One of the major themes in the musical In the Heights is balancing the new world with the old world. This theme is epitomized in the song Carnaval del Barrio, but that's not why I love it (or not the only reason anyway). I love it because in just a few words, it sums up how so many Latinos and immigrants feel: powerless.

To be fair, the Powerless refrain actually comes up earlier in the show, but it means so much more in this section (starting around 5 minutes in):

We are powerless,
We are powerless!
Maybe you're right, Sonny.
Call in the coroners
Maybe we're powerless, a corner full of foreigners.
Maybe this neighborhood's changing forever
Maybe tonight is our last night together, however!
How do you wanna face it?
Do you wanna waste it, when the end is so close you can taste it?
Y'all could cry with your head in the sand
I'ma fly this flag that I got in my hand!

As Latinos, as immigrants, we are constantly being ignored. Despite the fact that Latinos are the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the U.S. Despite the fact that immigrants are, in fact, people. We are constantly discriminated against and targeted. We are ridiculed and insulted. Republicans court us for a vote one year, and feel threatened by Sotomayor in the next.

So we cling to our culture and heritage and the people who understand us and support us. Wouldn't you?

UPDATE: The other posts in this series are: Paciencia y Fe and Nina's Story.


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