“El Norte” An Eid and “American” reflection

My contentment and exhaustion were one. I walked smiling towards my car wondering why I had agreed to go to work on my Holiday. You see, it was Eid; our Islamic Holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. Ramadan is the month of fasting for Muslims. The day had been a long, positive, fruitful one. The night before, I didn’t sleep much. A friend in distress needed to talk and so we did. Then afterwards I was wide awake. On about 3 hrs of sleep, we got ready for the day, went to the prayer and attended a mini carnival with the kids than out to eat. Six hours of ‘siendo una mama ocupada‘ (being a busy mom)and now I was walking to my car to go to work for 4 hours. Lesson learned. Next year I’ll call off completely.
Walking towards my car, I saw the Mexicans who have 101 job descriptions around our complex-make that 102 now: If I could change the world, I would, and I wouldn’t make it as ugly, rude,hateful; and prejudicial as it is now.

My usual stance is, No Nationalism, I tend to shy away from overpraising Mexican people or My being Mexican. At the end of the day I am a lot more than just a Mexican. Not only that, but many Mexican people are the cause of my frustration through their lack of understanding multiculturalism, different Religions or a different ways of life that what they think is normal for a Mexican. Yes, there are Jehovah Witness Mexicans, Muslim Mexicans, and even Mormon Mexicans….but enough of that mini rant 😉

 On point again, there is MANY beautiful things in Mexican Culture that I love. Their hard work ethic. The way they have a hard to break spirit, they can be broke, hurting and still singing their Rancheras and doing their dishes for minimum wage or less. I love they way they love hard, look out for their people, the loving food environments and so many other things.

Listening, I walked up to my car and heard hammering or breaking. I looked up to see the Mexicans standing in the sun, next to the dumpster-breaking apart furniture. I felt sad, sad that the family who was evicted lost their apt, sad their stuff was rained on;and even sadder that these Mexicans were busting their back destroying the soggy wet  furniture to throw it in the Dumpster to make a living.

I called out to them “Buenas Tardes” as I unlocked my car door.They replied back. I asked them… “Man tambíen los tienen haciendo esto?!”(they have doing this too!?), to which they said, Queriamos Norte” that translates as We wanted to be up North! This(El Norte) (We are North of Mexico) is America for most Mexicans!

Those 2 words, “queriamos Norte” said SO MUCH in just one phrase! They spoke a story to me, a story of privilege, pain, work, leaving family behind, leaving respect, love, culture…..only to be here and hated for wanting enough money to survive: as if WE (Those lucky enough to have been born here) wanted to do the jobs they do anyway!

One needs only to do a quick google search to see the atrocities being committed in mexico now. You tell me you’d want to live there with a straight face, putting yourself and family at risk. Please tell me that, My grandmother’s house is still there. I’m tired of people hating Mexicans because they want a better life. I’m tired of people and their lack of  understanding and acceptance of other people. Yes, I said understanding not tolerance. Tolerance only means to tolerate something. I want acceptance. I try VERY hard to be a better person, learn more about others and teach my daughter these things. Why can’t others?

Anyhow, taking it a back a step; I wish I had thousands of dollars to give away to help people. To help those who need it to keep their homes. To help those who need it to feed their families….I could go on and on. However, I don’t all I can do is try to offer a smile, kind word and maybe point them in the right direction if I know it. I can however, voice my opinion, and I do that plenty.

Let’s say you are pro Immigration laws, let’s say you are against, let’s say that you like me, have different opinions on it, all valid non racist. There are so many factors to consider…

Imagine yourself working hard to get good grades, imagine America beginning to go through yet another recession. Imagine you finishing College and becoming a Teacher in a well-respected school. A doctor to families who love and appreciate you or an Engineer for a car company with much respect a great home and salary. Imagine America crashing 😦 Imagine being invaded by drug traffickers, law overridden, no economy, no safety, loosing your job, your parents, your husband or wife. Imagine NO jobs, no safety, no security no Government to help you. Imagine crying babies, begging for help mothers, children on the streets selling bubble gum and begging for help, every single day, every single place you go. Imagine your wife crying out of frustration, fear, and worry while begging you to do something…

Hard to imagine such a desperation. Imagine fleeing to Germany, Italy , or any other land whose Culture and language you do not know. Imagine having to find someone to live with, a job to go to and learn the Culture and language. Imagine being talked down to and disrespected because you have an accent. YOU, YOU the respected Teacher, Dr, Lawyer, Engineer. You……here…..the NOBODY. Worst than a chewed up piece of gum on a hot summer day stuck to new shoes. This is how you are treated if you are an Immigrant Mexican.

Treated less than human and hated, hated because you pluck chickens, clean houses, babysit, do manual labor or wash dishes. They claim you steal their jobs…hmph as if we would ever want or do these jobs!

Hated because you speak in your language. Ask yourself this though if you were in Italy, Germany, or Japan with fellow Americans wouldn’t you too speak English? Wouldn’t you speak your own language? It’s more comfortable, it’s more heartwarming, understood and most of all more respectful to speak to people in their own language. This doesn’t mean i am advocating living here for 20 years and never learning the language. That’s not only dangerous (what about an emergency?) but dumb and hindering yourself from opportunity. However, we shouldn’t hate people because they want better, nor should we assume all Mexicans are illegal. My grandparents came here legally so when ppl say Mexicans should go back to their Country it’s pretty dumb to generalize All Mexicans as not belonging here. Not only that but I am Native American and American White so where should I go off too? Also some Mexicans lived in Texas before it was United States, they too, are in their Country. On another side note: not ALL Latinos are Mexican even. It’s not very smart when you assume Colombians, Peruvians, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans(Which are “American” by the way), and many other latino groups are Mexican.

Today, if you do nothing else, smile at someone who is “different” from you. Be polite to the person with the accent. Go above and beyond neighborly, read a book on other Cultures, be a better you.

This Eid day I was grateful for having a peaceful life, a loving family, a wonderful Faith, a part-time
job with understanding staff, being Mexican and yes for even being American.
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