Friday, August 15, 2014

I Can't With Druckerman and the New York Times

[Once again, this post is raw and unedited, very much how I tend to live my life. I reserve the right to edit these remarks, especially after my morning café Cubano has worked its way through my endocrine system.]

An Open Letter to Ms. Pamela Druckerman 

[and, by consequence, to her (non?-)Editors at the New York Times]:

Oyeme, esta niña, ¿Tu comes mierda o te chupas las nalgas?
What I found most infuriating about your anti-Miami, defamatory rant, in addition to everything that has already been said about its pretentiousness and vacuous, if non-existent analysis, was its trite, in-your-face classism, racism, and general stupidity.

Your piece, lacking in style, content, and modest sophistication would have barely earned a C- from the most humble community college journalism program.

Forgive me si estoy harto of the burden of proof always having to fall upon Cubans and Cuban Americans. Perhaps you can understand our individual and collective se-van-todos-para-el-carajo attitude. We did not grovel at the feet of White America and ask to be melted into the pot. We did not turn to White America and politely ask to be served our piece of the American pie. Instead, we worked very fucking hard, bought real property, started businesses including banks and health care institutions, we made our children get an education and learn the meaning and value of hard work. And, we did all of these things while taking care of each other and our families, including our elders. Perhaps there is no greater uppity minority in the US than Cubans and I'm pretty fucking proud of that, coño. And please don’t forget that we fought in America’s wars and serve(d) in America’s government. The American Dream was ours and we seized it, and now we have to teach you what that means. We seized the American Dream and White America got pissed.

My father was the scion of a once-prominent political family, and my mother’s family are abnormally accomplished university educators. My parents landed in New York and the day following their arrival began working in factories. <-- read that sentence again, please. My parents always worked extremely hard and thanks to them I never wanted for anything. Ever. I have three university degrees – one more than you – that I earned by busting my ass and receiving generous scholarships from my alma maters. No one helped me navigate the process of college admission and financial aide. I did it myself, and so did my entire generation of Cuban-Americans.

So, I’m not exactly sure to which “stuff” you’re referring. Perhaps you mean houses, land, personal property, antiques, heirlooms, clothing, art, toys, automobiles, jewelry, and other fruits of hard work and labor. A similar thing happened to Jewish persons in Nazi Germany, didn’t it?

In Miami, Cubans opened the door and laid the groundwork for other Latin Americans, and a subsequent sea of other immigrant populations, to seize the dream for themselves and garner opportunity. How is it that you’re bitter about that? Was I supposed to aspire to be your gardener? Fuck you.

During the years I taught at FIU I was privileged, honored, and humbled to help form hundreds of immigrants and children of immigrants, some of whom were undocumented. These students fought tooth and nail for an education, often working difficult jobs while studying full time as well. I was often in my office late into the night giving these students as much help as I could with their studies and they were grateful for the assistance. Yup, these students were poor and hardworking. Your deriding their race and social class is repugnant. The thought of a smug, expat American white woman peering down her spoiled nose at these great, hardworking, students and their parents who are struggling to build a better life makes me vomit.

There is no such thing as an accreditation score card for how cities grow up and develop. Global urban culture has morphed beyond planned town squares and vaudeville theaters. While I agree with you that Miami’s development is post-pubescent, it is re-defining, or un-defining, the meaning of urbanization. We are the new, post-modern city and your attempt to interpret Miami’s bourgeoning social text inside of your myopic, bourgeois-aspirational, American expat hermeneutic is sooooo last century, irrelevant, and un-formed.

Miami is growing up within a context of aggressive globalization – a globalization that encompasses the political economy, but also popular culture and the high arts. No other American city is developing, or has developed, as plugged in to the new global society as Miami is. This location is why so many academics the world over refer to Miami as a Global Urban Center. Aprende algo, anda.

I always tell new comers to Miami that this city is all about the vibe. There is a vibe, a pulse to Miami that does not occur in one location; it runs the expanse of the city. Once you plug yourself into the vibe, the city opens up and unfolds. I was born and raised here and am one of Miami’s harshest critics. But I can tell you, in no uncertain terms, that if you inject yourself into the vibe, what appears is an über-unique, beautiful, vibrant, imaginative, exciting city. It is teaming with brilliant, hungry, positive, loving, exciting, motivated people who are collectively creating the US’s most exciting urban center. You would never discover this amazing vibe in two weeks sitting on the beach fanning your snatch. Perhaps you should apologize.