Where’s me Burrito?

In California, people of Hispanic or Latino origin make up almost one third of the population. Monday night’s Culture Jam film, A Day Without a Mexican, imagines what would happen if one day all the “Mexicans” disappeared. Overnight California’s ability to function ceases. Crops go unpicked, teachers failed to show up for work, trash piles up on the streets, housekeepers don’t do laundry, and Cheech Marin and Salma Hayek fans are left idol-less. As California is surrounded by a mysterious purple haze, the remaining citizens wonder why it is they left? Were they deported during the night? Or were they just fed up with being taken for granted. The “Mexicans” the movie refers to actually includes many different groups of people of Hispanic or Latino backgrounds. Whether the person was Venezuelan, Guatemalan, or Puerto Rican they were casually lumped under the heading “Mexican” for simplicities sake. The films impact comes from visuals it presents to the viewer. Normally jam packed freeways are seen with only one or two cars in transit. Garbage piles up on the streets. Schoolchildren run amok. Grocery stores produce sections are ransacked, making fresh fruit and vegetables scarce. Restaurateurs are forced to get their tomatoes off the black market. The Border Patrol, meant to keep illegal immigrants out is left jobless. Even some Border Guards go missing. The people they keep from entering the United States are the very group of people they belong to. As the 5th largest economy (ranked under only the U.S., Japan, Germany and the U.K.), California would suffer without this group of workers. As the film projects, many of the functions a productive economy needs to be carried out wouldn’t be fulfilled. Economy aside, Latino culture is prevalent in California. The loss of this group would be a cultural blow. The culture would be left with no one to nurture its art, music, and food among other aspects central to not only Californian, but American culture. By 2040 it is projected that Latinos will make up 51% of California’s population. A loss of half a population anywhere is a significant. Next, the Culture Jam film Festival will present Style Wars, a documentary about subway graffiti in New York City during the late 70s and early 80s, Tuesday the 14th at 8pm in the CC Theater.