Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I was a dumb Mexican. A Wet Back and not good enough to play with the red headed girl across the street. I was not allowed to join the Blue Birds an off shoot of the Girl Scouts. Nor was I invited in to many of my friends houses.
This is me, a little girl at a birthday party sitting next to Tommy, the Birthday boy who was my best friend. You could say the seat of honor. And yet his mother thought nothing of picking me up at my house to go and visit him one evening and then leaving me in her car in the dark while she went into her friends house for hours to perm her hair. I was probably not good enough to be invited in. And their I sat, obediently, looking longingly for her to return so that we could continue on, so that I could play with Tommy.
I show my childish grinning photo to make a point. As far back as I can trace, my family came from Spain and settled in New Mexico by way of Mexico. Not recent immigrants they had been in New Mexico when it was a territory, then a state. As far as I know they had been there from the 1600’s.
From New Mexico they moved to Colorado where my parents moved to California. I am surely an American. I pledged the flag every day, stood no matter when the National Anthem played even on the TV. I was taught to hate the Indians. I always wanted to be a blue blooded Cowboy. Davy Crocket was my hero because he fought at the Alamo. I even believed that the Hawaiians were lucky to become part of the United States, after all they would be able to have all the modern conveniences that All Americans had.
But as this grinning little girl, I endured much. Name Calling, rejection and hatred. I wanted to be like the little red headed girl or the blond with ringlets. Surely I would have been a much better person had I been. I held it against my father for having brown eyes even though his half brothers and mother had blue. I surly was defective. And because of this I never really felt like a true American.
Here I am today, still trying to come to terms with who I am and having much empathy for those who are the underdog. My eyes are wide open now. My mind has expanded, and though there are many things I don’t like about America, I am an American, through and through. Through all these experiences it is my responsibility to make sure that I can take my past and make it work for the future. Change the ugly in The Ugly American to The Beautiful, the kind and The Non Judging One.
I’m not dumb, my family never snuck across the Rio Grand and though I would never deny it if I was, I am not Mexican. I am an American of Spanish decent. And for those of you who don’t know the difference then the pot is calling the kettle black. Dumb indeed.
- Karen in Honolulu
- Do you want to know about Hawaii from a locals point of view? Where do we like to go? What things do we like to see. This blog is about seeing Hawaii without being trapped. This is a journal about Good eats, Hawaiian events, and looking at the islands through the eyes of someone who has lived here for more then forty years.