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Illegal immigrant, illegals, Mexicans, immigration law

Throat Punch Thursday,illegal immigrant, the i-word, Charlotte NC, Tommy Arias,illegal immigration

Calling people illegals is dehumanizing

” Illegals” are not okay~ Earlier this month, the Charlotte Observer published a story about the birth of Tommy Arias, the first baby born in 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The article sparked an outpouring of hate from some readers.This really gets me hot because another beautiful brown baby was born a day later, my nephew, and I don’t understand how something so precious could incite racism? How could the birth of any baby ( black, white, brown, purple, green, yellow) spark hate? The hate came from the color of the baby’s skin and the assumption that the parents were illegal immigrants, prompting an explosive use of the term illegals or the i-word for polite society.

The entire immigration situation in the United States has been ridiculous for quite some time now. I am Mexican. I am a first generation American. My father was born in Mexico. Just because my father is of brown colored skin does not give anyone the right to assume that he is in the country illegally or to call him derogatory names such as illegal, wet back, Spic, Bean eater, illegal aliens (WTF, we’re not from outer space) and all the other wonderful names that people come up with for Latinos nor does it give people the right to comment so heinously on a newborn baby. I don’t give a flying fuck where you fall on immigration legislation. People are not inanimate objects, they have thoughts and feelings and they can hear your words and be hurt by your actions, even when you think they don’t understand. Believe me, they do understand. English is taught in the schools and not as an elective, as a requirement.

Here’s what happened. A photo of new mom Lucero Arias, 19, and baby Tommy, was published along with the article, which did not reference Ms. Arias’ immigration status, or national origin. The piece, however, did mention that Tommy’s grandfather called from Mexico City. How asinine is this? My children’s grandfather calls from Mexico on certain occasions at certain times of the year because he’s retired and that’s where he goes when it’s cold. Besides, would there have been such an issue if  baby Tommy’s grandfather had called from Spain? Italy?Australia? Germany? Japan? Africa? I’ve got news for you, we were all immigrants (unless you are a native American) at one time in our history. Some of us just got here sooner than the others. But make no mistake, we are all descendants of immigrants; illegal or otherwise. We are not all “illegals” and no one deserves to be called by that name.

Illegal immigrant, illegals, Mexicans, immigration law

“illegals” is derogatory and hurtful

That was enough for the comments section to fill up with anti-Latino, anti-immigrant rants, causing the Observer to shut down commenting for the article. The paper also added this note: “Comments have been disabled because of repeated violations of site policies. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.”

They had to disable comments because of all the venom that was being spewed about a baby who happened to have a Grandfather who called from Mexico, really? Do people just wait for any excuse to hate other people? It’s like a license to treat people like inanimate objects because they are Latino. Not every Latino is Mexican, and not every Latino is here undocumented, and not every Latino looks Latino so you should probably watch what ignorant comments will be coming out of your mouth because we come in all different shades; including white.

According to Observer readers and Drop the I-Word supporters, the attacks included the derogatory i-word and “anchor baby” slur. Jess George, the Executive Director of The Latin American Coalition, wrote the Observer asking them to Drop the I-Word. They didn’t drop it, but they published the letter, which also sparked hateful reader comments, including these: Way to be an asshole Observer!

” … When kids see lawbreakers get away with their crimes they think they can as well and kids know what illegals are. There IS a difference between Human Rights and US Citizens Rights … “

“Thats right. When an illegal takes a job, he displaces a citizen. When the citizen collects unemployment and goes on food stamps, we pay. This is just one hidden cost of employing illegals.”

“… The way to stop “stereotyping” is to have no illegals here, only legal Latinos. Where could any U.S. citizen sneak over a foreign border and expect a free ride?”

The incident is worrisome, as Charlotte, the city with the largest Latino population in the state, and host for this year’s Democratic National Convention, has also seen a rise in anti-immigrant, ant-Latino bullying. In a span of two weeks at the end of 2011, at least seven cases of anti-Latino bullying in Charlotte public schools were reported to the Latin American Coalition.

The term “illegal immigrant,” which many journalists are having a hard time giving up, is not too far of a stretch from describing people simply as “illegals,” which the Associated Press, New York Times, and the Observer itself have deemed pejorative. Both terms are dehumanizing and further the concept that a person’s being can be illicit. “Illegal immigrant” is not even legal terminology; the Board of Immigration Appeals does not use it, and neither does the Supreme Court. It’s not constitutional or precise language not only because the term convicts people, denying due process. But also because people are never found by courts to be “illegal.”

Can we please stop using this insulting term? How about Latinos? Mexican Americans? Mexicans? You wouldn’t use the n-word, don’t use the i-word. Humans should not be reduced to being called “illegals” it implies that the person is breaking the law by their very existence. It’s derogatory, it’s mean and it’s not going to be tolerated any longer. Throat Punch to anyone who thinks this term is ok. Throat Punch to anyone who uses it. Throat Punch to anyone who can hate a child for the color of it’s skin. Throat punch to the human who can not recognize the humanity in the eyes of another human, even if those eyes are dark brown and happen to belong to a Mexican.

Hope you will link up your Throat Punch Thursday posts with me. I wanted to extend a personal invite to all of you to link up any posts in which you air a grievance, call out any asshatery,or just dole out a well deserved throat punch to one of societies shortcomings or political douche canoes. If not this week, I do it EVERY single Thursday and would love for any or all of you to join in! All you have to do is grab the Throat Punch Thursday button ( listed under the “about” tab at the top of the page), put it in your blog post and link up. If you’d like to stay in the Throat Punch know, I’d love it if you would email or RSS subscribe ( as GFC will stop working soon). People are no more illegals than they are felloniouses, unconstitutionals, or forbiddens ( do you see how stupid the misuse of these words truly are?)

 

Just say no to the term Illegals

 

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Donald Trump, racist, presidential candidate, 2016 presidential election, republican party, Muslims, Mexicans

On a daily basis, Donald Trump says something that either shocks or appalls me. The man says the most outlandish, hateful and bigoted things; things that seem almost as if he is testing the American people just to see how stupid they really are; how far they will allow him to go, like a toddler testing their boundaries. I don’t know about you, but Donald Trump and his proposed immigration reform scares me.

I cringe every time he insults another race because each time he does, more and more American racists stand up and cheer. There is strength in numbers and with a presidential candidate crazy enough to vocalize the hatred in the hearts of many prejudice people, he gains more support and more influence and that scares me as a Latina woman and as a human being. In the midst of all of this, the brazen racist are revealing themselves; crawling out of the dark corners and alleys and rallying their aryan battle cry.

This goes way beyond Republican and Democrat party lines. Donald Trump is calling for banning entire groups of people from entering the country solely based on the color of their skin and their religious affiliation. He wants to build walls and mark people to identify them. You’ve heard the saying, those who don’t know their history are destined to repeat it? Well, hello, Mr. Trump sounds a little too much like Adolf Hitler to me. In the beginning his over the top antics were certainly controversial but almost comical because, surely, they were not genuine but now, I believe he’s blatant because he just doesn’t care who he offends.

I don’t know about you but I can’t stand by and watch this man round up all those he feels are unworthy to come into our country and persecute them. People who were escaping religious persecution founded this country. People who left everything they knew and loved behind in pursuit of freedom, happiness and a better life for themselves and their families. It’s the entire mission that our country was based on and now; Trump has made it his personal mission to shut people out; to discriminate and persecute the very people that need our refuge. The scariest part of all of it is that with each bit of hatred he spews, more Americans stand up and support these ludicrous, radically racist ideas.

I keep thinking that this has to be a joke. No one can hate these many people. Hatred even in the name of patriotism is still hatred.

Donald Trump must be trying to see how far he can go before someone stops him.

Surely, he cannot be this bigoted. He is a businessman who has made money working with people from all over the world. Am I to believe he has secretly despised them all? Surely, this must be a hoax. Maybe this is a ploy to capture the Republican nomination only to alienate himself so badly that the American people have no other option but to vote for a democrat. Maybe he is a political genius who is a secret democrat.I hope none of this vitriol is real.

If we believe every outlandish thing he’s said, we’d have to believe that he wants to ban Muslims from entry into the United States solely on the basis that because of their religion they should be considered dangerous. Well, I think the Westboro Baptist people are pretty dangerous but I don’t see him trying to kick them out of the country.

He wants to ship the Mexicans out because he wants the American people to believe that we are all criminals, rapists, murderers and drug cartel members. According to his proposed immigration reform, I would be sent to Mexico even though I was born here and have never lived there. He also doesn’t particularly like Asian people or women either. Each thing he says is crazier than the last and still his support grows. What’s next? Will he try to deport all of the African Americans back to Africa? Or maybe he will try to reinstate slavery or make it legal to continue to shoot unarmed black men?

Make no mistake, Donald Trump is dangerous. I don’t want to hurl insults and go off on a tangent about how ignorant I think what he’s saying is but I want to be clear that I am disgusted by his racism, his political tactics and his blatant disregard for basic human rights and I am scared for our country that there are some people who think this is okay. There are people who silently walk past me on the street and inside their head, they agree with him. This makes me feel vulnerable and unsafe in a way that no terrorist ever has. Trump running for president is entertaining to some until he actually gets elected and is corrupted completely by his power.

What are your thoughts on Donald Trump for President?

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Unarmed suspect shot by police officer, Walter Scott, Michael Slager, North Charleston, South Carolina, Shooting, Police, brutality, racism, fear

Yet another African American man, Walter Scott, has been shot dead in the streets. Hearing this saddens me but seeing the video infuriates me. How many people have to die before we change what we will accept from law enforcement, from the justice system and from ourselves?

A 50-year-old black man was pulled over for a broken taillight in North Charleston, South Carolina. The officer, Michael T.Slager, tasered Walter Scott who had warrants out for his arrest for not paying child support. Scott ran after being tasered. The police officer followed in pursuit on foot and then shot the unarmed man 8 times, in the back. Would he have done the same if it had been a 50-year-old white man?

Then, it appears from the video, that the officer drops the taser by Scott. The same taser gun that the officer said the man had on his person; the very reason he felt threatened enough to shoot him. To add insult to grave injury, Walter Scott was left lying on the ground; face down, bleeding out while not one of the officers attempted to perform CPR on him. Officer Slager is being charged with murder. I’m glad. Still, there is no explanation for these events that can make any of this right for me. If seeing is believing, I’ve seen enough.

My belief is this white cops are shooting black suspects because they are afraid of them. I don’t know if it’s because of some residual guilt over the inhumane way that most Caucasians have treated African Americans throughout history, instilled racism from their upbringing or just plain old ignorance that allows them to treat black people as less than and still sleep at night. Whatever the reason, I believe that some white people are genuinely afraid of black people simply because of the color of their skin.

On the flip-side, I believe African Americans run from Caucasian officers because they are afraid of them too; afraid that their fear will cause them to overreact and use excessive force.Fear that their lack of respect for their basic human rights could put them in imminent danger. If history tells us anything, they’re not wrong. We’ve seen it happen. It’s not unimaginable. This is just my theory.

How many more Walter Scott incidents can we tolerate?

Everything about this sickens me, however, it no longer shocks me. This is nothing new. The only thing that’s changed is that everyone has a camera with a phone that takes video and social media allows us to share these stories instantaneously with remarkable reach. This has been happening for centuries and anyone who believes it hasn’t is fooling themselves. We are being forced to face the reality of our brutality. You can no longer be blissfully ignorant about the world because the truth is caught on video and shown to us. To say you didn’t know it was happening today, is to be a liar.

I grew up in an African American neighborhood and in my world, this is how the cops have always treated African Americans. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. The world is an unfair place where fear causes men to do unspeakable acts in the name of self-preservation. Fear is a very effective motivator, even when it’s completely unfounded.

I’m not saying that all cops are racist or bad people. Quite the opposite. There are many law enforcement officers who risk their life every single day to serve and protect their community but there are a few small men with narrow minds, who function on fear and power and have guns. These are the ones who make me afraid. The ones who can be more compassionate to a dog in the street than a dying man lying in front of them. Those who lack humanity and human compassion scare me the most.

We know there is a problem. No human being should be shot dead in the street. I don’t care what color, creed, race, religion or sexual preference you have. We need to change. How many mothers have to lose their children? How many children have to lose their fathers? How many lives have to be snuffed out before it all adds up to too much?

In my book, one dead human being in the street is too many. We have to stop letting fear and ignorance govern our reactions. Collectively as the human race, we need to say no more and develop a zero tolerance policy for the brutality and abuse of power that we currently accept as status quo. This is unacceptable. This is not the world that I want for my children. Our children deserve better.

What are your thoughts on the Walter Scott shooting?

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Trayvon Martin, George ZImmerman, Racism, Bigotry

Throat Punch Thursday,Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, Sanford Florida

Trayvon Martin this one’s for you

This week’s Throat Punch is being given out in honor of Trayvon Martin. As a mother, my heart aches for Trayvon Martin’s parents. As a human, I am outraged. As a minority, I am fighting mad. This week’s Throat Punch is awarded to George Zimmerman the vigilante bigot who thought it was appropriate to shoot a boy in cold blood for the simple fact that the color of his skin was brown. I know that bigots are afraid of anyone different, especially when the packaging is a darker shade or two than their own skin. This is not the first time this has happened nor do I suspect this will be the last.

Trayvon Martin, George ZImmerman, Racism, Bigotry

Trayvon Martin was a Good Kid

Trayvon Martin, from all accounts, was a good kid who happened to come across a not so good adult with a trigger happy finger. I can’t imagine the pain and anger that Trayvon Martin’s parents feel at the death of their son nor do I ever want to know it. Isn’t every parent’s biggest fear that their child is going to come into harms way? A rogue drunken driver, a stray bullet, a crazed assailant, cancer, abduction, stranger danger, choking on a raisin, getting hit by a car, wrecking while texting? There are so many ways that we worry about our children getting into harms way, every day.  We don’t expect simply walking home from the store to be a particularly dangerous scenario. Walking home from the store should not be deadly, should it?

What is this world coming to that we can tolerate this sort of behavior? How can we stomach it as a people? Zimmerman says that it was self- defense. Evidence proves otherwise. Just because he was a racist who felt threatened by the color of a boy’s skin is not a legitimate reason for shooting Trayvon Martin dead and robbing his parents of their son forever. There will never be any little Trayvon Martin’s running to his mother’s lap. She will not see her son graduate from school. She will not get to dance the Mother/ son dance at Trayvon’s wedding.  She will not get to see the man her son was supposed to become. She will never get to know that man. He will not be there in her old age to hold her hand and comfort her at the end. Now, his parents are left with a giant void in their chest where their heart used to be. The great joy they once knew upon seeing that baby Trayvon  Martin be born has been replaced by pain and hatred. Hatred for George Zimmerman.

Nothing can make this right. Apparently, the big debate now is whether or not  George Zimmerman used a racial slur when addressing Trayvon Martin. Truly, the fact remains, whether he used a slur or not, that he is a bigot and shot Trayvon Martin in cold blood for no other reason that he felt threatened. Zimmerman was threatened for the simple fact that he had a predisposed notion to feel afraid of black men. This is racism, whether there is a slur attached or not. The sentiment is the same. The result the same. Trayvon Martin is still dead.

Trayvon Martin may you Rest in Peace

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Nakia Jones, Alton Sterling, gun control, cops gone rogue

I just watched the videos of the murder of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and I am sick and disgusted. I am fucking angry. Why does this keep happening? Why do we live in a world where it is acceptable, with only a slap on the wrist, for cops to kill people for nothing more than being black? Where we are actually considering actively electing a blatant racist to the highest office of our government and where the right to own a gun is more important than the right to live? What the fuck, America?

As a human being, I cannot process the news lately and I can’t understand how intelligent people can keep allowing this to happen. The saddest part of all, none of this is new and that is what disappoints me the most. We’re a nation stuck on stupid and those of us who know better need to work harder, scream louder, fight stronger and stand together to stop this from happening again….and again….and again. I don’t want to live in this loop of senseless death and disregard for human life any longer. I am angry. I am past sad and have gone directly to furious.

Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was standing in the parking lot selling CDs, as he had for years, when two cops, officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, arrived on Tuesday night in response to a 911 call about a man threatening someone with a gun.

Only Sterling was not brandishing a weapon, according to witness Abdullah Muflahi. Sterling did have a gun on him (but isn’t that what all the Second Amendment supporters have been fighting for?) but it was concealed in his pocket and not in his hand. By Wednesday morning Sterling was dead after a jumpy cop unloaded his weapon into his chest and protesters were in the streets of Baton Rouge.

Update: Not even 24 hours later, Philando Castile was shot dead in the driver’s side of his car after being pulled over for a broken taillight in Falcon Heights Minnesota. When he was told to present his license and registration, he disclosed that he was licensed and carrying a concealed weapon. Before he knew what had happened, the cop fired on Philando Castile. His fiance Diamond Reynolds Facebook lived the aftermath. Castile was left sitting in the car dying, the cop still had his gun drawn on the car with the woman and her 4-year-old child still sitting in the car. Mr. Castile was guilty of nothing. His only offense was being born black. What is this world coming to?

The thing is that is not enough. It can’t be one group of people or one city, we all need to stand up and say no more; as a nation…as a people…as the human race. We have to put the world on notice that we will allow no more reckless, senseless killings of our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. No more.

It’s not just about the cops, though there certainly seems to be a God complex that goes along with the protect and serve oath and why are some Caucasian cops afraid of black and brown men? Is it your racism showing? Is it your guilty heart of decades of treating other human beings like animals?

Alton Sterling, gun control, cops gone rogue, Nakia Jones

This problem, it’s about people. It’s about those of us who are allowing this kind of behavior to be tolerated and swallowed whole all the while it’s choking us to death. It’s about the people who are racist and allowed to take an oath to protect and serve a community and given a gun but who only want to protect and serve those who look like them. I thought they gave psychological evaluations before allowing someone to join the force? Are God complexes and racism not grounds for not allowing someone to be an officer?

We can’t wish away this problem. We can’t just talk about it. We need to stand up against it. We need to put ourselves in the line of fire and take a risk to save a nation that is slowly killing itself. Complacency is a fucking disease and it should be a sin because if you are doing nothing to find a solution, you are part of the problem. Your silence is noted. I see you. Just as clearly as I see those who speak up, stand up and fight for better. Everyone sees you and your sin of silence just as clearly as we see those who perpetrate these heinous crimes.

I cried when I saw the video of Alton Sterling being shot twice in the chest and 4 more times. I cried when I saw the video of Philando Castile bleeding out in the front seat of his car in front of his girlfriend and her little girl. I cried because this is the world we live in and this is what we’ve all come to not only accept but expect! I cried because I was angry and sick. I cried because these men were shot in the streets like animals. I cried for their families who lost him; children who lost their daddy. I cried for their parents, brothers and sisters. But mostly, I cried for the sheer terror and betrayal that must have been going through these men’s heads in their final moments when looking up at the very people who are supposed to protect us from the bad people, shooting them dead.

Then, I saw this video of Officer Nakia Jones of Cleveland, Ohio and she gave me hope. Don’t feel hopeless. Do something about it. Watch this video and know that we are all just people. These cops that we hear about shooting and killing our children are not the only ones on the force, there are good guys too. There are officers like Nakia Jones who live their lives to protect and serve their community and they feel as strongly as we do that this is bullshit and has to stop.

Be the change you want to see in the world! If you want to stop the next Alton Sterling from being murdered, challenge yourself to do more than just talk about it and forget about it.

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Michael Brown, shooting, Ferguson, MIssouri, racial profiling, riots

I have not touched the topic of Ferguson, Missouri and Michael Brown yet because I’ve been struggling with my own demons this week triggered by the suicide of Robin Williams but my fog is lifting and I am sick at what is happening in the world. I’ve spent the last 24 hours pouring over footage and articles and I am flabbergasted at what is happening in our country in this day and age.

I can’t pretend to know what it means to be an African American in this country. I can only imagine and empathize from knowing what it is to be a Latino. I also don’t know exactly what it is to live under the umbrella and protection of white privilege. I grew up a Latina woman in an African American urban neighborhood. I was not afraid but I was also raised that people are people, regardless of their color of skin, race, religion, sex or orientation. I guess that might be a fact those of us who are in the minority are taught and more readily accept because we don’t enjoy the privilege of ignorance. We’ve felt the wrath of hate and the shame of difference and so we tend to have a greater tolerance for humanity. We know what racism feels like.

On Saturday,  police officer, Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, Missouri shot and killed an 18-year-old unarmed young man named Michael Brown.  Michael Brown was identified as a primary suspect in a strong-arm robbery of a box of cigars moments before he was shot to death. Apparently, allegedly stealing a box of Swisher Sweets is punishable by death here in the United States. The cop allegedly reached his hand out of his car and grabbed Michael Brown by the neck and that is what initiated the altercation. What ensued next was unfathomable, he was chased and shot at and when he turned with his hands up in the air he was shot dead from 35 feet away. He was then left lying dead in the street for hours. Why? As a warning to others? On the other hand, if you got accused for some reason and you can’t attend your hearing, you must first know all the unacceptable reasons for failure to appear in court so you can determine if ever your excuse is valid.

Michael Brown, shooting, Ferguson, MIssouri, racial profiling, riots, civil rights

The next night after a vigil in his honor, a peaceful protest assembled. The people of Ferguson, the world, want answers and justice. Michael Brown’s mother deserves answers. Yet, they are not even allowed to mourn and protest his death. The cops shot flares into the sky. When the crowd was not moved to disburse, flares were shot at the ground in the direction of the crowd. This is when the peaceful demonstration turned to riots. An emotionally charged group of people who were in the clutches of fear and sadness needed to protect themselves, this has escalated to rage.

By Wednesday things went from bad to worse, many of the major networks were not airing live coverage of anything. Journalists on the scene were being rounded up, blocked from the town and arrested.The I Am Mike Brown livestream via KARG Argus Radio allowed viewers to watch as police fired rubber bullets into crowds of unarmed citizens and advanced on peaceful demonstrators. Police demanded that the reporters turn off their cameras. Crowds were seen standing in the street with their hands above their heads as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at them. There was no provocation and the police continued firing even as the crowd retreated into their residential neighborhoods; obviously, not giving a damn who they hurt.

I don’t know what it is about brown and black skin that strikes fear into the hearts of some people. Maybe it’s the guilt from years of ancestors beating entire races down and treating them like subhumans, maybe it’s fear of karma ( what goes around comes around) or maybe it’s just a general lack of compassion and blind ignorance.

The world is a crazy place and we come in every color and flavor of the rainbow, only when your skin is brown or black, you can’t hide it. You can’t blend in. There it is daring people not to notice.

I was not on the streets of Ferguson last Saturday night. I did not witness this tragedy firsthand and I thank God for that because I don’t think that my humanity could ever recover from witnessing that kind of brutality but I do have my own experience with racial profiling and the cops.

Here was my situation and the sad part is that it wasn’t unique or even special; a cop saw a car full of Latinos. He pulled them over; we were never given a reason why. It was myself, the guy I was dating and couple of our friends. They were driving me home before my midnight curfew. It was about 11:45 pm on a summer, Saturday night. I was 18. It was my first experience with racism and racial profiling.

When we were pulled over, I began to freak out because I knew missing my curfew was not an option. I asked my date to please ask the officer why we were being stopped. I knew that any delay would make me late and my parents were very strict.

This guy, a clean-cut young man who had served in the military and was college-educated, very politely asked, “Officer, can I please ask why we’re being stopped?” To which the officer told him to step out of the car and arrested him for resisting arrest after pushing him around and slamming him into the door of the car.

Meanwhile, his partner was asking me what my name was. I told him and he spelled my name Cruise, Crewes, Crews and truly acted as if these boys were kidnapping me or holding me against my will. Once we clarified that I, Debi CRUZ, was in fact, willingly in the vehicle his entire demeanor changed. The cop went from polite and kind to me to cruel and short, as if I had done something wrong simply by being Latina.

One of the other guys with us asked if he could take the car to drive me home so I wouldn’t miss my curfew to which the cop responded, “ NOPE! She can walk home for all I care.” Then they put my date in the back of the squad car and towed his car to impound as we all silently watched, not daring to ask another question for fear we too would be put in jail or worse for speaking.

Our friends walked me home silently in the dark, we all felt dirty and ashamed because we did nothing because we were too afraid to. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, especially in light of what happened to Michael Brown but it is an all too common occurrence and it shouldn’t be. Cops are human and officers of the law meant to serve and protect its citizens but does that only apply to certain citizens with Lily-white skin and preapproved accents? The problem is that the lines are so blurred; breathing too loudly could be construed by the wrong officer as resistance.

But the thing that I can identify with the most is a mother has lost her child.  Michael Brown is dead and no amount of rioting or looting or saying I’m sorry is going to change that fact. The truth is that we don’t know exactly what happened in those last moments; what was said or done, only the offending officer and Michael Brown know that secret but we do know that nothing warrants shooting an unarmed child in the street like a rabid dog…no matter the color of his skin.

I feel like the world has gone completely backwards and spun right off it’s axis this week. I am horrified by the behavior and the things people are saying. I am disgusted by the lack of human compassion. Be good to one another.

What is going through your mind this week with the circumstances surrounding Michael Brown and Ferguson, Missouri?

 

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Hilaria Baldwin and husband Alec Baldwin pose at the opening night of the revival of Ivo van Hove's "West Side Story"on Broadway at The Broadway Theatre on February 20, 2020 in New York City.

It’s taken me a week to write this post because I had to suss through all of my feelings on it. Sounds crazy, right? Why do I need to have feelings on it? It’s not me. At first, I was really pissed that people were mad because why is it anyone’s business where Hilaria Baldwin is from or what her ethnicity is? Who is she hurting? But, something wouldn’t let me post that 1st version because I just felt like there was more that I needed to know. Then, I realized, I was identifying with her, as I am a white Latina. The thing is, she’s not a white Latina or a Latina at all. We’re both Americans with dark hair and fair complexions but that is where the similarities end because while I actually do have Spanish roots, she does not.

In Defense of Hilaria Baldwin and her Spanish Accent from a White Latina

In defense of Hilaria Baldwin, I watched her Instagram videos clarifying and explaining herself to the general public because some troll on Twitter was making fun of her seemingly coming and going Spanish accent. I was offended for her, not by her. Also, as someone who has been attacked by trolls themselves and has had her own Latina-ness publicly called into question, I was triggered.

READ ALSO: If Latinas Dancing offends you, you might be a racist.

I’ll be honest with you; I don’t know Hilaria Baldwin. We’re not friends. I didn’t grow up with her. I don’t know anything about her, other than that she is married to Alec Baldwin and had a bunch of beautiful babies with Latino-inspired names. She is called Hilaria, so as a Latina, I assumed she herself is Hispanic or Latina (yes, there is a difference). She looks like me; white skin, dark hair, and eyes, and spoiler alert: It’s hard being a white Latina. I don’t know if she’s Hispanic or not but she could be.

That’s right, I said it. It always has been hard and it probably always will be hard being one ethnicity and looking different than the typical stereotype that Americans expect. You think it’s hard being Latino or Black in America because people can see the color of your skin and you’re a target from the minute they see you coming? It is. It’s true. You can’t hide it. You can try. They make creams, treatments and cosmetic surgeries for just these kinds of things. People are dying trying to be white for some reason. Somehow, white has become a barometer for beauty to many. Not to me. To me, beauty radiates from within.

Yet here I am, speaking out

In Defense of Hilaria Baldwin and her Spanish Accent from a White Latina

I am a first-generation Mexican American. I am a white Latina. At first glance, you’d never consider that I’m a minority. Born in Ohio, raised in Chicago. I don’t have a thick Spanish accent. If you see me, most people have guessed that I’m Greek or Italian. When I was a child, I looked like I didn’t belong to either of my parents. My mom has blue eyes and fair skin and light hair. My dad is golden brown, with dark hair and eyes. He speaks with a thick accent, then again, so does my mom (just his is from Mexico and hers is from Tennessee.) My daughters have blonde hair and blue eyes. They are Latina. Latinos come in all shapes, sizes and shades from alabaster to bronze, so I make no assumptions.

READ ALSO: Racism in America

I was raised on two languages, in two countries with two cultures. I love them both. I am proud of them both. But I was made to feel, by people who didn’t know me, who judged me based on the color of my skin, that I didn’t belong to either. I was always made to feel like I was lacking in both and needed to prove myself. I had to work twice as hard to fit in. Until I decided I just wasn’t going to care about what anyone else, except for those who either gave birth to me or I gave birth to, thought. It was very hard to navigate my formative years.

Why is it so impossible to believe that Hilaria Baldwin could have a Spanish accent?

The result is that when I am around other Latinos, my accent does become thicker because I feel freer to speak Spanish in a way that is more authentic to those around me because they understand me. I actually think that is pretty normal for most people who grew up speaking more than one language. Latino/ Hispanic is not just a label it is way of life. It radiates from within, it comes from your soul and is a receipt on all of your love for your Latino heritage and the Latino way of life. It’s a privilege.

But, I live in the United States and I have been through many years of university, I can speak 3 other languages, so when I speak English, I sound completely American. However, I go between speaking English and Spanish often (so much so that I could count Spanglish as my fifth language), probably from the years of translating it in my head when speaking to my dad or my grandparents, or celebrating Spanish mass or enjoying my childhood, constantly set to a Banda soundtrack and yes, sometimes, I forget the English word for some things, despite it being my first language, especially if I’m excited or nervous.

 This White Latina doesn’t have a Spanish accent but I occasionally forget the English word for things. It happens.

While my friends call me Debi and I was born in Ohio, my full name is Deborah. Deh-BOr-AH. Maybe you say it De-BRA but that’s not how I grew up hearing it. I grew up hearing it in my dad’s rich, thick Spanish accent. Or my mother’s sweet, slow southern accent, calling out for Debi Sue when it was time for dinner. My point is that your name does not determine your culture, race or ethnicity. We are who we are and it’s not anyone else’s business or right to judge whether or not we are enough to prove it to you.

READ ALSO: Judging people based on the color of their skin is a “you” problem not a “they” problem.

I watched Hilaria’s Instagram videos and whether she is Spanish or not, as a Latina, I am not offended. When brown and black people try to “fit in” it’s called assimilation and everyone is cool with that because it’s America and that’s what is expected (always conformity) but the minute a Caucasian dares to speak another language with even a hint of an accent (from living in another country) everyone is up in arms calling bullshit. Madonna’s acquired British accent as a grown-ass woman, I call bullshit on. Someone who spent their formative years living in another country and speaking another language, perfectly plausible. My point is why are all the white people mad that Hilaria might or might not be Spanish? Who gives any fucks? We are in the middle of a pandemic? There are still kids in cages and black men being shot dead in the streets by cops. Hilaria’s (or Hilary’s) accent is the least of any of our worries. If she faked being Latina, the only one who should really be upset is her husband because he was duped thinking he married a Spaniard woman when he didn’t.

If she were trying to dupe people for some gain, appropriating the culture as a native Latino or making a mockery of it and the people, without any of the weight that comes with it, I would be pissed. But I don’t feel that is what she is doing. In fact, I am way more offended by American’s celebrating Cinco de Mayo as an excuse to get wasted, dressing in panchos and straw sombreros at frat parties and sharing those Mexican Word of the day memes than I am by Hilaria Baldwin letting people believe she’s Hispanic. I feel like she loves the culture so much and wants to be a part of it so badly that she let people have their assumptions. If she respects and admires the culture so much so that she has learned the language, lives in the country and embraces its history and people, what is the problem?

READ ALSO: When Racism Happens at School

People assumed that she was from a Spanish speaking European city because she speaks Spanish. Who actually created the issue? Why does it even matter? It isn’t like the situation with Rachel Dolezal who not only pretended to be a black woman but actually took a job that should have belonged to an actual black person. Rachel Dolezal actively lied and stole opportunities from black people; she intentionally hurt them. Hilaria didn’t clear up an assumption; these are different things. So here I am, in defense of Hilaria Baldwin and her Spanish Accent from a White Latina to you.

In the end, Hilaria Baldwin is not a white Latina or a Hispanic woman. She is a Bostonian who speaks Spanish fluently and happens to look like a Spaniard but more than that she is someone who is part of the Spanish community, maybe not by birth or blood but by choice. In the end, why is the world so offended? I’m a Latina and I don’t feel betrayed or hurt by her wanting to belong to my culture. If you are, ask yourself why?

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Coca-Cola, racism,Super Bowl, America the Beautiful

If you were honestly offended by the Coca-Cola Super Bowl ad, do us both a favor and unfriend  or unfollow me now.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

I don’t get it. Anyone offended by a commercial conveying the idea of our America as a melting pot of many different cultures, races and religions, is offended by my very existence so do us both a favor and take your racism and bigotry and go away. I don’t want you here.

When I saw the Coke commercial I thought it was beautiful for a couple different reasons. One, it was reminiscent of the Hilltop Coke commercial I grew up watching and two; it shows the United States as a Utopia where everyone lives in peace, harmony and unity; bound by love and acceptance.

The hilltop Coke commercial was the one with all the young people on a hilltop in Italy singing about furnishing the world with love and buying one another a Coke. It was beautiful. It was about togetherness and acceptance and world peace and free love and oh, yeah, Coke.  The commercial was all in English but the people were distinctly different from all over the world. I don’t remember the survivalists and Aryan nation being up in arms then.

This year’s Coke Super Bowl ad was the exact same thing 43 years later. You’d think evolution would have made this commercial less controversial. Coca-Cola is an international product. The United States is a melting pot of many different races, religions and cultures. We are a country of tolerance. Unfortunately, Coke overestimated the American people because apparently we are not beautiful at all. After last night’s reaction to America the Beautiful, in fact, I would say we are downright ugly.

I am a product of that melting pot. I am Mexican, Spanish, English, French, Italian, Irish and Cherokee. I am proud to be all those things. I am proud to be a part of a country that allowed this to happen. I am proud to be able to experience the entire world from my home state of Indiana. I love experiencing different cultures and people. I like being able to introduce my daughters to different people and cultures, races, religions, languages and foods. Isn’t that what makes this country great? Who wants to live in a vanilla world?

Last night’s commercial was world peace. What every single fucking Miss America has wished for since the beginning of Miss America. It was evolution through tolerance; it was a better world than reality allows for…apparently. I am appalled at the social media attack on the Coke commercial and if you were part of it, quite frankly, we can’t be friends because I have apparently, evolved past where you are or may ever get to be.

The Coca-Cola commercial was a testament to the tolerance and beauty of the United States and anyone who is against that or too stupid to understand that the United States is made up of more than just Anglo-Americans, maybe Coke should rethink their opinion of Americans not the other way around.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, unless you are a Native American…you too are a foreigner. English is not the language of the original natives, but you don’t hear me complaining about you. I’d like to buy the world a Coke and a smile because life is too short for all this hatred. Underneath it all, the color of our skin, the language we speak, the food we eat, the ethnicity we originated from, the God we worship, all that aside, we are all just humans trying to survive this world.

What did you think of the Coca-Cola America the Beautiful commercial?

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cory monteith, lea michelle, trayvon martin, Glee, tragedy

COry Monteith. Glee, Trayvon MArtin,Lea Michelle, tragedyYesterday, Cory Monteith was unexpectedly found dead in a hotel in Vancouver at age 31. Last night, I went to bed appalled that George Zimmerman was found not guilty for killing Trayvon Martin. How can he get away with no sort of punishment for taking a human life? This morning my heart is breaking for all the parents involved especially the Monteiths and the Martins. What the hell is this world coming to? As a parent, all of this freaks me out.

Vancouver police confirmed Saturday night that the body of Glee star Cory Monteith was found at the Pacific Rim Hotel. Mr. Monteith checked in on July 6 and was supposed to check out yesterday, hotel workers checked the room when he never came down to check out. The hotel called the ambulance and paramedics pronounced him dead on the scene. He was alone and surveillance footage shows that he was alone from the time he arrived in that night.

I am shocked. I am a long time follower of Glee. My daughters listen to their music and have seen some of the episodes. Finn Hudson, Cory Monteith’s character, has always been one of our favorite characters on the show. He was a heartthrob jock with a heart of gold and a voice like butter. He always had sad eyes and a dedicated love to his on screen romance and off screen love, Lea Michelle, whom I can only imagine is beside herself with grief. Poor woman, I cannot even imagine how distraught she must be.

Cory MOnteith, Lea MIchelle, Trayvon Martin, GLee, George ZImmerman

There has been no cause for death given but Mr. Monteith has been in and out of rehab a couple times and I don’t like to make assumptions but I’ve always felt he was a bit of a tortured soul. We will definitely miss his smile and sweet disposition on Glee. Sending prayers for his family and loved ones in this time of need. It is so tragic that someone so young with everything to live for can just as suddenly be taken away. In times like these, life doesn’t make sense.

When I went to bed last night, the last thing I heard on the news was that George Zimmerman was found not guilty for killing Trayvon Martin. The internet was in an uproar calling the entire legal system afoul and corrupt. The term racism was being thrown around like the air we breathe and everything suddenly became black and white.

Personally, no matter what the circumstances, one thing remains George Zimmerman killed some parents’ child. He took away the reason Trayvon Martin’s parents take breath into their body; he took away their reason for living, he killed their son. It is my belief that this part of the case is fundamentally true without dispute, in the very least, he should have been given involuntary manslaughter and some sort of sentence to give Trayvon Martin’s parents some sort of , be it small, satisfaction. As a mother, I could not carry on in the world knowing that someone who caused the death of my baby was still walking free as my child turned to dust in the ground.

If the last two days have taught me anything that is that life is not fair and bad things happen to good people. People die before all of their living is done, or in some cases, even begun. Do not start today with hatred in your heart, cast your eyes upward to the sky and pray; pray for the tortured soul of Cory Monteith that is gone much too soon from this world. Pray for his parents, his friends and the woman who loved him and has to go on living without him.

Pray for the parents of Trayvon Martin that they might have some kind of peace in their heart knowing their son will never feel the fear he felt on that last night he was on this earth. Pray that we all spend more time enjoying the people that we love because they can be gone forever in the blink of an eye. Today, be a little more tolerant of your children, forget for a moment that 1 million obligations you have and enjoy the moments with your family; don’t rush through them or get annoyed knowing that you have work to do. Today, hug your loved ones and know that life is fleeting so make every moment count. Be present.

corymonteith3

It’s Sunday and so I am just going to say it, God bless you all and please pray for the families of Cory Monteith and Trayvon Martin that they might get through this tragic and horrible time in their lives.

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Blackish, racism, Trump, post-obama, election

Do you watch Blackish? We do. It’s one of those shows that we watch as a family the day after it airs because simply put, we can personally relate to many of the topics of the show but none more than this week’s episode, “Lemons.”

In 30 minutes, Blackish brilliantly covered everything that I’ve felt in the past 2 months about the election. Some of it, I’ve said on here before and more recently, I’ve gone quiet because I’ve been processing. I’ve been preparing to keep on fighting for equality. This fight is nothing new to me as a Latina woman, and if you are an African American, a member of the LGBTQ community, a person of the Muslim or Jewish community, disabled or any minority for that matter that was looking forward and hung all of our hopes of equality on a white woman, you know exactly what I’ve been feeling.

In retrospect, I guess we were all a bit naïve. We got cocky and complacent and we thought Hillary Clinton had it in the bag and she was the change/ the chance for true equality that we were all waiting for and maybe we put that on her because she was a white woman. Maybe somewhere deep down inside we felt like we needed permission/ confirmation of our equality from a Caucasian. How ironic is it that white women are the very exact ones who failed us at the polls?

We’re equal. We’re human. We don’t need anyone to make it alright. It’s a fact. Just like no other candidate can make us less than. Our President-elect may think we are less than he is but it’s simply not true. We are all the same. I don’t need him to give me something we already have the privilege of being born a human being.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about race lately because things just got a lot more in your face. The other day I watched Birth of a Nation and I cringed at the thought that any human could treat another human like that. It, quite frankly, broke my heart. I watched it with my 11-year-old daughter and we both just sobbed at the inhumanity. The thing is that wasn’t very long ago.

Then, I watched Loving. In case you are not familiar with the story, it’s about an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, living in Caroline County, Virginia in 1958. Richard Loving, a white construction worker, fell in love with a local black woman and family friend, Mildred Jeter. Mildred gets pregnant and overjoyed, Richard asks her to marry him. Knowing that interracial marriage violated Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws, they drove to Washington, D.C. to get married.

But soon, sheriff’s deputies raid Mildred’s home and arrest the couple for violating the anti-miscegenation law. When Richard points to the marriage license, the sheriff curtly tells him that it has no validity in Virginia and takes Richard and, a very pregnant, Mildred to jail. Richard makes bail but then is not allowed to bail his wife out. She is forced to spend the weekend in jail, pregnant and in her nightgown and robe because the government of Virginia refused to recognize their marriage.

They plead guilty to breaking the anti-miscegenation law and are sentenced to one year in prison. However, the judge suspends the sentence, on condition that they couldn’t return to Virginia together for at least 25 years. The Lovings moved to D.C. to stay with a friend of Mildred’s but return to Virginia so their first child, Sidney, can be delivered by Richard’s mother, a midwife. Arrested again, they are cleared when their lawyer says he erroneously advised them they could return.

From there, the ACLU got involved after Mildred sent a letter to Bobby Kennedy asking for help with her situation. In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in the case of the Loving v. Virginia, which finally invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. That was only 50 years ago.

In 1972, my Caucasian mother from Virginia excitedly went to tell her grandfather who had raised her that she was marrying my father, a Mexican, and his answer was, “You may as well marry a n*gger.” I never really understood the weight of that comment until I watched Loving.

My great grandfather disowned my mother and she was heartbroken that he couldn’t accept the man that she loved. We never met that man because she wasn’t going to expose her children to that kind of hatred. I’ve only been taught and ever known, in my heart, that everyone is equal. My parents taught me that. But not so long ago, even in my own family, prejudice ran rampant and divided loved ones forever.

Prejudice is nothing new to most of us. Now, it’s just less covert but it hurts either way if I’m being honest. Nobody likes to swallow their tongue why someone else berates and belittles them and we shouldn’t have to. I wish we could do more than change the laws to ensure equality but actually change people’s hearts so that they saw us as equal because until that happens, we are not treating the cancer that is prejudice, only the symptoms and truly, that’s not much.

I guess what all this was about was to tell you that you are not alone in your feelings and if you don’t believe it, watch Blackish the episode “Lemons” you can catch it on Xfinity, HULU or the ABC App. I have no affiliation with these companies, other than paying for subscriptions, I just really think you need to watch it. You’ll see that you are not the only one thinking these things. You are not the only one terrified, depressed and saddened by the unpredictability of the upcoming term.

But please, stop complaining. And don’t be afraid because I know many of you are and who can blame you. But sometimes doing the right thing has to make you be braver than the fear. We’ve got work to do and the whining and crying is just pointless. It’s like worrying, there is not purpose to it. What helps is doing the work. Fighting the injustice. Making your voices heard so we don’t keep ending up here, in the worst fucking episode of Groundhog Day ever. We can do it. Yes, we can.

If you are disheartened by the election results, what are you going to do about it? How are you going to work to change the situation?

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