It is literally the divider between two countries. It is one of the biggest obstacles his parents had to overcome to seek a better life.
Crossing essay ruben martinez on I sensed that these journeys were momentous, imbued with profound and varied meanings. Shuttling between North and South, contrast occurred on every level of experience—language and landscape, religion and food, the rhythms of music and everyday life.
So I grew up in-between, and that experience—the constant negotiation amid signs from one side or the other—became the central theme of my life and writing.
Indeed, I remember hearing the word a lot as a child. It was probably my mother who pronounced it most often. She even invoked it in her poetry: As I grew up, this idea of a history and identity at once divided and united—which echoes to an extent e pluribus unum was both a source of pride and confusion.
I was not one or the other, but both. This was not always a comforting or even particularly logical thought, especially for a child.
I was the master and the slave? That was just the beginning of my difficult dance with the subject. As an adult in the United States, I confronted paradigms that negated my in-between-ness: Similarly, the diametrically opposed poles of Spanish and indigenous in a simplistic understanding of mestizaje seemed terribly limiting leaving out, for example, the powerful presence and influence of Africa in the Americas dating back to the early colonial periodand could not possibly capture the complexity of my consciousness.
In my early twenties, I voraciously read Latin American poetry looking for a mirror to my identity. Simultaneously snarled in my own! If you could only see how that movement Hardly fits now in my consciousness! When I was a twenty-something, Latin America and the entire world seemed to be bursting out of old molds.
A few years later, the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas, Mexico, declared that the indigenous past and present was not merely a colorful backdrop for the pageant of mestizo history, but its own autonomous narrative.
There was near constant economic and political turbulence. Directly tied to these crises was the movement of people—migrants, refugees, exiles moving from the South to the North, bringing new bodies, languages, and more.
I am the son and grandson of such people, a child of change. That is to say, we were taken more with the surface play of identity than with the profound forces at work shaping it. Now, breaching the line could mean a terrorist threat, so the United States built the greatest national security bureaucracy in history, with its watch lists, promises that technology would keep us safe, and a decidedly low-tech wall along some miles of the border between us and Mexico—not to say the rest of the world.
For reasons both personal and professional, I spent most of the first decade of the new millennium stationary in the North; the South became for me a place of painful memory.
I wrote a book about migrants from Latin America fanning out from their traditional corridors in the Southwest across the entire United States. I felt vertigo on the Cerro. But more than that there was the striking experience of difference—the jumpcut between Los Angeles and Mexico City.
I had spent many years as a writer and activist declaring borders and nation-states moribund artifacts of colonial history, that we were all hybrids and interconnected in one form or another.
So how was it now that I felt such fantastic contrast? We can talk endlessly about the experience of globalization and our transnational selves, but these have not done away with place or history. This constant production of difference was set in motion by the collision of two great worlds over years ago, the construction of new identities on a scale never seen before in human history.
A bewildering process that the Spanish had no vocabulary for, they ultimately turned to husbandry for the noun that would come to describe the sons and daughters of Old and New Worlds. The last anti-miscegenation laws in the U.
My in-between-ness, my mixed-ness, my mestizo-ness is a fact of colonialism. And it also represents hundreds of years of resistance to it—from early indigenous rebellions to labor movements to the agency inherent in the remaking of Old World culture in the New.
And in Mexico City I stood on the lavastone steps of the Cerro del Tepeyac, telling the story of the miracle of the brown-skinned Virgin of Guadalupe appearing to an indigenous man. Which is the story of conquest.Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail Rubén Martínez Metropolitan Books, $26 (cloth) Mexico has evolved from a sedentary country to a nomadic one.
Ruben Martinez embedded himself with a Mexican family and a Michoacán village to chronicle the way Mexican migration to the U.S. has impacted both countries and both peoples. A highly recommended study of clashing--and comingling--cultures.4/5.
Jun 25, · June 25, | Ruben Martinez | Ruben Martinez is the author of "Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail" and "The New Americans: Seven Families Journey to Another Country." This adapted excerpt is from Ruben Martinez's upcoming book, "Burning Sand" (Metropolitan Books).
Apr 05, · For Martinez, the “the line” has a few different meanings. It is literally the divider between two countries. It is one of the biggest obstacles his parents had to overcome to seek a better life.
It is described as a “sieve” and yet also a “brick wall”. It provides so many opportunities and yet to.
· “The Crossing” by Ruben Martinez · “Don’t Call Me a Hot Tamale” by Judith Ortiz Cofer · “Infographic: How the DREAM Act Helps the Economy” by Juan Carlos Guzmán and Raúl C.
Jara. Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail Rubén Martínez (born , Los Angeles) is a journalist, author, and musician. He is the son of Rubén Martínez, a Mexican American who worked as a lithographer, and Vilma Angulo, a Salvadoran psychologist.