(This is from a conversation I was having just this afternoon with my cousin.)
Michael: what is so bad about illegal immigrants?
I mean, why do we make it so hard for them to come here?
Their country is SHITTY. WE immigrated here, and killed all the people that were here before us. Doesn’t the statue of liberty, which we plaster all over everything that’s “American” PHYSICALLY SAY, “Bring me your tired, your poor, your whatevers?’
I’ve been terrible about keeping up with the news lately. I try to stay updated via Twitter and links my friends post on Facebook, but I get behind.
I hadn’t heard anything about Arizona or any kind of immigration bill until this morning, actually. And when I did, I immediately started digging around to see what I could find. This issue resonates with me, big time. Every time I hear someone talk about “those damn Latinos,” my hair stands on end, and I prepare to get extremely defensive.
The bill in Arizona seems to me (my opinion) as an easy way out. A way for people who are uncomfortable with the Latino population in this country to say, “Nope, you can’t come in anymore.” To me, it’s fueled by fear of the unknown and racial stereotypes, which I can’t believe I still hear all the time.
I haven’t always been as defensive about racial stereotypes as I am now. I really didn’t find myself getting defensive until last year, when I realized I had to be. When a friend said something to me I will never forget as long as I live. To protect her privacy, I won’t give her name, and I won’t repeat what she said. But it was extremely offensive to me and my new Mexican family members. Oscar and I have a very open relationship and I tell him everything, so I reluctantly told him what she said, and he responded by telling me he no longer wanted her in our house, something I thought was very harsh at first but later realized was pretty fair. I tried to make our friendship work for a long time after that. I blamed myself for fueling her hatred somehow. Eventually, I realized I had nothing to do with the way she thinks and feels, and no amount of me trying to talk to her about how I feel was going to change that. She was stuck in her ways, and has been ever since. And our 10+ years of friendship has pretty much gone down the toilet. At first I mourned the friendship. I couldn’t believe I had put so much time and effort into something that crumbled so easily, like a science project that just came crashing down onto the floor.
Now our conversations are few and far between, and it’s awkward whenever we do chat. There’s still a tiny part of me that wishes we could go back to our friendship before, but it just seems so trivial now. Plus, there’s a lot of anger I’ve had to deal with over the past year that I don’t know if I’ve completely worked through yet. It’s hard for me to say that, but trying to convince myself to not still be angry a year later is hard. Especially when I feel my little half-Mexican baby kicking my insides, and my heart just breaks to think that someday he might be stereotyped because his skin and eyes and hair are darker.
I’ve finally realized that my friend and I have outgrown each other. It doesn’t make the situation suck any less, but the truth gets easier to swallow as time passes.