Monday, October 26, 2009

Visiting relatives, prejudice and finally: shinning the light!

Yesterday, we purchased plane tickets for Sergio's parents to visit us from Mexico for the winter holidays!

They have never been to the USA...and I wonder at their expectations.
"Coming Home"
oil on canvas
by Claudia Olivos

They are concerned about the cold weather (they come from south Mexico where it normally hovers around 90 degrees year round and gets up to 115 in the summer), they also wonder about prejudice against foreigners.

When Sergio first arrived in the USA, he was surprised at the diversity of people to be found here. He delighted in not only trying foods from different countries, but also in meeting people from all across the globe.
His "idea" that he would encounter racism...was quickly challenged into the realization that it is a stereotype that is perpetuated via media.

We have had some run ins with prejudice based on our being Latinos (just yesterday in fact we had another :( --but these are few.

I can't wait to share it all with my in laws.
The local Asian markets where people speak little or no English, where we buy all sorts of "goodies" to bring home, the Indian and Middle Eastern sections of our town brimming with restaurants and markets... we will also take them deep into DC to try some "soul food" and into Chinatown as well.

We have so much to share with them..the beauty of our adopted country... and hopefully shinning the light on the good, rather than the negative (like found in today's headlines abut the ignorance of the New Mexico hotel owner that asked his employees to change their names to less "latino" sounding names).

Martin Luther King, Jr.:

I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.


Debsparkles said...

So many of us work so hard to teach our children not to be racist or sterotype other people yet it continues as it has for hundreds of years. I don't think it will ever go away. Just assure your in laws that the majority of us love each other as human beings without reservation to color, race or creed.

@TankaBar_Linda said...

Glad your family had a good experience. Wish everyone could find such a welcoming environment. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same experience with prejudice in the United States.

Claudia Olivos and Sergio OlivosM said...

You are so right! Racism and prejudice has been around since the beginning of can be racism (based on race), or prejudices that run the gamut from socioeconomic to bloodlines, religon, etc...
Indeed: the best we can do, is teach our children well by example :)

I don't want to I mention..we have had our share of "run ins"...from being made out to empty my purse at a store when I was 15 because of how I looked (the manager told his employee that loud enough for me to hear) my ex's dad telling me I was a "sand nig***" and his mom telling me we were from two different worlds (my naivetee saved me: I thought she meant because I came from an educated family and he did not!).
And two years ago being harrassed when we were hit by a hit and run driver on our way to the Baltimore aquarium. It was in the am and I was drinking tea. Sergio was driving. We were hit and spinned wildly across a four lane highway until we hit a concrete wall head on. The car was totaled, and it was a serious enough accident where we could all have died. Luckily, we were all son had a bloddy nose, so we put him on the driver's seat to lean his head back. The cops accused us of drunk driving, insisting that the thermos of tea had liquor (they never checked) and that we had made our 12 yr. old son drive (though the blood was on the back seat) ... the 'white' witnesses that stopped gave us their contact info and left before the police arrived. The other witnesses who stayed...were 'black'. These officers had a VERY difficult time believing us..and them (yet never bothered to check the thermos, the trunk, the blood on the back seat)...I had glass shrads on my forehead, and the paramedic told me "that's what you get for driving under the influence".
Sergio heard them say "these damn Mexicans" and they demanded his green card although he had his driver's license.

we needed medical attention and they were too busy concoting a tale of absurdity..even affecting the paramedics present *sigh*

Finally, it seems that the witnesses that stayed had some "pull" as one of them pulled out a badge (I didnt see it)--it was enough that the officer APOLOGIZED, let us use his cell phone to call our family for help, and let us wait in the cruiser until the tow truck came. Now, three cruisers had arrived...only one stayed, one apologized.
The next day when my insurance called the police for info: the accident was NEVER reported.
We did not have the info of the good samaritans that stayed...but did have the contact info of those who left-if not for them, our insurance would never have responded.

So yeah.... bad experiences...but I still see the glass half full *sigh* that ceaseless hopeFULL idealistic dreamer!