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This post is not intended to offend any specific social class or race. It is intended to explain why the misconceptions of the different social classes or races cause problems.

I watched the movie Crash today for the first time. I am glad I watched it today. After living in Los Angeles, I understand it a lot better. I remember when I was living in LA and getting into numerous arguments with the ex-boyfriend about this. He simply did not get it. He lives in Santa Monica and pretty much didn’t get out of the Santa Monica-West wood-West LA area. If you stick to the nice areas, Los Angeles is heaven. But if you go to Inglewood, East LA, Korea Town or Compton it might be a different story.

The funny thing about LA is that you truly can find everything and anything there. It is a melting pot of races, social classes, climates—just everything. The richest of the rich and poorest of the poor live there. It is a crazy place.

When I got to Los Angeles, I felt a little bit out of place. I couldn’t quite find myself there. I felt a little lost. I didn’t know where I belonged. People were not as aggressive as in the East Coast about their work, but people were way more intense about their origin. It sort of went beyond me. Miami is a lot of things but pretty much is well mixed. LA has a lot of everything, but it is very segregated. The Mexicans with the Mexicans, the blacks with the blacks, the whites on the hills with the whites, the Persians with the Persians. Even the prostitutes have a place…usually along Hollywood Boulevard. I honestly have to say I chose to live in Hermosa Beach because it was predominantly white. I was scared. I was scared of getting caught in the cross fire of a city I didn’t know. Plus, I was alone. So I chose to live in the whitest neighborhood that I could find that was still sort of close to my work.

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My view from my house in Hermosa Beach, CA

Now, about my work. It was in the great city of Carson. Hmmm…it’s not totally ghetto, but let’s just say it is not the richest area either. In my work, I had to deal with a lot of different personalities. Mexicans, Salvadorians, Blacks, Whites, Persians and everything in between that. It was eye opening. The thing that caught my attention was how everyone was so caught up in defending their origin or their social status. When I was watching Crash, it reminded me of all that. How intertwined everyone really lived, yet everyone was segregated into their own areas. The only people that dared to cross the border were the bums in Santa Monica.

But in all of this identifying “la raza”, don’t people forget to be people? I mean does it really matter where you come from that much that you need to go ahead and fight with your fellow man about a difference in skin color? In the grand scheme of life does it really matter?

I will be the first to admit. I find it extremely offensive to be called a “Mexican” (I am Colombian). Not because I hate Mexicans, not at all. I actually really like them and I have some great friends from Mexico. It is because of the negative connation the word has. In my mind, it sort of equates to toilet cleaner. And not because I placed Mexicans in that category, it is because that is what I have heard other races say about Mexicans. Did you know that the third richest man in the world is Mexican? Carlos Slim Helu is self made and is a communications genius. His net worth is estimated to be $49 billion. Only Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are ahead of him. So what about them Mexicans???

I will never forget, once I was in a flight to Salt Lake City and the man sitting next to me thought I was a toilet cleaner. When I told him I was a Chemical Engineering major from Georgia Tech he almost had a coronary. He couldn’t believe it. He was shocked beyond belief!!!

The point is that categorizing a whole entire race on the basis of a perceived conception is wrong. Not all Colombians are drug dealers. Not all Arabs are terrorists (and by the way a Parsi is not an Arab). Like not all white people are judgmental Anglo Saxons that think of everyone else as less of them. So, why hate? Why spend time hating a person you do not know because they are different? Don’t people have something better to do with their time?

In a way I feel the great city of angels is full of little devils trying to make it more like hell than heaven. But I have faith in the great city. I have faith that tomorrow will be a better day. And that at least one person will hate less. Be a little more compassionate. Because all differences and hate aside, it is truly a heavenly place.

(Note: Don Cheadle asked his “latina (Puerto Rican/Salvadorian not Mexican) girlfriend why all “Latin=Mexicans” park their cars in the front lawn? Well, a simple explanation is that we all like to hang out together (family matters in Latin America) and in our houses in Latin America we have huge garages where we could fit many cars. Since houses here in the US don’t have this amenity, we try to be POLITE and not block the entire street so we park on our front lawns)

(Another aside: The movie ended with a song by Stereophonics (they are from Wales) called “Maybe Tomorrow”…I love this song…below are the lyrics..)

“Maybe Tomorrow”

I’ve been down and
I’m wondering why
These little black clouds
Keep walking around
With me
With me

It wastes time
And I’d rather be high
Think I’ll walk me outside
And buy a rainbow smile
But be free
They’re all free

So maybe tomorrow
I’ll find my way home
So maybe tomorrow
I’ll find my way home

I look around at a beautiful life
Been the upperside of down
Been the inside of out
But we breathe
We breathe

I wanna breeze and an open mind
I wanna swim in the ocean
Wanna take my time for me
All me

So maybe tomorrow
I’ll find my way home
So maybe tomorrow
I’ll find my way home

So maybe tomorrow
I’ll find my way home
So maybe tomorrow
I’ll find my way home

So maybe tomorrow
I’ll find my way home
So maybe tomorrow
I’ll find my way home

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