Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's Not Easy Being Green


I've been blogging since January 1999. I was starting my second semester as a freshman in college and picked up a part-time job to help pay for life expenses. Between class, work, and the general pangs of Growing Up™, the writing became an important outlet so my head wouldn't explode.

A curious thing occurred, though, when I began to explore and assert my inner-Xicano - Una Identidad Sin Fronteras. Like scales falling from my eyes, I realized how much centrifugal force was applied by assimilation to eradicate any instance of dissonance with Normal (read: white).

From language to learning styles to the way words are spoken to the clothes that are worn to interpersonal relationships both familial and professional, the subtle baseline note that came through like a tuning fork that my ear was finally trained to detect was: "You're doing it wrong"

It is something that all people of color experience at some point in their lives. If they haven't yet, they will.

Like any mezcla of humanity, there's the eternal push-and-pull of influence. Por ejemplo, I guarantee that for every Republican that supports full rights for gays and lesbians, there is a close friend, sibling, or someone that's positively affected their life who identify as homosexual. Empathy.

It's a step forward, but the situation is not the same on either side of the flag that's tied in the middle of the tug-of-war rope. The historically dominant side seeks to eradicate the perceived weak by two methods: denouncement and/or disappearing.

Perceived because the weakness is like a mirage in the Sonoran desert.

Over the past few years, my experience of being a citizen of the United States with Mexican ancestry has been enlightening, to say the least. Anti-migrant hysteria from conservatives and nativists who've declared war on my cultura and identity alongside demands for mass deportations and family destruction have been a source of radicalization that's ignited the habanero in my bloodstream.

The haters have a smart strategy, though.

By making immigration a "Latino issue", they've succeeded for years in ghettoizing (denouncement) and marginalizing (disappearing) voices like mine and others who can actually speak to how failed immigration policies affect those whom are targeted by enforcement-only campaigns. Institutional and often outright racism has guaranteed that the vast majority of faces of those raided at their work sites or homes, detained and deported, are brown, even though the U.S. has undocumented workers from every part of the world with varying degrees of melanin.

The irony is that pointing this out somehow makes me the racist. Still don't know how that all works out, but I digress...

The Lou Dobbs and Pat "Operation Wetback" Buchanans of the world thrive because of their ability to hold back coalitions. They represent a power structure that would crumble into dust and drift away like expelled flatulence if enough human beings chose to "Build Bridges and Break Down Walls" as our tag line states at The Sanctuary instead of destroy.

Which brings me to the point of this series - Luis Ramirez.

to be continued...

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