, my friend,… my good friend, that I don’t know….and would not be able to pick out in a crowd…..

AS TO YOUR CONTENT, I will confine myself to one observation, and will quote one of your “referees” to do it, who commented on the use of the word “Spic”:
“It was typically only ever used by ignorant people or racist folks,” said Raymond Daniel Medina, a poet and musician who spent his formative years in South Carolina. “It has never seemed an acceptable or respectful term. And almost never used by anyone remotely Hispanic.”

Well said, Mr Medina!

And here’s the BIG question: Why should an entire group of people –in this case Puerto Ricans+++– pay ANY attention to Ignorant Racists?
Why give this power to Ignorant Racists?
Why be victimized by Ignorant Racists?

Is THAT what you WANT to do?

I believe that parents should impart this wisdom to a child;
should try to explain to that child why somebody (–cracker or not–) so deficient (and Ignorant and Racist) would want to say something hurtful to them.

…Except, now we know it’s not hurtful anymore, right? At least, doesn’t have to be –only if we CHOOSE to give it power.

We poor crackers need all the help we can get. Maybe some Puerto Rican poetry or music would help, some wisdom, or at least some common sense. Maybe some humor would help us. Or some grace.

Or….oh, there are a LOT of things that could help us. Or, come to think of it, could help others, –all those other Ignorant Racists who play the same game with their lives.

[Perhaps I shouldn’t use the word “cracker” –I really don’t even know what it means; my sense is that it’s only function is as an insult in other people’s eyes.]

In any event, it’s probably not a good opening move with those “Ignorant Racists” to call them “crackers” –especially if our intention is to HELP them over their limitations.

Incidentally, it strikes me that the very word “SPIC” as a charged racial-insult embodies its own undoing, in that it relates to somebody who speaks English with an accent, which automatically, sui generis, puts them up a notch in the “speaks TWO languages” category…i.e. somewhat brighter than the “only speaks ONE language” crowd.

Oh, we could go on talking about this all day –all THANKSGIVING day– but now I want to Talk Turkey instead ( which doesn’t make me Puritan-leaning. I grew up in Ireland, but that’s another story…a LONG story that you can read about in my new narrative poem…just about due out.)

Me? I believe in kindness and being smart and in positivity. I have become a student of “What Works” –of “What REALLY Works” in this world of ours– (–there’s SO MUCH to do!).

I’ve become a “Do unto others” guy –not out of a “So you will be nice to me” weakness, but out of a lifetime conviction that this is what is best for me, for you, & for us.

And boy do we need it.

What do I call this approach: last year I came up with the tag “Stand-up Comity”.

Maybe you have a better one?

So –happy Thanksgiving. And –especially for you– Thanks-taking!


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