Tag Archives: Hispanic

Witness to (hopefully) Accidental Prejudice

I’m back!!!  A little later than I wanted to be, but that’s because life has had me tightly in its grips as of late.  There’s been a lot on my mind too, actually, but due to the respect that have for other parties involved in why there’s things on my mind, I’m going to try my best to keep those to myself.  I know that part is unhealthy, actually, because writing is my outlet and my main outlet to release those pent up emotions, but I can’t disrespect other people much on here, or anywhere else for that matter, which means that I have to find another outlet when other people in my real life destabilize my emotions.  Anyway, I’m going to try and make a quick observation here on something that affected me last week that I just can’t shake.

So, this thing happened to me last Monday in Boerne, Texas as I was going to prepare for the final 513 mile trek westward back to El Paso, Texas from my trip to Houston, Texas.  In case y’all didn’t know, Texas is a gigantic state.  LOL.  Driving to and from Houston takes 10 hours each way and it’s that short now because a lot of the time, the speed limit is now 80mph and just about 75mph everywhere else.  Before, when the speed limit was 65mph, you could expect a 12 hour drive and all within this one great state.  How crazy is that, right?  Anyway, on my way back from Houston, I had strategically set up my fueling stop in Boerne because according to my calculations ( in which I did not factor extreme wind blowing eastward and thus creating more friction for my truck to move through), I’d have more than enough fuel to drive the entire 7 hour trip on that one tank.  I wasn’t hungry waking up and didn’t get hungry until about 40 minutes into my drive back home, so by the time I hit Boerne (which is on the western edge of the greater San Antonio metroplex) I was starving.  I filled my gas tank up to the maximum amount it would let me and noticed a Whataburger (a Texas staple and tradition) across the freeway.  Of course I had to go.  Not that any one of the 25+ locations in El Paso wouldn’t fill my Whataburger cravings, but why have a more national chain restaurant’s food when Texas’ own would do, right?!  So, I got over there, ordered my food, got my soda, and sat down.  Naturally, I just looked around at everybody just curious as to the crowd that hangs out at that place.  After surveying the crowd a bit, I noticed two very young teenagers, no older than 18 I’d say.  One was wearing a trucker hat with some sort of company name on it and the other had a black trucker hat with these words visible as they were printed in white; “Build Wall” I could only assume that the word “the” was in cursive and another color I couldn’t see very well in between the words “build” and “wall”, but I will tell you that it just hurt me to see that.  Now, I know some of you may have conservative views on things.  Don’t get upset, I do as well on most things, but in this instance and the reason the phrase “build the wall” is now popular, I don’t agree with at all.  It’s actually as offensive as a racial slur/term to me because in all honesty it is.  The people wearing these hats or t-shirts or shouting it out either in real life or on their social media platforms have no idea about how life really is along the border.

In case you didn’t know, El Paso, Texas (where I’ve lived the past 36 or so years) is a border city.  We’re now the 7th safest city in the United States according to Safe Wise.  Until this ranking, we’ve been 1 or 2 for the past 10 or so years.  I will tell you, from living here the majority of my life that it is a very safe city.  All of the drug violence that occurred in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on the other side of the border only affected us twice from what I can recall.  Once, a bullet hit a building on the campus of The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) as it’s directly across from a very populated area in Juarez, and the second instance involved a stray bullet that struck a woman’s leg somewhere in downtown if I’m not mistaken.  That second one really can’t be attributed directly to the drug violence in Mexico, but the assumption was that the bullet came from over there somewhere.  That’s IT for the violence in the past God knows how many years, by the way.  Now, one could say that those were two incidents too many, but in comparison to what’s being portrayed about violent crimes here, as statistics show, we average 3.9 per 1,000 people.  That’s not really a lot.  Look again at that study as well.  Guess who’s number 6 on that list?  Yup, San Diego, California.  That’s another border city with Mexico.  Their violent crime average is 3.77 per 1,000 people.  So where’s the violence from Mexico?  Where are the rapes, beatings, and murders?  They don’t happen.  What’s the word?  Fake news.  That’s what that is.  Sure, violent crime does happen here, but it’s not because of any illegal citizens.  It’s simply American –v- American crime.  I’ll grant you that there is a language barrier, especially from downtown, into central, the lower valley, and into parts of the eastside of El Paso.  If you don’t at least understand Spanish, it would be best to be with somebody who did because there are a lot of Spanish speaking only people here, but since English is not the legal language here, it’s only frowned upon to not speak it.  I’ll be honest, it bothers me too sometimes, but it is what it is.  It’s not a criminal act.  As far as drugs go, yes, a lot of them go through the ports of entry, but those are the actual legal ports of entry that they get smuggled through.  They don’t go through gaps in the border wall, which I will also tell you that have been up here in the southern New Mexico/west Texas region for a long time already.  Nothing does, actually.  Thousands of people cross daily to and from our two cities/two countries legally via foot and vehicle traffic and we live in relative harmony.

I circle back to these two teenagers who obviously have no frame of reference as to what life is really like along the international border between the United States and Mexico.  That’s what really makes it sad to me.  There’s no reason to erect a barrier when one isn’t needed.  Sure, people do cross illegally into the United States from Mexico, but the vast majority of these people aren’t violent criminals and we’re not talking about thousands at a time all day every day.  If they do decide to try and cross, they are doing it in remote locations in Arizona where honestly they are risking their lives attempting to cross through there due to the harsh conditions and terrain.  It may happen with a larger frequency than some may be comfortable with, but we have Border Patrol agents who routinely go through that area and they do apprehend and deport the individuals they catch.  Same goes for the rest of the border between our two countries.  But a need to advertise slogans like “build the wall” insinuating that people from Latin American countries are ALL criminals and we need to erect some sort of great wall of America is just sad to me.  Hispanics, like myself, aren’t criminals just for being who we are.  Before you go barking out “Build the wall!” or putting it on your next social media post, just stop and think about what exactly you’re talking about.  Do you know the whole story?  Chances are you don’t.

Love and peace, y’all!

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Learn-ed Moron

Salutations once again y’all!  We’re heading into the end of another week as this year really comes into the fast swing towards the end.  With that, television has brought me some happy and exciting feelings with CHRISTMAS (not “holiday”) commercials! Snowy scenes about gift giving and buying with kids, dogs, very expensive brand new cars in the driveways of multimillion dollar homes, and Santa Claus are filling the commercial breaks between shows now and to be honest, I can’t be any happier.  I LOVE the Thanksgiving into Christmas season the most out of any other time of the year.  I’m trying my hardest to NOT play my Blu-ray Christmas films right now!  It’s that fierce this year!

That’s not what I wanna talk about this blog though.  The thing I want to talk about is being Hispanic.  Heck yea!  I’m one of the 52 million people in the United States who can be counted amongst the people of various Hispanic countries.  Personally, (and saying it jokingly) I’m an American made with Mexican parts.  LOL!  As funny as I put it, it’s true.  I don’t think about it living in El Paso because as you can see here, El Paso is about 80.7% Hispanic.  There are only a few spots, and I’d venture to guess certain areas of the westside and most of the northeast sides of town where you may encounter people who don’t at least understand Spanish.  Everywhere else, though, sheeeeeesh… you almost better understand Spanish because especially if you look like me (and most of us do), people assume you speak Spanish first.  It’s even more prominent in the areas close to the border to Juarez, Mexico.  Most businesses along the area are run by Spanish speaking people, and you’d be really out of luck trying to go there and try to get somebody who even understood English.  Luckily for me, my brain works well enough where if I’m having a good day, I can transition seamlessly from English to Spanish and not even think about it.  Most days, though, my brain refuses to translate Spanish from English and I either forget my words or it takes me a minute to process the translation to say what I need to say.

I say all of that because I was able to see the first third of a new show on Netflix by the great John Leguizamo.  I’ve followed this dude’s career from back in the early days of the late 80s and early 90s and absolutely LOVED his specials on HBO dealing with growing up Latino.  Freak and Ghetto Klown really spoke to me and made me realize just how much in common Latinos live their lives.  His new special, Latin History for Morons, goes away from introspective views of living life as a Latino and instead shows the audience just how we came to be.  Even though I’m only a 3rd of the way through, there’s been so much information that he’s given me that I honestly didn’t even know, that I’m just blown away.  I’m appreciating my heritage a lot more than I did before, but at the same time I’m a little heartbroken about it too.  I know I’ve got a lot of Native American blood in me because of my skin tone and well the fact that I know my paternal great great grandmother was full blooded Comanche, and I’m pretty sure that I have a lot of Aztec blood in me coming from my mom’s side, but that can’t be verified because I really don’t know much of her history.  In any event, the reason I’m a little heartbroken about it is because in the special, John tells us the story about just how we came to be.  There were millions of people all throughout the American continent living in peace amongst each other until Christopher Columbus took a wrong turn thinking he was going to India that had him stumble upon the islands south of what is now Florida.  Long story short, he and his people violated women and children, killed the men, and brought the diseases from Europe to the Americas and that killed millions more.  The Spanish soon followed and went through what is now Mexico, brought their violence and diseases with them and soon killed the Aztec tribes, and most of them traveled north through here, oddly enough, and made their way a bit further north and then slightly southeast and west.  Some also went south and ended up killing the Inca via violence and diseases as well.  That’s as far as I’ve gotten into the show, and I can only imagine things remained crazy until that history started to blend in with the northeast section of America and the formation of the United States and all that violence and disease that was brought upon Native Americans from them.

It sounds so bad, doesn’t it?  The Aztec people were very advanced for their time, all of the Native American tribes lived off the lands that looked so incredibly different back then, especially in what is now Massachusetts and New York (it was all super dense forest), and the whole American continent was full of people just doing their thing living in peace.  Part of me wonders what would have happened if the Europeans wouldn’t have raped, pillaged, and killed the indigenous people to this land.  Things sort of worked out in the end, I guess?  Who’s to say, right?  I guess if it wasn’t going to be them, it would have been the English and the French to do it instead, but what would have happened if everybody that came here from other continents just let these people just live their lives as they were? Well, I guess I wouldn’t exist.  That’s for sure.  Haha!  My surname is Spanish and I’m Catholic too.  I wouldn’t have those things if nothing would have happened.  I might have still spoken English and Spanish (both badly as I do now, if you wanna know.  LOL), but I’m sure I would be speaking a language native to this area (well, back in the day at least) as my primary language instead.  It’s crazy to think about.  I know one thing though.  I’m glad that I’m me.  All the guilt of the Spanish, but all of the pride from my Native American people too now lives in me.  I just hope that if God blesses me with children, I can pass along all the history that I know so that they can know where they came from too.  Now, I can’t wait to get back home to finish the show and tell everybody that I know that has Netflix to watch it!