I have a voice and I will not be silenced

The past couple days I have been visiting websites talking about the immigration march I went to in D.C. on Sunday. Some of the blogs I’ve come across are run by ignorant, xenophobic racists.

One of the worst websites I came across was Youth for Western Civilization. After reading William L. Houston’s extremely biased and vile “report” of the immigration march, I was filled with so much sadness for the ignorance that fills his young head.

I tried to comment multiple times. I presented intelligent arguments, and for this, my comments were deleted. I suppose those who run the website are too cowardly and ignorant to respond to factual truth. Meanwhile, they eagerly publish racist ranting comments which are written by people who obviously do not know how to turn off the CAPS lock.

Well, I will not be silenced. So William, and all the rest of you – I’m calling you out on my own blog and you can not delete me here. I will have my say, (even if it is just throwing pearls to swine.) And because you tried to shut me up, I will yell it even louder.

You went to the march/rally with the sole intent of finding “evidence” to jibe with your own misguided beliefs. You took photos of people waving non-U.S. flags just so you could call them unpatriotic. You and I both know, those people were in the minority and that the vast majority of the 200,000+ people proudly waved AMERICAN flags… Besides, even if people showed pride in their roots, how is it wrong? Is it any different than the Republicans who wave Israeli flags, (or worse, Confederate flags), or Caucasians who wear “Kiss me, I’m Irish!” T-shirts?

Second, those with Che Guevara shirts and things of that nature were also few in numbers. I saw ONE person and I was there for several hours. You must have really gotten a lot of exercise walking through the crowd and searching these people out.

In any crowd and at any event, at any gathering of any race or political party, you are going to find people with a different agenda. This rally was full of peaceful, hopeful people and you know it.

You say, “This wasn’t a spontatneous [sic] outburst of American patriotism like you see at the Tea Parties. Rather, it was tens of thousands of people waving small American flags (which the organizers provided them with) … because they want something in return, namely, American citizenship and access to taxpayer subsidized public services.”

You also say, “Some Latino demonstraters [sic] had bigoted, anti- European signs. There were signs at the rally which claimed that North America is a “Bronze Continent” that belongs to Indians and Latinos. There were others which claimed that Europeans were illegal immigrants.”

You are railing against the Latinos at the rally for being bigoted which is the epitome of irony. You also praise Teabaggers for their patriotism. Do I even have to explain how ridiculous that is? So, Latinos are bigots in your mind for suggesting a historically true fact, (that North America was stolen from the Indigenous people), yet Teabaggers, who are absolutely vile racists who most recently shouted “N*gg*r” and spit on a Black Congressman, are cool with you? … You are so far down the wrong path that even a top-of-the-line GPS couldn’t help you find your way back to reality.

Lastly, about that video you shot of people unintentionally walking over a little U.S. flag on the ground… You say:

“As we were leaving, we noticed Latino demonstrators walking over a discarded American flag on the sidewalk. We shot some video of those patriotic Americans which we will share on YouTube.”

Did you ever consider that perhaps the little flag slipped out of someone’s hand, (perhaps a child’s), accidentally, and it was totally unbeknownst to the person who dropped it? The people who are walking over it are not stomping on it, they simply fail to notice it is there. How does that make them unpatriotic? … You, on the other hand, saw your beloved flag on the ground being trampled. Not only did you leave it there, but you watched, and you took the time to video tape it. What does that make you?

When did “Mexican” become an insult?

I wish I had something more fun to talk about but it looks like I’ll be blogging about racism for the second post in a row. I feel as if I’ve been bombarded by it on all fronts lately.

First our youngest son came home from school and asked, “Mommy, is there such a thing as a bad ‘N’ word?… Someone said it on the bus.” I couldn’t help the sharp intake of breath that I took. I tried to be calm, since some of the “bad” words he’s asked me about before turned out to be funny misunderstandings. Perhaps he hadn’t added yet another bad word to his vocabulary so soon.

“Well, what word do you think is a bad ‘N’ word?” I asked.
“I don’t think I should say it,” he said, reaching for a pencil and a piece of paper on the desk. “I’ll write it.”

And so he began… N-I-G … he paused. “I think it has two G’s,” he said, writing the second one. G-A-R. Well, he misspelled it by one letter, but the word scratched onto the piece of paper in his childish manuscript made me sick. I scribbled over it and erased it then threw it in the trash before answering him.

“Yes. That is a very bad word. That is worse than all the curse words put together.”

His eyes widened. “But…what does it mean?”
“It’s just a bad word. It’s a mean word to call someone. Never ever say it or write it again.”
“I won’t – but what does it mean,” he persisted.

I sighed before launching into a discussion about slavery, Martin Luther King, racism and the power of words to hurt others. I told him that if he ever hears anyone say that word again, no matter how much bigger or older they are, he should tell them to their face that they’re racist and ignorant.

He nodded his 8 year old head in understanding and promised he would.

A few days later, my oldest son came home and told me a girl had pushed past him in the hallway at school and said, “Get out of my way, Mexican!”

He doesn’t know her name, and he said, even if he did, he doesn’t want to report her. This would get him a reputation as a “snitch” and a “cry baby”.

I told him to correct her next time. I told him to say, “First of all, that’s an ignorant thing to say because I’m not even Mexican, I’m half Salvadoran. Second of all, why do you think it’s insulting to call me a Mexican?” I’m sure that such a measured response will be answered by a mouth breather like that girl with silence, as the tiny gears in her undersized brain, come screeching to a halt.

Maybe I shouldn’t make fun of the child though. She is probably just a product of her ignorant parents… yet if her parents were raised the same way, how can they know better? … Does being ignorant make someone blameless or do they have a responsibility to challenge the beliefs they were taught? What if they aren’t intellectually capable?

Racism directed at the children brings out the mother tiger in me, but the one time I dealt with blatant racism directed at myself, I laughed, and I’m still not entirely sure why. Walking through the shopping mall, holding hands with my husband, a large white male in motorcycle riding attire, passed by on my side. “Race traitor,” he whispered viciously.

I stopped in my tracks, my mouth fell open, as his words registered in my brain. Race… traitor… Me? As if I belong to him, to whites? As if I owed him some sort of loyalty?

“Did that guy say something to you?” my husband said.

“Yeah… he called me… a race traitor…” I said, and then I started laughing. My husband looked at me for a split second, quite sure I had lost my mind, but he decided he would worry about my mental state later as he took off in the other direction. He isn’t sensitive to racism specifically, but he will defend my honor to the death, (as any decent caballero should.)

“Where are you going?!”

“I’m going to beat the shit out of that guy! Let me go!”

I felt his muscles tense as I held tight to his arms. “No, no. It’s not worth it!”

Every time I loosened my grip, my husband started to take off again until I convinced him that he would end up with a police record and jail time, or worse, in the hospital, and we didn’t even have health insurance.

That happened last year but just today, my husband tells me the conversation turned to politics with an Anglo co-worker. The guy asked my husband who he voted for. This is something my husband has learned to keep to himself but for whatever reason, he answered truthfully.

“I voted for Obama,” he said.
The co-worker groaned. “Why’d you vote for him? You know his middle name is Hussein? That’s a Muslim terrorist name right there.”

My husband doesn’t get riled up by those sort of comments the way I do. He just ignored it and said calmly, “I voted for him because I felt he was the best person for the job.”

End of discussion. Hopefully that guy doesn’t have a white hood in his trunk.

All of this comes at an interesting time. My husband and I are probably going to the Immigration Reform March in Washington D.C. this next Sunday. Our oldest son wants to go, and although I think it would be a great experience for him, I don’t plan on taking him. I’m just nervous about how dangerous it could be. I’m not worried for myself, but as any mother knows, when your kids are with you, that changes everything. Suddenly the crowd looks that much bigger, the counter-protesters that much angrier, and you realize that it wouldn’t take much, (a single racial slur yelled out to the wrong person), for things to dissolve into total chaos.

I hope it will be peaceful, but I’m not betting my children’s safety on it. There are too many people out there with too much hate in them.

(Video contains explicit language.)

Now I wish I had a dime
for every single time
I’ve gotten stared down
For being in the wrong side of town.

And a rich man I’d be
if I had that kind of chips
lately I wanna smack the mouths
of these racists.

Podrás imaginarte desde afuera,
ser un Mexicano cruzando la frontera,
pensando en tu familia mientras que pasas,
dejando todo lo que conoces atrás.

Si tuvieras tú que esquivar las balas
de unos cuantos gringos rancheros
Las seguirás diciendo good for nothing wetback?
si tuvieras tú que empezar de cero.

Now why don’t you look down
to where your feet is planted
That U.S. soil that makes you take shit for granted
If not for Santa Anna, just to let you know
That where your feet are planted would be Mexico
Correcto!

-Molotov/Frijolero

Latino Job Hunting Perils


My husband had a preliminary phone interview for a job this morning. The boss asked, point blank:

“Are you illegal?”

I never know if that’s a good sign or a bad sign. One can’t be sure if they’re asking because they’re running their business on the up and up and fear the law, because they’re racist, or because they actually prefer to hire undocumented immigrants since it’s cheaper. The proper answer to this question in a bad economy is,

“Do you want me to be?”

Rick Sanchez on Anglicizing

anglo A couple weeks ago, while discussing the hotel manager who tried to force his Latino employees to change their names, (to make them easier to pronounce for non-Spanish speaking customers), CNN’s Rick Sanchez weighed in – and what he said shocked many. Dissenting from his fellow Latino colleagues, Sanchez defended the New Mexico hotel owner, Larry Whitten.

In part, Sanchez said:

“My real name is Ricardo Leon Sanchez de Reinaldo. I don’t use it because I want to be respectful of this wonderful country that allowed us as Hispanics to come here, and I think it’s easier if someone’s able to understand me by Anglicizing my name.”

I usually like Rick Sanchez but I thought this statement was incredibly ignorant. Perhaps Rick, as a recent Cuban immigrant, is thankful that he was “allowed…to come” to “this wonderful country”, but what he failed to realize is that not all Latinos are Cuban. Not all Latinos feel the need to pay respect for being “allowed” in because the fact of the matter is, their people were here FIRST – Before the Anglos. The Mexican people in New Mexico and in much of the Southwest are living on their own ancestral land.

If a person chooses to change their name, as Rick Sanchez did, because they feel it gives them a competitive edge, will help them become more successful, or for any reason at all, that is their prerogative, but no one ever, for any reason whatsoever should be forced to change their name.

We live in a country full of diverse people and diverse names and that is something that makes us special. In the list of “Most Common 1,000 Surnames in the United States”, we have:

#18. GARCIA
#19. MARTINEZ
#22. RODRIGUEZ
#29. HERNANDEZ
#32. LOPEZ
#38. GONZALEZ
#42. PEREZ
#52. SANCHEZ
#61. RIVERA
#67. TORRES
#70. RAMIREZ
#89. FLORES
#94. GONZALES
#99. DIAZ

These are just in the top 100. If you go further you continue to get an impressive mix of Latino and Anglo names. Eventually we get:

#229. NGUYEN (Vietnamese)
#281. O’BRIEN (Irish)
#363. COHEN (Jewish)
#459. WONG (Chinese)
#461. PARK (Korean)
#591. PATEL (Indian)
#683. LEBLANC (French)
#687. CHANG (Chinese)
#753. RUSSO (Italian)

My point, this is a nation of immigrants, get used to it. It won’t kill a white person to learn how to say Martín [Mar-teen] instead of Martin.

“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names” ~ Chinese Proverb