StoryBored USA: ANCESTRY AND THE SINGLE STORY (PART ONE)


♪♪ CABALLERO: For Christmas last
year, my wife got me a DNA testing kit. After submitting
my saliva sample, I waited a few weeks
for my results to come in. (applause) I was excited to learn
that my ancestry consisted of about half European,
30% African, ten percent Native American,
and the rest a mix of North African and
Ashkenazi Jewish. Then I started piecing together
the puzzle of my genealogy, and found a very clear story– the story of
Spanish colonization. The prequel to the story
begins with the Reconquista– a centuries-old conflict
between Christian Spain and Muslim Spain. To quickly summarize,
after almost being completely eradicated
by Muslim forces, by 1492, Christian Spain
was close to defeating the Kingdom of Grenada,
the last Islamic State in Spain. (humorous simulation
of battle sounds) In that same year of 1492,
the Spanish crown funded Christopher Columbus’s
voyage to the New World, and with it,
the Spanish empire was born. (whistling) Sadly, the next few
hundred years would see Spain eject its Arab
and Jewish populations, bring genocide to the native
people of the New World, and force millions of African
people into bondage and slavery. And so while the Spanish empire
was formed on the backs of diverse people,
Spain made sure that only one story was told– that of the
European perspective. What happens when we let
one culture or one ideology dominate the cultural narrative? How can creative people of color
avoid the trap of the single story? # # Hey, there, Story Boreders. I’m your 3D printed host,
William D. Caballero, and welcome to the first episode
of “Story Bored USA”– a new web series that aims
to empower diverse young people to tell their stories
through creative arts and media. As a multimedia filmmaker,
writer, and composer myself… (high-pitched violin notes) …I’m interested in learning
new ways that we can use our craft to understand
the past, make sense of the present,
and shape the future. I hope this series
can provide some inspiration to you during your
creative evolution. Because if you don’t
tell your own story in your own voice, someone else will. YOSIMAR REYES:
When I was growing up, I remember actively engaging and really trying to learn
where I was from. And for me, like, it was
always this constant exploration of, like, well, what really…
what really am I? I’m a person that’s informed
by American culture, but at the same, my background
is very, you know, immigrant based. CABALLERO: That’s Yosimar Reyes,
an incredible spoken word artist whose work is influenced
by is his culture and identity. He’s this week’s Creative Coach. Think of the Creative Coach
as a fellow creative– one who excels
at telling their story in their own unique way,
trying to help you tell your own story
in your own unique way. So, for me, I think
what poetry became is, like, a method of me
getting rid of shame, and being ashamed of, like,
being an undocumented person, being a queer person,
being a person of color. CABALLERO:
Think about it like this: In the ideal society, there’s
room for everyone’s story, regardless of
the storyteller’s gender, race, nationality, sexuality,
religious background, and individual identity. When everyone has the ability
to tell their story with no fear of discrimination
or backlash, a cultural exchange occurs,
and the stories in time become part of
the American narrative. However, the reality is that
our history hasn’t exactly been an overflowing paradise
of tolerance. It’s been told by
the dominant members of society, and promoted one viewpoint,
one story, a single story, and has made those who live
outside of the story, or those who look differently
than those telling the story, prone to alienation
and the feeling of shame. As a result, their stories
may never get told. REYES: When I was 16,
I used to be really, really shy, because I was navigating
so many identities that I really…
I don’t really understand. Like, you’re growing up
in the hood, you’re undocumented,
you’re queer– like, how do you
negotiate that at 16, and, also, what are
the examples that you look out for? Like, who are the people
that have made it who are living like this? And I could not find
one example, right? Hey, there. William D. Caballero. Thank you so much
for checking out this episode of Story Bored USA. If you like what you saw,
please, please hit the subscribe button below,
and tell all your friends about this show. We’re coming back
with many more episodes that explore
the creative process in an effort to help you,
the viewer, understand the power of your creative voice. So thank you so much, guys,
take care, and I’ll see you next time.

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