Haz el bien, sin mirar a quien.

-Spanish proverb

-direct English translation: “Do the right (thing) without looking at who”

-Miguel’s colloquial translation: “..which means do right, without prejudice”

Miguel is a friend I met as freshmen at USC; however, we both call the Bay Area home. He grew up in Richmond, CA and his mom is from Guanajuato, Mexico but moved to Oakland, CA when she was 11. Although Miguel grew up immersed in Bay Area Chican@ culture, he actually didn’t hear this saying that much growing up. 

It is more significant for his mother, who heard it from parents and elder relatives. Findings from brief research online, i.e. a book of 6000 Spanish proverbs that is named after this one and numerous downloadable wallpapers of the phrase, would suggest it’s quite a common proverb, although origins are difficult to establish. 

In addition to stressing the importance of doing the “right” or “good” thing, this proverb commands listeners to do so with and for anyone. Not only does it ask listeners to act without prejudice, it implicitly requests that we are “good” even if someone else is “bad.” Neither prejudice nor bitterness justify maltreatment of people. One’s own judgment doesn’t either; in this sense, the proverb evokes biblical teachings that “only God can judge,” that individuals are in charge of their own fate/salvation/repentance and the actions or inactions of others should not determine/compromise one’s own.