In his lifetime, Eleazar Martinez has climbed both literal and figurative mountains as an avid outdoorsman and social justice advocate for Latinx issues. Born in Sweetwater, Texas, Eleazar (Al for short) grew up connected to the land and his family. Al comes from a large family with strong ties in Texas and Mexico. His mother worked the fields and his father was a construction worker who instilled in their children the importance of a strong work ethic and the pursuit of an education. Al shares about growing up during a time when Spanish was banned from schools and children would get punished if they were caught using their home languages. His experiences developed his aspiration to serve his community and fight for people’s rights. After a short stint in the Navy, Al followed his instincts and sought out a college education and majored in sociology. His interest in social issues lead him to serve in a range of roles from psychiatric support, community education outreach, and counseling. At one point, Al even helped mediate tensions between gangs and law enforcement in order to prevent violence from erupting. Since arriving in Las Vegas in 1998, Al has been working alongside diverse communities to build solidarity. Today, he works as a supervisor for the Whitney Recreation Center and leader in Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO). As Al would describe himself, he is “a proud Mexican Latino American, a Tejano with a Chicano attitude”.
Martinez, Al Interview, 2018 October 2. OH-03489. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Standardized Rights Statement
AN INTERVIEW WITH ELEAZAR “AL” MARTINEZ An Oral History Conducted by Marcela Rodriguez-Campo Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ©Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2018 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV – University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcribers: Kristin Hicks, Maribel Estrada Calderón, Nathalie Martinez, Rodrigo Vazquez Editors and Project Assistants: Laurents Bañuelos-Benitez, Maribel Estrada Calderón, Elsa Lopez, Nathalie Martinez, Marcela Rodriquez-Campo, Rodrigo Vazquez iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) Grant. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader’s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews with permission of the narrator. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas iv PREFACE In his lifetime, Eleazar Martinez has climbed both literal and figurative mountains as an avid outdoorsman and social justice advocate for Latinx issues. Born in Sweetwater, Texas, Eleazar (Al for short) grew up connected to the land and his family. Al comes from a large family with strong ties in Texas and Mexico. His mother worked the fields and his father was a construction worker who instilled in their children the importance of a strong work ethic and the pursuit of an education. Al shares about growing up during a time when Spanish was banned from schools and children would get punished if they were caught using their home languages. His experiences developed his aspiration to serve his community and fight for people’s rights. After a short stint in the Navy, Al followed his instincts and sought out a college education and majored in sociology. His interest in social issues lead him to serve in a range of roles from psychiatric support, community education outreach, and counseling. At one point, Al even helped mediate tensions between gangs and law enforcement in order to prevent violence from erupting. Since arriving in Las Vegas in 1998, Al has been working alongside diverse communities to build solidarity. Today, he works as a supervisor for the Whitney Recreation Center and leader in Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO). As Al would describe himself, he is “a proud Mexican Latino American, a Tejano with a Chicano attitude”. v TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Eleazar “Al” Martinez October 2nd, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Marcela Rodriguez-Campo Preface…………………………………………………………………………………………..iv Explains the origin of his name; speaks on what it means to be a Tejano with Chicano attitude; describes his hometown and his relationship with the Cherokee; discusses family history; talks about the role music played in the family…………………………………………………….1 – 6 Explains No Spanish policy in school; discusses being bilingual; speaks on the how Spanish is different among different countries; talks about family traditions and reunions; explains how his family has become diverse through marriages; Discusses relationship with mother in law; speaks about sons and other family members voting for Trump during 2016 election; touches on role religion plays in family………………………………………………………..…………..…6 – 11 Speaks on the origins of his social justice orientation; Explains decision to drop out of school for the military; discusses son’s fight for immigration rights; Talks about his time in the Navy; decides to go AWOL from the Navy; returns to Texas to study sociology; decides to work in community education outreach……………………………………………………………..12 – 16 Begins working with gang members; discusses one specific case of diffusing a gang war; lists the different gangs he has worked with; speaks at a middle school about gang violence; talks about unfortunate incident at gang member’s house that leads to a person’s death; explains strategy of using religion to help people out of the gang life; helps Metro handle MTO that springs up in Summerlin; speaks about changing his attitude towards white people……………………..17 – 21 Speaks about changing family’s attitude towards a gay cousin; discusses feminism, having female bosses and woman in politics; meets his wife; meets Obama and Joe Biden; compares political structure of Las Vegas to Dallas and Fort Worth………………………………....21 – 25 Explains the difference between Tejano vs Mexican; discusses the origins of some Spanish words; speaks about his granddaughter’s mixed heritage; talks about the Asian population in Las Vegas; involvement with the outdoors and HECHO; expresses his views on DACA……..26 – 31 Involvement with the Brown Berets; speaks about his position with Parks and Recreation; his definition of Latino/Latinx………………………………………………………………….32 – 36 Appendix…………………………………………………………………………………………37 My name is Marcela Rodriguez-Campo. I'm at the Oral History Research Center with Barbara Tabach. Laurents Banuelos-Benitez. And Al Martinez. It's October second of 2018. Could you start by telling us your full name and spelling it for us? My full name is Eleazar Martinez; E-L-E-A-Z-A-R, and then Martinez, M-A-R-T-I-N-E-Z. But my professional name, I go by Al. You had started telling us about why your name is Eleazar. Could you explain that to us? I would say my grandmother was Christian on my dad's side and my mother's side was Catholic. On the Christian side, all my grandmothers named everybody a Christian name. My father was named Eleazar, Sr., and I'm the second. Eleazar is Hebrew; it means God helps. I have a son, he's Trae, the third. He's going to name his son the fourth, so the Eleazar name is going to continue in your family. That's a big thing. My grandmother passed away on that side. The Christian name was real important to her, at least in our family. In the military people just could not say that name. They would say, "What is it, a Mexican name?" No, it's Hebrew. Then they would say, "Well, we're going to call you Al." And they grilled me and that's been with me since I was seventeen years old. My mother to this day, she says, "Are you sure you do it for your Uncle Al?" I said, "No. I don't know, Ma. Everybody calls me Al and it stuck." If you call me by my real name, then you know me because when I go home, "Eleazor Jr." because I'm the second one. If you say that I know you're for real. But people say, "It's a Bible name?" Yes, it's in the book of Matthew in the genealogy. It was a high priest in the Old Testament if you look at the history of where that name comes from. So there you go. How do you identify? Very often I speak on diversity and cultures, so I'm going to tell you what I tell people. I am a Mexican Latino American, a Tejano with Chicano attitude; that's what I am. What does that mean? Considering that in the early sixties when I was growing up, the Chicano Movement was a big thing. I met a lot of those leaders, too. The Chicano Movement was really important to me. Later, as I got older, I got really into... 2 My father always considered himself Mexican American. We used to argue, his generation and me, and I would say, "Why do we have to say we're Mexican American? Why can't we just say we're Mexicans or Americans?" He said, "Well, you've got a point." "Well, can we say like the American Jews? Can we just say we're American Mexicans?" That was a subject in my time. My dad said, "Well, the Chicano kind of throws me off. My grandma thought it meant low class." That's my grandmother. We had disagreements on that subject matter. Then obviously in college I got real acquainted with the word Latino/Latina. That was a big thing. Then I got into my roots of being a Tejano, which is a guy from Texas. However, if you do the history of Tejanoism, even before the Alamo the word Tejano was already around. But people don't understand the true history of Tejano because back in those days, not just Latinos, but everybody considered themselves Tejano because, remember, Texas was Mexico territory. The word Tejano has a lot of history before the word we know as Tejano today. I'm a pretty proud Texan. I wore the cowboy boots. I wore the hat. But my mother goes, "You dress like a real Tejano." I say, "Yes, I'll never let go of that." Even here in Nevada, my buddies all call me El Tejano. So that's it. Let's start with your childhood. Where were you born? Where did you grow up? What was it like? I grew up in a little Texas town, at that time probably about twenty thousand people. At that time that was big. Now it's about eight thousand. It's gone down a lot. Sweetwater is a town that was cotton, oil industry on the major highway between Lubbock, Midland and Abilene, Texas. I grew up in a real conservative, very white Anglo society in my opinion. I always identified with fighting in terms of social justice. I really identified with the Native Americans a lot because I knew many from the Cherokee. They used to come from Oklahoma and I used to talk to them. They used to tell me, "You don't look Mexican. You're one of us." I met the husband of the Cherokee Nation chief, Wilma Mankiller, who was a social worker who passed away. I met her in Arlington. Her husband looks just like my dad. My dad was six-foot-six, very white complexion. My mother was four-nine, looked like she just crossed the border, short. My dad was real tall and light-skinned. People always thought we were Native American. I did a little history. My aunt went to Mexico and find out that my great-grandfather was a Yaqui. I said, "There's the connection." Now I know where I come from. We do have a lot of Native American in us. When I go to Puerto Rico, they always call me Indio. They say, "Ah you ain't Mexican. You're an Indian man. You're Indio." Okay, whatever. When I do go to Oklahoma, I do hang out with Cherokee Nation. When I'm in Window Rock, I hang out with the Navaho. I like talking to them. When I go to the Indian Shop, they think I'm Native American. It's pretty cool. I identify with that. 3 Then I've always been a history buff ever since a child. When I was in fourth grade, I was already reading books on Socrates's philosophy. I read law books when I was in fourth grade. I was very fascinated by history and law. Then I decided that it was time for Latinos, or in those days Mexicanos, to stand for justice and not be stepped. If you do history, the Texas Rangers were our enemy in Texas. They were really bad to Mexican people. Then you start looking at...My mother used to work in the fields. She was the boss. We worked in the fields picking cottons and taking the weeds out of the cotton fields. My dad was a construction worker, working carpentry and concrete work, and eventually made his own company. I think from there my father became very independent and had a big business. All my family are construction workers. We moved away from the field. But my mom, because we needed more income, we would go to Colorado and we would work on the sugar beets and we got paid by the acre. Those days, I would say that me and my primos, we were out there. The best time of my life working the fields was when we ate tacos and burritos. They were so good. My mother was tops. But the thing I hated was, why do we have to do that kind of physical work? I questioned it all my life. My father told us, me and my brothers and sisters, "Then you need to go to college. Instead of doing physical like I did, why don't you use your mind and be intellectual?" So we all did; we all got degrees. But Sweetwater is an interesting town. The churches play a big role. Between my cousins and the Catholic Church, I know about Catholicism because of my cousins, but I grew up on the Protestant side, learning that. My grandmother came from Mexico and there was a story done about her in Time Magazine many, many years ago—you'll have to pull the article—about the role she played coming in from Mexico to Texas. She was the first Mexicana to live in a Latino/African- American neighborhood with the first swimming pool in the backyard. My grandmother had a lot of pride and she spoke very perfect Spanish. She would not allow us to speak English in the house, so we had to speak Spanish. She always corrected me. If I said the wrong stuff, then she'd hit me in my hand. For example, I would say, "Me corto el pelo?" She goes, "No es pelo, los animals tien pelo, tu tiens cabello." I would say, "Okay, okay." Or I would say something, "Abuelita, me hecha poquito tea?" "No mas los perros se les hecha, aqui se server." Okay. Stuff like that we had to learn. Then she had a Victrola and we listened to Vicente Fernandez music and some of that music back when I was a young kid. She was really heavy about the Mexican culture and the connections to also the Spanish culture, from Spain. I want us to visit there a little more. You started talking about your family's history in Mexico. Could you tell me more about how your family arrived here? Let me tell you about that. I am a second generation on my father's side and third generation on my mother's side. My mother was already here and her mother was already here in the United 4 States. My father's side is different. My father and my aunts tell me that—it's interesting your name; you have Rodriguez—my grandfather came from Mexico to here and he was a Rodriguez. When he crossed the border, he just literally changed his name to Martinez. I will know all the Martinezes related to me because I know who we are. Obviously my blood culture should be Rodriguez, not Martinez. That was on my dad's side. On my mother's side, they're a huge family. My great-grandmother had thirteen kids and they all had thirteen kids. That family is called the Gomez family. They're very big in my hometown. For all the years my mother was Lara, L-A-R-A. For example, my father's brother was married to one of my mother's aunts, so we cross. It was interesting and fascinating because religions played a big part between Catholicism and Christianity, the Protestant side. Very often there were arguments in our family on how to worship and all that. I just thought it was funny because I was basically the anti-religious guy. I didn't like rules put on me, so I fought rules. I fought my dad and my mom and all my family. I said, "Rules were invented for us to be pacifists." I say, "White man, they want us to keep our mouth shut; that's why you guys are in religion." Although I'm a sociology major, I say there is validity to that. Nonetheless, my father was also a history buff. He liked history a lot. We would talk about history a lot in terms of high school and when we all got to college. My father always felt that in order for the Mexicano to get ahead, it was to get educated. That was a real push in my father's side of the family to the point where my uncle's daughters married billionaires in Midland, Texas. There's this thing called the Mabee Foundation. They're very powerful. My cousins married into that. One of my cousins was a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. She was half-Latina, half-Caucasian. We mixed the bloods there. On my mother's side of the family, education really was never a priority for them. They were more about just making money. Kind of like the Jones-Smith kind of thing, I think there is always the Laras versus Gomezes; there was always a challenge about who could do better material-wise. I saw that on that side of the family. But in terms of my religious values because of my father and mother, they taught us that material things don't mean nothing to us. We grew up with that. We have it. We grew up to appreciate non-material stuff, stuff that's important, like intellectual value and like family. Orgullosimo, being prideful for the right things. Not being prideful because you have a lot of materials. Being prideful because you stand up for social justice. That I learned as a kid and it's been with me all my years. Otherwise, growing up in that family...My mother went as high as eighth grade and my father went as high as sixth grade. But my father taught me a lot about fractions and geometry at home based on panels. He taught me how to subtract by looking at the panels and how to do charts and 5 pies. I did geometry and trig when I was in high school, but that my father taught me. Now I go back and I say, "Man, Dad was a smart dude. He knew a lot of this stuff." My mother, I always saw her in terms of matriarchal. Even though my father played a big role, my mother was really who put that family together. My mother might be four-foot-nine, but she was a very powerful person in my opinion. She was the leader. In those days, think about it; women didn't play a big role. And she's Latina? Even further. But she was outspoken and she was the boss. When we were out in the fields, everybody respected her. I think with her was a lot of emotional connection in a pride in a woman working in the fields with a bunch of men. I saw that as a kid. To this day I always tell her, "You have no idea how your behavior affected us to be leaders in what we do today, as a woman." She always gets tearful and stuff. But my father was a big man, and so he was well-known in the community. My father did a lot in the community to help people always. If they needed help, my father did real well financially, so he was always helping people with all kinds of needs. All those things played into who I am today. That's real powerful stuff as a kid, but I had no idea that I was going to be living that stuff today as an adult. You had multiple generations already in the U.S. If you had to pick a date or year to when you think your family arrived in that small town in Texas, what would your guess be? I'm going to say probably the 1930s and '40s probably, depending on which side of the family. Before they lived there, what part of Mexico did they live? On my dad's side of the family, I'm second generation; he's first. His father just crossed the border. Interesting dynamics in that family. My grandmother was a real proud Mexicana. That ain't no lie. She was like the queen. It's just interesting her role in the family because she played a big role. And interesting, I will tell you, there was an article done in the L.A. Times back in the 1960s. My father is a real well-known religious leader in the community and his brother was all well-known...What's the word I'm looking for? He sold beer on the side and it was illegal. A bootlegger. There you go. My uncle was a bootlegger. The article came out about my father and him and how that became what it is. It's fascinating. On my mother's side of the family, I remember my uncles because I remember The Beatles; they were so involved with The Beatles, and then my uncles had their own band that they called the Royal Notes and the Latin...I can't think of the other name. But they played instruments. If you go back to the history of the Mexican-American music, like our guy is little Joe, he lives in Temple, Texas, and he still lives. Ruben Ramos is another guy. My uncles knew all those guys. I 6 know the main guys that started la musica Mexicana, and Chicana, and Tejano music is what they call now. That played a big role in that family. I learned how to play the maracas so I could go with them with the band. They had trumpet and a saxophone and drums. All my uncles had those instruments. The music was pretty cool. We used to call it orcesta because there's a lot of instruments that they played versus conjunto, which is more the accordion. That was my mother's side of the family, so music played a big side of that. But again, both families coming here worked the fields. They worked the cotton industry. That was a big thing because that played into making peanut oil and making oil. I hear all the stories from my uncles and way before how they worked the fields and picked cotton, put them in these bags, and balance the weight of cotton inside of there. Eventually my mother's uncle—he's already passed away—he bought some land and he had cotton and stuff, but he didn't hire people; he bought a tractor with air-conditioning and the tractor did all the work for him. It's been a ball on that side of the family. Tell me about elementary school. Oh my God, elementary was fascinating. We couldn't speak Spanish; that was a no-no. At school? Yes. Who said it was a no-no? The teachers. If we spoke Spanish, "No, you can't do that here." We did it anyway, me and my primo. I think we learned how to do gang signs there for a while before they were called gangs or pandillas. We would throw signs here and there, but we didn't know nothing about gangs at that point. We knew a lot about pachucos. I can speak pachuco, too, to this day. I know some of the words. But the thing is in school there was a lot of, I would say, unconscious programming of Christian values. I remember that. Christmas was Christmas. And the teacher always told me in fifth grade, "See, Christ, that's why we call it Christmas because Jesus was born that day." They would do that in our school. Obviously, we had to stand up during the National Anthem and all that during school. That was a big deal. I could speak English pretty good and I learned to speak more English at home than Spanish unless I went to my grandma's house. My mom and dad also got bilingual, too. We would say something like, "Where are you going to go, a la Iglesias or la casa?" It would be combined. You start in English and finish in Spanish, or the reverse. My mom would say, "Quieres comer McDonalds?" I would said, "No, Ma." 7 Then my brother, he basically graduated from a private Christian university and he was a missionary. He traveled many, many countries. Nicaragua. He went to Guatemala and Puerto Rico. I met many of his friends. I was shocked when I was a little kid. Man, they're black and they speak good Spanish. I was learning different cultures. Their Spanish was so different from mine. My brother became a real, true bilingual. He commands both languages very well. I have to work at it a little bit more on my side. I won't do bilingual unless it's just informal. But if it's formal and I've got to speak, I either do English or I do all Spanish because it's too hard to change my mind set. But to this day I would say that we tend to speak a little bit more on the English side unless we're with the older folks and then we speak more Spanish. My mother can write in Spanish pretty well. She writes it like nothing. Me, I have to work it even though I took Spanish in college. I took one year and then I CLEPed out the rest of them; paid twenty-five dollars to take the test and I passed, so no big deal. But otherwise, you go to religion. It played that big part in our family. I met my young friends from Guatemala and learned different words. We would be laughing at some of the words we say between each other. "Ooh, you say that word, huevos? You can't say that at my house." Then when my brother married someone from San Juan, Puerto Rico, she learned culture shock in my family because some of the words she said were offensive in our language. She goes, "I ain't speaking Spanish no more in this family. I'm speaking English because you guys, you got something wrong with y'all." That was so funny, our differences of Spanish. But she taught us the merengue and some real cool dancing moves. I learned a lot about fried bananas and the different foods that Puerto Ricans eat. I've been to Puerto Rico, too, San Juan. It's cool. My brother married to her. But my family to this day has changed so much. My family has married into African Americans, has married into Chinese, Japanese and Korean. When our family gets together, we all look different. Me and my brother decided to change the rules almost twenty-five years ago. Very often when the family gets together for Thanksgiving, the men, we watch football; that's a man thing. So the tías, because they've been working hard making tamales and all the Mexicana and American traditional Thanksgiving food, my brother and I decided that it ain't cool that our ladies have to cook and then clean up. They shouldn't be doing that. So we made a rule, me and my brother and said, "No more. Ladies, y'all sit down. We're going to clean." We changed that and we started cleaning and the women got into football. That's really changed now. Then my brother Rey, he was a drama major and we decided to change our reunions with the Gomez family and add a talent show. We have to rent a colosseum; that's how big we are. We decided to have a three-day reunion to the point where our Caucasian friends so fascinated by what we did that we started teaching them how to change the reunions. Typically Friday the families get there. One of my uncles will probably kill a cow and we have some hamburgers. We have some meat. The next day we have activities. And the next day we would have a golf 8 tournament because my family plays golf. We have a softball tournament and then we have volleyball in the evening for everybody to play. The next day in the morning, we would get together regardless if you're Christian or Catholic or Baptist because that changes a lot, too. We decided to honor all the people that died. We would make up posters of all our family that passed way and have a celebration of the life that they lived by putting all their information on the walls. Every family that lost somebody, we prayed about it and we all have fellowship about it. Then after that everybody came together and we had a talent show. Our talent show was so fascinating. Oh my God, it was incredible. We did the YMCA group. I was the construction guy. A lot of my young cousins were Selena because Selena was a big deal in our family. They can sing. I had aunts that were so shy—man, I never seen my tías dance and sing. That was unheard of. They are so quiet, but they came out of their shell. My uncle and aunt that are real quiet, they played the guitar and piano. We did a talent show and then we had a dance. The next day everybody says goodbye and we'll see each other in another five years. We created that and my brother came up with that. Some of his Caucasian friends were so fascinated, "Can you come and teach us how to do that with our family?" We started teaching the Caucasians that. Now, as I said, our family has evolved so much now that we have everybody. Like I said, we've got Caucasians. My wife is Caucasian. I said, I know more about your Irish and German background than you know about that culture." Because I like cultures. She goes, "Yes." Her family are real proud Irish. My mother-in-law is German. When I met her twenty-eight years ago, she said to me, here in Nevada, "You speak very good English." She goes, "Well, I hope so. I've been here all my life. My language should be damn good." I decided to get smart and I asked her, "Well, you know what? You probably think I'm Ricky Ricardo." And she goes, "What do you mean?" He's Cuban and I'm Mexican. I had to throw that in there a little bit. She never forgot that. Then her sister married another Mexicano, a Mexican American if you want to clarify that. She called me. My mother-in-law was a proud German background. She would say, "I bet he's a wetback." I started laughing. I said, "Are you kidding me? Ike? He ain't no wetback. That dude is from Salt Lake City, north. How the hell he going to come from Mexico? That boy speaks good English. He's a motorcycle rider. Char, you've got to start understanding we're not all the same, but we're not all coming from Mexico." She goes, "Oh, whatever." She would always get like that. I sometimes tell her, "I think sometimes you've got some racial." She would look at me, "Are you for real?" I said, "Yes. The only reason you're cool with me is because I married your daughter." I said, "If I was just anybody, you probably would want me to tend to your garden or do some work for you, like slavery or something." "Oh, come on." "Yes, I really think that you would do that to me." 9 Through the years we finally mended and she was cool. I think the last years before she passed away, she told me, "You know what, Al? You really taught our family a lot about you and who you are and your family. And I want you to know you have stood by my daughter all the time. I respect you." That meant a lot to me because she was a proud—man, she could be a bitch. I hate to say that word, but she was proud of it. Nonetheless, her family has really changed, too. They've married Puerto Ricans, también, so they can't say nothing about us anymore. We play a big part in their family. Obviously culture is changing and changing a lot more even nowadays. In a few more years you're not going to know who is who anymore. I've got cousins that say, "Man, you look like a white dude." I say, "Oh, shut up, man." And then they'll speak to me in Spanish. It's just interesting the DNA, how it's changing the kids and how they're all becoming much more different. Some of my sons are real light-complected, and my mother calls one of my sons, my oldest, mi negrito, because he's real dark. She goes, "Mi negrito." I say, "Ma, don't say that." "Well, he is." But the thing is it's just interesting how people judge us by bookcover, but in reality people do. That's not going to change. I tell them, "Man, y'all are full of it. People are always going to judge you by the way you look. I don't care what you say. I do." Somebody tried to, one day, say I was anti-Semitic because I met a Jewish Mexicana and I made a comment about her. I said, "You have no idea what it is to live below the railroad tracks, do you?" And she goes, "What does that mean?" That's my point. I said, "You grew up with BMWs; I grew up with a Ford." She comes from a real high, high-income family. She got mad at me and told my boss that I said that. But my boss said, "You're not anti-Semitic." I said, "What is that word? I don't know what that is." He said, "Anti-Jew." "Oh, me? No way. I'm a Christian. Can't do that. I can probably be racist against white people." She goes, "For real?" I said, "Yes. I don't like people that put us down and step on us, and they're usually white. I've lived with that all my life, but guess what? I married a Caucasian girl, and now she knows my Spanish, knows all the cuss words. She will never know my shoes, but she understands the role we play in our culture." She goes, "I never knew that until being married to you. Now I know what you mean. When I went to look for a house back when we first married, they saw me with a white girl. They were cool with me until I told them my last name. They didn't rent to us." Then she knew what that meant. But it was good for her to learn that. Even my father-in-law understands that now about the role we play and the color we play. I think now they're more respectful of the different cultures. I can't say nowadays, but at an age when I was growing up in the fifties and sixties, obviously Caucasian was an enemy to me. I set out to prove to them that I was just as smart as you were, and I'm not white; that was my goal as a kid. 10 I will say that when I went to Nevada—and I'll tell you a little bit more about that. I'm a trainer by trade. I do trainings conference, corporate trainings. I did some trainings here in Nevada that people were so fascinated by the activity that I do, and people go, "Man, I've never seen that before." Some of my Latino friends came up to me here at UNLV and said to me, "Dude, the white people can't compete with you. Man, they ain't got nothing on you at a conference. You're out of this world with your stuff, man. I'd like to see them go against you." At that time I said, "It's not a matter of going against. It's what I've been taught in training. This is what I do." Obviously I feel like to go out to fight is not to fight so much color, although politicall