Must Love Mexico…

mexico, musings

We, as Americans, have a distorted view of our Southern neighbor. Mind you it’s not just one Southern neighbor but a chain of diverse and exquisite countries. Culturally we lump them into a pile.

I read this quote from the late Anthony Bourdain that really struck me:

“Despite our ridiculously hypocritical attitudes towards immigration, we demand that Mexicans cook a large percentage of the food we eat, grow the ingredients we need to make that food, clean our houses, mow our lawns, wash our dishes [and] look after our children…

Americans love Mexican food. We consume nachos, tacos, burritos, tortas, enchiladas, tamales and anything resembling Mexican in enormous quantities. We love Mexican beverages, happily knocking back huge amounts of tequila, mezcal and Mexican beer every year. We love Mexican people — as we sure employ a lot of them . . .

We love Mexican drugs. Maybe not you personally, but “we,” as a nation, certainly consume titanic amounts of them — and go to extraordinary lengths and expense to acquire them. We love Mexican music, Mexican beaches, Mexican architecture, interior design, Mexican films…

So why don’t we love Mexico?”

To Bourdain’s point on one hand we openly embrace tacos, tequila, and tortilla. We love wearing sombreros and mustaches on Cinco de Mayo. We love sugar skulls around Halloween. We love speaking Spanglish to movies and friends. We use wonky “Mexican” accents to mock and make humor. We don’t mind vacationing on their beaches and visiting their monuments.

Yet, when it comes to the people, we care less.

When it comes to the insensitive nature of our cherry picked love affair, we care less about the people and more about our personal advantages.

The fact that we are tearing families apart at the border is a prime example of this. Yet it breathes to deeper racist roots. It breathes of a deep history in this country of people being torn apart. Maybe the face was a slave master. Maybe the face was an oppressive native reeducation.

Today, the face is the newly implemented “no tolerance” policies for families seeking asylum, backed by Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump. Another outreach of a culture that prays on the vulnerable to make a point, to spin a political fire storm. It’s an act to discourage people from coming, an act that has likely not reached the hundreds of people fleeing for their lives across borders, thousands of miles north from the home they know.

flag-42281_1280


For decades undocumented immigrants from Mexico, and other Latin American countries, have been coming to this country. Once here they are often treated with distrust, hatred, and spitefulness. Yet, they are the ones that are picking our food, raising our children, building our homes, and they are active members of our society.

Around 50% of undocumented immigrants pay taxes, their children are educated with “our” children, their children go onto college and build lucrative careers. In fact, there is ample evidence to show that immigrants maybe participate more in our economy than those that are native born or with native born parents.

Still, we have no problem kicking the most vulnerable when they are already down.

Documented immigrants, refugees (asylum seekers) included (like the ones being separated at the border) are also part of the fray.

We rarely differentiate in our attitude. The other question is, should it matter how these children and others got here if they are desperate? Should they be treated this poorly by border officials? Are they not all people?

Ignorance, hatred, and racism asks questions on “WHERE is someone from?” “Are you here legally?” “Why don’t you speak English?”. Often all brown people from another land are looked on as lesser, as a burden, as someone taking. Even though ample evidence shares a different story.

This attitude stretches far beyond how we see those in the Americas.


When we visit the southern land(s) we often stay on fenced resorts, only venturing into the unknown for shopping or monuments. We rarely delve beyond a veiled surface to understand whose land we walk on. I am also guilty of this.

When we visit Mexico we don’t bother much to speak Spanish, and we demand that others speak English. When they visit us, or move here, we use slurs and condemn. We expect, once again, for English to be used.

We don’t mind using the land, the inexpensive vacations, the tasty food. We don’t mind the cheap labor and the exploitative nature of Colonialism. It’s for the benefit of Americans, so it must be okay. Right?

Yet the problems that cause people to flee, and beg for sanctuary, are related to our own bad choices. We directly perpetuate the drug cartels power in Latin countries due to our consumption of illicit substances. Even our heroin problem can be traced to cartels losing out on cannabis profits and flooding the markets with cheap heroin.

Yet, even though we are active participants, and problem makers in the system, we close the door and pretend the desperate masses are just not there. We have done it for years, and as far back as 2013 we were housing children that were running from cartels independently. Yet, this new wave is meant to punish the most vulnerable, and exploit the voiceless for vile policies, all pawns in a political power struggle.

When we have a leader that speaks about these peoples with such distaste, it’s easy to see that this feeling has deeper roots than “just a few haters”. In fact, the leader of the United States actively campaigned on this hatred, and building a wall, and he fucking won over it. So is it honestly a surprise that he has no problem vilifying and traumatizing desperate families?


I end with this question: if you dealt with the horrors that many of those fleeing North do, would you stay put? Would you allow your child to be killed by a cartel? Would you stand by while your wife was threatened? Would you want your children to possibly end up in these cartels?

I guarantee most of you would run if given the chance, because the small glimmer of hope in a distant land, is far better than no hope at all.

mustLoveMexico

Advertisements

You know how in school we’re told to stand up for what’s right, even if we’re standing alone?

My parents encouraged this. Which I am profusely grateful. Even if my right is their wrong and vice a versa.

As someone that always took this as 100% the way to live my life, this means I don’t always make friends or peace with those around me. I often tangle with people in my family and people I grew up with. It means that many teary and angry conversations have been had with people I legitimately love, but that I cannot agree with their beliefs.

After the election on Tuesday I removed a lot of these people from my immediate connections. It was a long time coming, but I just couldn’t continue to be confronted with the following:

Bigotry,

Islamophobia,

Homophobia,

Transphobia,

Sexism,

Racism,

Anti-immigrant,

Anti-equality

and the list goes on.

I didn’t unfriend these people because they had a different argument or a different feeling, it’s because they continued to perpetuate inaccuracies and make excuses for hate speech and bigotry. They did this without fact-checking or without reading or without thinking what it means to any one of these groups of people that have been oppressed, abused and mistreated for these identities.

The did not care to research that racism is based on a system of oppression and that there is no such thing as reversed racism. Or that sexism is very well alive and can be proved over and over again. They kept themselves in a bubble that ignored reality, that ignored the tears and pain of those being abused as a result of our systemic problems in this country. It’s not the vote for the talking head, it’s the willful ignorance and hatred that they endorsed and support.

I CAN’T have this in my life, I refuse, and I refuse to make excuses for people that endorse this behavior. I refuse to make excuses so I can stay friendly with people that view me and so many of the people I love and admire as second class citizens.

So here I am, standing for what is right, and I will stand alone if I have to.

I am standing for what is right, which is basic human rights for all people. Which is giving people safety and sanctuary when they have been brutalized. It is standing against continued rape culture and the perpetuation that women or men “make it up” when they’re assaulted. It is standing up against a system that favors jailing minorities over whites that commit the same crime. It’s standing against anti-drug policies that favor abusing and oppressing minorities. It’s making sure women have access and rights to all the things male counterparts have. It’s making sure people of color, LGBTQ, differently-abled and anyone else that has been the victim of oppression is given the right and opportunity to succeed.

I refuse to write off people that haven’t had the opportunities of others. I refuse to view a group of people with hate (including Trump-ites). I refuse to believe any nationality or ethnic group is different, or more prone to, or less than human. I REFUSE. And I refuse to acknowledge others’ hatred as an accurate or even real argument.

I don’t care if one time someone from some group was mean once, or said something once. That’s not a representation of everyone from that group and their behavior sucks, but when you have lived a life treated as less than, sometimes you lash out, sometimes the anger from years of mistreatment boils over. And one becomes mad as hell and has just had enough. I think we have all been there for some reason. We cannot acknowledge one negative action as an example of how everyone behaves. You know this to be true. One kid in the class eats glue, not everyone in kindergarten does.

However, I will listen to REAL arguments and I will listen to real complaints. I will listen to real feelings about being left behind and underrepresented. Because, hey, I feel that way too. However, I also know that the layers to these problems are not from minorities and they are not from immigrants, they are not from foreign governments and they are not from any group that can be scapegoated. If you want to learn with me, then let me know. I’m happy to talk, I’m happy to show you. I’m happy to learn.

I’m happy to take suggestions, ideas and encouragement, but only if they have a standing in reality. I will not, and cannot take your bigotry or your privilege as an argument. Do you understand?

So today I turn my back on hatred and oppression. I don’t turn my back on people, but I will not see their hateful actions on my Facebook or twitter. It’s not a willful ignorance or wanting to shut these people out, but I refuse to be on social media terms with people that post these statement as if they were just a cute cat photo.

It may make no difference in the long run, but you know this poem:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

~Martin Niemöller

I am speaking for those that can’t speak up and maybe someone will speak for me or not, but I am speaking for others now. You should too.

 

Turn Your Back On Wrong

History, musings