Kabir Vega Castellanos
HAVANA TIMES — It’s not strange to see a group of boys playing soccer and for one of them to shout “asshole” to another one of them because of the mistake he made. In environments where videogames are played, the worst insults imaginable also form part of this experience. Curses fly from one computer to another and even across the network.
Another common sight is finding young people invading the public space with their music turned up to the max, as you’re walking down the street. They don’t care about whether it bothers the people who are around them. Sometimes the person who puts on music louder than is needed is the bus-driver. Passengers can’t even hear each other if they know each other and want to have a conversation.
It has become a part of our urban landscape to see groups of even adults shouting and cursing in public, as well as watching a man hound a woman who he sees for the first time with obscene phrases.
Anti-social behavior has become so widespread that it can no longer be attributed to the lowest social class. Many “fighters” from the middle class have joined in and who might show off their expensive clothes, car, smartphone as well as a speech sprinkled with swear words.
However, it’s shocking to see just how quickly this attitude can transform; all you have to do is change their environment.
A friend of mine immigrated to the United States when he was 15 years old thanks to his father’s application. While he lived in Cuba, he spoke like any vulgar loudmouth, he wasn’t interested in school and he didn’t have any ambitions.
A year later, he came back on holiday. He was a completely different person, polite, correct and he even spoke with perfect diction. He thought about his future now, he was interested in his studies and he claimed that he liked his school.
I remember when I was in primary school that people would regularly ask me whether I was a foreigner, just because of the way I spoke or my formality. I found it quite funny sometimes, but, why did it have to be like this? It’s sad to think that just because you’ve had a good education you stop being thought of as Cuban.
However, the worst thing was how they reacted when they found out that I came from the same land as them. They would let a joke slip and would look at me like I was a freak. It almost seemed like they looked down on me for being educated.
It’s interesting because, they were conscious, at the same time, that being educated is good. Just not here in Cuba.
That’s why many of those who are about to emigrate begin to take steps to try and revert their bad habits. Things like young parents who teach their children to say swear words, especially if they are boys. They even egg them on to touch their female friend’s buttocks and for their small boys to innocently call them “whore”.
Thinking about changing where they live worries them. They’re told that in the US you can’t talk like this because you can be arrested by the police. They begin to realize that “there” scandalous behavior doesn’t resolve anything and they won’t be able to get their way like they do in Cuba.