Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Can't even walk down the street safely anymore

I've read the stories about hate crimes committed against undocumented residents. The anger is sometimes so overwhelming that I can taste it in my mouth. The vile, rancid taste of hate because you know the people attacked didn't deserve to be victims of ignorance. Those feelings are magnified when you see it happen right on front of your eyes. When you see the act itself being committed and not doing anything about it. The other day I was at a lunch truck eating with my friends around 1:30 a.m. 

As we sat and huddled for warmth after eating, I noticed from the corner of my eye commotion in the street. I see a car with two people in the front and and two other men getting out to assault a man who was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. The men immediately begin to man handle him after taking him by surprise. As one holds his hands behind his back, the other searches him for valuable possessions to steal. My friends begin to notice what's going on and I tell them, "the guy is getting robbed." "We should go help him," said one friend. "Yeah we gotta do something," said my other friend. 

Both of them are women and they wanted to go help while me and my other friend just sat there and kept an eye out to make sure things didn't take a turn for the worse. Before we could decide what to do the guys go back in the car and drive away. Immediately the girls go and ask the man if he was OK ? We follow and begin to talk to the man and ask him what they stole from him, his wallet with his I.D. from work and the Mexican Consulate. One of my other friends flags down a sheriffs officer and the officer tries to give chase to the car, but with no luck. 

He comes back and begins to take a report of what happened, asking us to describe what we saw, the make of the vehicle, what the attackers looked liked etc. The men were Mexican, just like the person they robbed. Part of me hates that very concept. It's hard enough in the world as it is and the people who are suppose to be looking out for us are the ones stabbing us in the back. The lack community unity hurts everyone because divided we fall, but united we stand. I myself grew up with that kind of ignorance around my community for far too long and while I decided to devote my life to stop crimes like the one I saw, at times it feels like I'm chipping away at a glacier with an ice pick. 

Having been a victim of robbery, I knew that I couldn't involve myself in what was going. What if they had guns ? knifes ? what if they decided to go after my friends ? The safety of my friends and the victim are too high for something as petty as money or a wallet. I would much rather give them what they want than to risk becoming another two minute news story on the evening news. 

"A young man was killed late in the evening last night as he tried to fight off his attacker. El Random Hero was 2? years old and was attending ???? college as a journalism major. Police say that during their struggle, the attacker, who was identified as ????, was carrying a hand gun and shot Hero in the chest repeatedly leaving him for dead. No word yet on the location of his attacker."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Identity Crisis

Pretty much up until a few years ago, after I became self conscious and aware, I was ashamed of being who I am and accepting it. Since I was a kid, my parents reinforced this notion in me and my sisters that we were inferior compared to everyone else because we didn't have "papers." I grew up being ashamed of being Mexican because my parents were ashamed of it themselves. They never took any pride in their culture, heritage or traditions because that wasn't instilled in them when they were young, so naturally they passed it on to me and my sisters.

One positive aspect I can reflect on is that while my parents didn't instill confidence and appreciation for our culture, they didn't forsake it all together either. These notions of inferiority were also reinforced in school because I was never friends with other kids like me who didn't have papers, I had regular friends who did normal "American" things.
I literally learned english as a child by watching t.v. sitcoms and from interaction from neighbors and friends at school. My sense of humor, knowledge of history and pop-culture all came from a variety of shows but the most influential shows that to this day have impacted my life are The Simpsons. Among other cartoons, The Simpsons molded my subconscious with trivial and at times useless information about pop-culture. I look back and watch the same episodes I watched religiously back then and marvel at the smartness of the jokes and the hidden-historical references made in each episode. It's no wonder I have a fascination for Jimmy Hoffa.

Obviously that pushed me in the direction of forgetting about who I am and where I come from and adopting a more American outlook and attitude toward life. I never talked about being undocumented to anyone and always avoid anything relating to it because I knew that was topic that must never be mentioned. I assimilated and by the time I was in the fourth grade I was able to read and write english without any difficulties. In fact, I was never placed in any ESL classes, that I know of, and I even envied the other kids in the ESL classes because they looked like they were having more fun than I was reading and analyzing short stories. The shame continued on into junior high and into high school because I knew that if anyone knew I didn't have "papers," I would be ridiculed and punked by everyone else. I basically didn't want to lose any face with my friends. 

Over the years, the shame just kept developing and growing until I didn't even know who I was anymore or where I belong. This identity crisis lead to me having to face past demons and coming to terms with who I am, where I'm from and who I represent. I still see kids going through the same thing because I see it in them. The inner conflict they struggle with while still trying to please everyone else. It's easy to toss blame at other's but it's never justified. It's just an excuse to deal with the one's own personal demons and to try to make sense of everything. The idea of having to integrate two diverse cultures can lead to many paths and some stray to far and lose themselves. 

Then there are other's who embrace it and some who are able to find the middle. I would like to think that I've found the middle in that I'm proud of who I am and where I came from, but I'm also proud of my new adoptive home. Now when I stop and think about not having papers, I don't see it as nothing more as a legal technicality that prohibits me from fully living my life.  A technicality that will change in the immediate future. 

Monday, December 08, 2008

Darrell "Dimebag" Lance Abbott

Playing the greatest show in heaven with Randy Rhodes, Jimmy Hendrix and everyone else who was taken too early.....Metal Up Your Ass !!!!