SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 280: “Through A Child’s Eyes”

“I’ve been through a lot. I’m only twenty-three years old, but still… I’ve been through a lot… a lot of judgment, and a whole lot of that ridicule,” says father, caring boyfriend and young man of street earned wisdom, Latin.

 “Definitely do not judge a book by its cover. That one of my hugest pet peeves, I’m a really great guy,” Latin builds his story.

Many may think that Latin’s claim is self-serving. But in his proclamation there is no essence of boastfulness. Even holding his newborn daughter close to his cheek as he tosses us the self-analysis. There is an inescapable spirit of compassion in Latin’s eyes, one of the first things I pick up on as I approach he and his family today. Latin is not about serving himself. I’ll be upfront in a conclusion, I think Latin is on Planet Earth to be of service to society and I have to call him a peace giver.

And with the accepting nod from Caprice, his significant other, I am confirmed of my assumption in agreeing; Latin is a really great guy!

There is not an ounce of malice or contempt in him as he tells me of his trials, “Because of the color of my skin color and my tattoos, and the way I dress, walk and talk, even the words I use, people misconceive that I am just another thug on the street. They probably think that I have no goals, I have no ambition, and basically my life is going to come to a halt and I that I am going to give up at some point of time.”

And for those who feel the barb of others judgments, Latin give us a pep talk, “I want people to know that there are actually people out there who do care, that want to know the other side of the story. So none of us should judge a book by its cover.

God works in mysterious way, it’s crazy.”

And per Latin’s experiences, “The biggest thing that an African-American, probably mostly males, but females get it too, has to deal with is the whole racial profile.”

He quotes an experience he had with a police officer in Long Beach, A huge white guy who assumed that Latin was a gang member. And that same officer harshly questioned hem about being in a gang the he had never even heard of. On top of that Latin has managed to steer clean of any gang association, other than knowing friend and family that have fallen into the gang grasp. But even with this, Latin did get terribly harassed for just riding his bike on the street.

“No one can do anything about the profiling…” Latin positions, “… a lot of people… especially those in the poverty driven areas, think there is nothing they can do about profiling. They run out of hope. There goals are not being supported, all their dreams are being tarnished… it is really bad.

But there are a few that are out there, like myself, that never want to give up on their dreams, no matter how hard it gets.”

“No matter how hard it gets,” Latin inspires.

He has more, “No matter what type of tough terrain you have to drive through, you have to get there somehow, someway… I never let a situation like the cop, or anyone, profiling me to stop me from ever-moving forward and putting one foot in front of the other. We all have to learn to do that.”

“How would you council people out there who are being profiled?” I ask.

“I’m not a violent person…” Latin explains, “… so I would not fight if I did not have to. I would just keep moving forward. There is nothing you can do about those people, just let them be those people. There is no possible way that they can be helped, as far gone, as they are mentally, that we can turn them back. We Just need to focus on the things that we know we can get done; like living our dreams, going to school, being a good parent, being there for our families. Getting out there and trying hard to be the man or woman or son or daughter or whatever they are trying to be and to just become that.

Look at yourself and the people you know are good people… and help those people.

And to all the negativity… just stay away from it.”

Caprice to this point has been sitting quietly listening. I turn to her in asking for her advice to us.

She thinks for the longest time and then responds with quite a remarkable point of view.

“Toward the world in general?” Caprice ponders… “There is too much negativity: If people could just see the world, and people, through a child’s eyes. To be carefree as if they did not know judgment, or if they did not know there is so much snideness and hateful things out there.

People should be ably to walk down the street and be able to say hi to someone… like in a community. But nowadays people don’t even speak to each other in their own community, in the grocery store or in their own neighborhood. Most of that just comes from people having their nose stuck in the air.

People need to come together, to break this class type of thing and to just to be humble towards everyone.

Everybody would be a lot happier if they were to see the world through a child’s eyes and not to care about what people think.”

Look at life through a child’s eyes. How sweet is that thought! What do you think? Can we do it even for just a few hours a day? Maybe we should accept that as a challenge? I’ll leave it in your court to decide.

Latin looks at what’s ahead.

“All of us need to enter the direction of being positive, smiling at people’s faces, saying hello, giving a handshake instead of a frown or a mean mode.

But still, looking at the future, I have to say that we are heading towards destruction. And if you and I and the others don’t step it up and try to help change what we can change, and what we have the power to change, even that and more… honestly. We are in big trouble.

If we don’t… Destruction and hatred towards one other is going to continue in the same cycle, and that is exactly were we are heading right now; that cycle of hatred and isolation amongst people of all different colors, all different races and all walks of life. People don’t seem to want to get out there and get themselves known or know anybody else. They want to worry about just themselves, or just what they have going on. They want to live life selfishly. And I don’t think that is what life is about. It about getting out there and learning about people and not judging them on a constant basis.

Definitely destruction if we choose to not do something about the way things are now. On the good side, the future is changeable if people can learn to shine in a positive light.”

Caprice again supports Latin’s perspective, but projects a sobering projection, “Ten to fifteen years from now the people will be the same… unless we do something about it. The problem is that a lot of people are stuck in their ways.”

After 280 days and having meaningful discussions with over 1000 people, I am coming to a conclusion, “We are a silent majority.”

The findings are slowly rolling in, and what I am witnessing through the words and histories of the many strangers that I am now proud to call friends in this. There are more people of like mind than we realize.

May we all begin to speak up! Not necessarily in our words, but in our deeds and outlooks towards one another.

Latin summarizes it well, “All of us need to enter the direction of being positive, smiling at people’s faces, saying hello, giving a handshake instead of a frown or a mean mode.

And Caprice gives us the tools do so, “There is too much negativity: If people could just see the world, and people, through a child’s eyes. To be carefree as if they did not know judgment.”

I’ll leave it at that.

Talk tomorrow… My friends.