During a fight you’ll know who’s a soldier, but only in victory do you know who’s a Caballero.
Jacinto Benavente y Martinez
Friends, Readers, Compadres, lend me your ears.
I come to speak of a great problem we face today as men. We all come from a long and proud tradition, based on honor, respect, principals and character, or at least that is what our mothers tried to teach under threats of physical harm for our own good. As a kid, I remember my grandfather and his friends, all distinguished gentlemen, sitting in the plaza, drinking their coffee, smoking their cigars, and discussing current events heard over the radio, while they played dominoes, chess, or cards. They would value their family, their honor, and their principals over all things. For these they would be willing to fight or even die, but mainly just argue loudly a lot. These were the Caballeros that shaped my youth, the examples that forged the image of a true man, and one that could only be called a Caballero.
But alas, those days seem like distant memories, mainly because it happened when I was a kid and I am older now.
As I look at the world today, I see that we have forgotten the lessons of yesteryears, when a man took responsibility for his actions, where he was the foundation over which his family and community would grow. We are constantly blaming our surroundings and exterior situations, using them as excuses as to why we don’t even try to succeed, instead of taking personal responsibility of our lives. Sure, the news generally promotes all the reasons why we cannot succeed and all the bad things in the world that could hold us back. We see how crime, scandals, and corruption are so common place that they are glorified as acceptable behavior. The truth is that for every disaster, there are those who willing to help. For every corrupt politician, there is another trying to help a community. And for every person pushed down, there is one strong enough to stand up again, serving as an example to everyone around them.
When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.
Have we fallen so low that these great Caballeros of our society have been replaced by the douche-bags and social rejects? Screaming about how you will not be defined by society, while looking like every other gangbangers or wife beater out there does not prove your principles. Treating women as complementary accessories to your car, using them as simple substitutes to your hand is NOT something to be proud of. We have chosen to become the most degrading stereotype that has been placed upon us. That behavior the bigot’s and the ignorant’s strength in their opinions and behaviors.
We need to step up, past the Macho stereotype, and step into the Caballero’s elegant dress shoes. We need to accept personal responsibility of our actions and appearance. Remember, society does not look at you as an individual. You represent all Men. Why the hell would you be proud to act like Trash? Have some pride, if not for yourself, for the rest of us! This is not about changing the bigots and the idiot, who will always look for excuses to hate anyone not like them. This is about self-respect and more importantly, self-empowerment. You have to be aware of YOURSELF. You promote a culture of diversity and inclusion simply by being proud of your heritage and history! Marcus Aurelius said it best with the best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.
We are part of a country based on diversity, everyone having as much right to the American Dream as anyone else. It is our obligation set the record straight for those that perpetuate this inequality for their own personal convenience. The revolution of empowerment begins in our communities, our homes, and our selves. Promote Being Caballero as an act of noble rebellion against:
- Giving power to the insults and discriminations from the bigot, the ignorant, and the uneducated. Show that you are above the slander and take the high road. Not everyone with economic challenges are deviants living off welfare and not everyone who is well off is a manipulating money grabbing bastard. Don’t validate the insults by acting or reacting like one. Their comments speak more about their ignorance than it does about us.
- Being another stereotypes perpetuated by the Mass Media. Society is composed of all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds. We are masters of our fate and not a result of our surroundings. We are not going to be manipulated into the current social, racial, economic, and cultural terror tactics used to inflate hit counters. We will be informed of our world.
- Bad examples perpetuated by own crass and classless brothers. Every one of us comes from a diverse and colorful history and culture. ACT LIKE IT! Learn about your history, and how you came to be.
- Social homogenous bland whitewash that seeks to eliminate cultural diversity. The United States is not a melting pot where everyone blends in, but rather trail mix. Every item retains its own individuality, yet part of something bigger. Generation after generation, this diversity actually increases instead of decreasing. Educate society by BEING the example of diversity you want to promote.
- A new generation of Men that is slowly losing their heritage, culture, and race; thinking that it makes them more American. Someone has to start giving these chamaquitos proper role models. With the ease of access to information this generation has, I think we risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance. (Rubén Blades)
Lead a life that future generations can aspire to. Remind them of where they come from and the history that their names carry.
Be the role model you needed growing up.
As a Man you see these things every day, making you angry and frustrated. The first truth that you must understand is that even though you have power over yourself, you have no real control over outside events. The bigot will always be a bigot and the ignorant will always be ignorant, as long as they have no interest in changing. They are happy in their own misery and in making others miserable, so don’t waste your energy on them. You have to decide how much power you are willing to give them over your life.
Without frustration you will not discover that you might be able to do something on your own. We grow through conflict.
Hermanos, as Caballeros we must lead by example. We cannot demand respect if we don’t encourage respect, to ourselves and to those around us. We must take responsibility for our actions, appearance, education, and develop general sense of personal and social justice, to teach future generations of Men on how to traverse the perilous world we live in, by example.
We WILL fight, but not with violence. Our armor will be our virtue, our shield will be our morals, and our sword will be our integrity. As Fray Antonio de Guevara said: