I don’t know how much will be made of Carlos Santana’s political remarks at Turner Field as he received the Beacon of Change award at today’s Civil Rights Game in Atlanta, but there’s already an article in the AJC and another one at Politico.
Santana railed against HB 87, which was signed into law on Friday by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, both during his acceptance of the award and later, according to Politico:
“It’s a cruel law, actually,” he said.
“This is about fear. Stop shucking and jiving. People are afraid we’re going to steal your job. No we aren’t. You’re not going to change sheets and clean toilets,” he said.
If the new law is enforced to any degree, I think it will have negative — perhaps disastrous — consequences for the Georgia economy. I don’t think, by the way, that a convention boycott would be the main issue, although the state will almost certainly lose some of that business. No, I think both proponents and opponents of the new law have not realized just how much the state’s real estate crisis and retail sales problems could be exacerbated by a significant exodus or even a slowdown in in-migration of Latinos, not to mention the effects on specific industries that rely on Latino labor (both documented and undocumented). I also think the new law could lead to the most basic violations of human rights. I discuss the law here and here, as well as in other posts.
Does Santana have the influence and the name recognition that will encourage other prominent Americans to respond?
I kind of doubt it, but it’s going to be interesting to follow the story over the next day or two.
For those young folks who don’t know about Carlos Santana:
Reading Santana’s remarks about jobs, baseball, and what it means to be an American, I was reminded of the amazing 1981 poem by Gary Soto, “Mexicans Begin Jogging”. I found the full text of it online in a number of places, including from a professor’s website with a textbook attribution. So I’m going to assume that it’s OK to post here. It certainly seems appropriate.
“Mexicans Begin Jogging”
by Gary Soto
At the factory I worked
In the fleck of rubber, under the press
Of an oven yellow with flame,
Until the border patrol opened
Their vans and my boss waved for us to run.
“Over the fence, Soto,” he shouted,
And I shouted that I was an American.
“No time for lies,” he said, and passes
A dollar in my palm, hurrying me
Through the back door.
Since I was on his time, I ran
And became the wag to a short tail of Mexicans–
Ran past the amazed crowds that lined
The street and blurred like photographs, in rain.
I ran from that industrial road to the soft
Houses where people paled at the turn of an autumn sky.
What could I do but yell vivas
To baseball, milkshakes, and those sociologists
Who would clock me
As I jog into the next century
On the power of a great, silly grin.
REPRINTED FROM PAGE 143 OF READING LITERATURE AND WRITING ARGUMENT, 2nd ED . EDS. MISSY JAMES AND ALAN P. MERICKEL. PRINTED BY PRENTIS HALL IN UPPER SADDLE RIVER, NJ. (2004)