Sunday, April 16, 2006

Oye Mi Canto

Today started out so well. We went shopping at Old Navy, and then hit Target for a few things we needed, and even more that we didn't. My husband was in a pretty agreeable mood and he let me meander aimlessly through the store without complaining. While we were browsing, a friend of ours called me and asked if we wanted to go out to dinner and then maybe go bowling afterwards. It sounded like fun, so we said sure. Ha ha, I even have my own bowling shoes! It was looking to be a great evening; shopping, food, fun, and friends! Can't beat that with a stick!

We ended up going to Buca de Beppo and eating waaaaaay too much. Garlic bread with Mozzerella, Chicken with Lemon, Garlic mashed potatoes, spaghetti marinera and this awesome penne dish with chicken and artichokes, yum yum. Dessert was this chocolate cake/spumoni/chocolate sauce concoction that was divine. I had a couple of drinks with dinner and maybe got a little tipsy too. After dinner, we headed down to the local bowling alley for a few games of extreme bowling. Apparently, if you play music videos and turn on some blacklights, that makes bowling "extreme" so that way they can charge more. Whatever.

I'll be honest with you; I really suck at bowling. Seriously suck, like a Hoover. If I break 50, I consider that a good game. It doesn't matter to me though, because I still have fun. I am there with my friends, there is fun music playing, and I have a few drinks in me, so it's all good, right?

Well, this one song comes on. It's Nina Sky singing "Oye Mi Canto". It's pretty catchy, and if you are at all familiar with the current music phenomenon that is reggaeton, you'll understand why. One of my friend's boyfriend says, what the hell is this stuff? I don't speak Spanish. What the hell does Oye mi canto mean anyway?

I tell him that it translates to "Hear my song". He says, what if I don't want to hear it. I don't know Spanish, play English music. I tell him it's reggaeton, and he says so? I say he needs to broaden his horizons. He says This is America. We speak English here. I say this IS in English, at least parts of it are. He says well, I don't speak Spanglish either.

He proceeds then to inform me that if he were to go to Mexico, they wouldn't play music in English for him there, why should we play music for THEM in THEIR language here? I tell him that Mexico isn't a country that prides itself on the principle of being a melting pot. He says well, neither is America!

Whoa. Hold up.

I asked him, what does it say on the Statue of Liberty? He says I don''t know, don't care. I tell him it says Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to be free. He says well, that was like a hundred years ago, it doesn't count anymore.


And then it gets better. One of my other friends, who I have known for almost seven years, pipes up, YEAH! It doesn't apply anymore!!!

Okay. Let me get this straight.

You think America is for the Americans. Do you not realize that there is no such THING as an American? We are all basically from somewhere else! The only difference is that some of us came from that somewhere else earlier than others. Just because their white ancestors came here on some boat, they are more dese? Never mind that because of some white guys who had nothing to do with them decided to divvy up their land, now they are told that they are not welcome here anymore.


I honestly am divided on this whole immigration issue. Yes, it's pretty crappy when people who aren't citizens are using up our resources and commiting crimes here. But it's not like they are the only ones doing it. My own husband made a comment about the illegals being in gangs. I looked at him and asked him how many gang members he has known in his life. He said well, none. I say well, I've known many, and I can tell you that every one was a citizen of this country, children of parents who may have come here illegally, but who were not in any way affiliated with the gangs. He shut up.

Also, there's that little nagging detail that my own father came to this country as an illegal alien.

That's right folks... I am the daughter of a wetback.

So when someone tells me that THOSE PEOPLE need to go back to their own damn country, and that they don't deserve to be here at all, they are telling me that I don't deserve to be here.

Even worse, they are telling me that I don't deserve to EXIST. That's right, I don't deserve it because I am the daughter of a wetback.

In the end, it doesn't matter what kind of shoes I wear, how much the purse I carry cost me, or what university I attended, in the end, I am just the daughter of a wetback, and I don't deserve to exist because he had NO BUSINESS being in this country in the first place.

I'm tired of being inferior because I am Mexican. It's not fair, because it's something that I have absolutely no power over. I am tired of people judging me, and choosing not to like me because of who my ancestors were and where they came from. From the ex-boyfriend whose mother threatened to commit suicide if he didn't break up with THAT MEXICAN, to that bitch Lindsay who felt that she could give me the grunt work at the store, even after I defended her sorry ass to everyone who called her a bitch behind her back, because hey, that's what my people are used to doing. I am just tired of it.

How am I supposed to have pride in my heritage when everyone else is telling me that my heritage is simply something to be ashamed of?

Of course, they'll never say that to my face. They'll never have the balls to tell me that I don't deserve to exist because my dad (who was a good person regardless of what any of you assholes out there may think) had no "right" to be here. They'll never tell me to my face that I am JUST a Mexican, and that I am inferior. Because they are cowards. Prejudice is hate, but it's fear too.

It really breaks my heart to know that people I've long thought of as friends feel this way. They may say no, I'm not racist, I have a friend who is a Mexican, that's right, It's ME!!! Guess what? That still makes you a racist! If you think "those people" should "go home" you're talking about ME TOO.

A lot of times, people who are racist don't always realize that they are racists. They may not connect the dots and see what their words are really saying. They may not think that their supposedly pro-American sentiments are actually implying. That's when people like me end up getting hurt.

I suppose it's all well and good to get that reminder every so often. You know, to keep me in my place. So what if I couldn't enjoy the rest of the game because I was trying to keep from sobbing? Can't have this wetback's daughter getting all uppity and thinking that she is actually an equal with these white folks. I made it through that last game, but I didn't stay to play another one. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I barely made it outside the doors before I started to sob, and I bawled all the way home. But I deserve it. That's what I get for being a wetback's daughter.

Hey, oye MI canto. I count. I deserve to be here, regardless of what anyone thinks. Sometimes these issues are not always as simple as black and white.


Anonymous wendy said...

HUGS Sara. You've crystallized the issue so cogently and so well. I agree that a lot of people have racist tendencies that they hide behind statements like but "I love chinese food" and "I have some close friends who are chinese!!" Inevitably, what it boils down to is that somehow, someone found me "acceptable' b/c they thought I was "different" from the "rest of them" or because they don't know that I'm chinese.... But in the end, they're still talking about me, regardless if they know it or not.

I'm sorry for your pain, my dear. And I hope and pray that our country can find a rational way to address the issue.

10:24 AM  

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