Wetback American

I'm educated but brown so no matter where I go I'm a Wetback American.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Negative Comments

So I decided to spend a few bucks on ads on Facebook for the Pain in our DNA post and not surprising, I got some negative feedback.  2 people took the time to leave some feedback on the Facebook page.  DH told me to engage them with some negative feedback of my own but that really isn't the point of this blog.  I'm tired of being negative.  I want dialog.  The comments, "BS" and "Violence is the primary tool of the incompetent" are not asking for dialog.  They are trying to tell me I'm wrong period. 

I'm sure you guessed those were left by White men.  No research to back up their views.  The guy with the "BS" comment didn't leave more information as to which part of my argument is BS.  The lack of credible evidence?  The general idea that we can write on our DNA?  The idea that a brown woman can be educated?  There are so many points to call bullshit on, he didn't leave me more information.  According to DH the other comment is actually a miss quote. 

This really just made me turn and lean into my Brene Brown reading.  Those people don't count.  They are not in the arena taking punches while expressing their views and laying their heart on the line.  They punched at me and ran.  They decided they had the privilege of yelling at me and running and more than that, I deserved to be punched and yelled at because I expressed something different from their views.

I am privileged.  I am educated.  I have access to resources and studies, as well as the skill, to find hard science to back up what I am saying.  I have an extra $10 to buy my domain.  I have enough skill on the internet to write and publish my musings.  I know this is privilege.  I am also highly educated.  I am part of the 2% of Americans with a doctorate.  So yes, it actually is Dr. Wetback American.

More than any of that, I come from a background that means I have pushed and pulled myself out of poverty.  I am married to an amazing Black man and that gives me access to yet another group of people.  I have access and privilege but I don't have the level of privilege as most White men.  I can and will continue to express my experiences, views, and most importantly my fears.  Why my fears?  Because Dr. Wetback American lives surrounded by danger and at the end point of hate.  Why?  I was born brown in American and then had the audacity to reach for the American dream.

I have been held back from my father at the US/Mexico border.  I have lived terrified of the "Migra."  I have watched as back-up was called on my husband because we were lost in the wrong part of town.  We have been questioned and asked to prove we own an iMac by the police. 

You want to call Bullshit?  Okay, let's talk.  Don't believe White privilege exists?  Okay, let's talk.  You are a wonderful color-blind White person?  Okay, let's talk. 

I'm not saying I'm right.  What I am saying is let's talk.  I have lived experiences that you haven't.  I want to hear your experiences.  I want to remove the shame of past experiences and promote healing.  I want to engage in dialog in the arena. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Do we exist?

I feel like life has been slowly radicalizing me.  I started my doctoral work refusing to work on "Latinx" subjects because I didn't want to be pigeonholed as a Mexican researcher who only studies Latinx people and yet here I am refocused and refocusing my work on Latinx subjects because I was handed Borderlands by Gloria Anzaldua.  It wasn't until I was literally crying from suddenly feeling connected to something in my class at such a deep level that I realized I hadn't connected to any research that way.  I read research and researchers and connected but on the surface.  I can understand where they are coming from but they didn't make me feel naked and raw.  No one was "Killing me softly with" their words until Gloria.

I'm going to be honest, I haven't finished Borderlands yet.  I stop and read it in chunks but she reveals me so much that I can't stand the pain of reading of her words at times.  My dad just had major surgery to remove cancer from his body.  After 5 days in the hospital, he is home but I'm still on edge waiting to have to rush him back.  So today I turned to Gloria to help me find focus and a bit of self.  She knows me.  Here were today's words,

     When I saw poetry written in Tex-Mex for the firs time, a feeling of pure joy flashed through
      me.  I felt like we really existed as a people. (p. 82)

That is why I'm refocusing my work.  Because I felt that when I read her words for the first time.  My struggle was not unique and solitary but a way to connect.  Others had walked this path!  I want to make sure that other Latinx people find Gloria and others like her.  We aren't alone.  We exist. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Tear gas and diapers

So if you've been following the news at all, Trump's newest sin is allowing troops to use tear gas on caravan of immigrants at the US/Mexico border.  There are images of babies/toddlers in diapers running or being held as people run from the gas.  Tell me how that will be internalized by those children?  What do I say to my 8-year-old who sees those images and sees one of those babies that looks just like her baby sister?  Does my almost 2 year old deserve to be tear gassed?

It makes me mad.  I makes me sad.  I feel helpless.  I honestly don't have any idea what to do to actually help.

I understand the people who are trying to cross into the US are not Mexican but from further south in Central American.  They are seeking asylum status.  They have walked the miles with their possessions and small children on their backs.  From what I've heard from other Central Americans who have made the journey, Mexico and Mexicans aren't exactly welcoming nor nice and helpful as they journey north.  They suffer trauma in their homeland.  They suffer trauma on their journey.  They suffer trauma trying to reach their goal. 

We are told that we have to be objective.  We don't need their kind here.  We have x people out of work.  Those people will steal jobs from "Americans."  Those people are numbers not actual people.  They are objects.  I can't see them as objects.  Those people have suffered and are doing exactly what most of the people who make "America" have done - pulled themselves up and are ready to work hard to make a home here. 

I see reflections of my own family.  There but for the grace of God go I.  If my parents had been born further south.  If my parents hadn't gotten their citizenship when they did.  So many wonderful turns of fortune have me here today.  Why is my 2 year old worth more than their 2 year old?  Just because my baby was born here across a political border to parents who were also born on the correct side of the imaginary line.  That imaginary line . . . 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Writing pain into our DNA

So as a degreed researcher, I do try to find actual research to backup my random rants.  The evidence as to trauma changing our DNA is still a little hazy at this point so take this rant for what it is, a rant.

Ever since I heard about the concept of trauma changing our actual genetic makeup, my mind has been obsessed with it.  Hearing John Leguizamo list atrocity after atrocity that the "White" people rained down on the peoples of the Americans, the original Latinos/Indians/American, I felt like I understood "Ghetto Rage" better and that in fact I am entitled to feel Ghetto Rage.

Okay so I just threw out a lot of stuff in that last paragraph so I'll break it down just a bit and hopefully stay somewhat on topic.  According to John Leguizamo, ghetto rage is the internal rage we Latinx people feel after surviving countless microaggressions while being invisible and unable to express ourselves.  The message we have gotten our entire Latinx-American lives is clear: YOU DON'T BELONG HERE!

The list of atrocities: the list is long and sad and overwhelming and horrible.  While before John's special I didn't know the specifics, as he laid them out I could feel them in my bones.  It was an odd sensation.  If you haven't seen the special, go do it.  Seriously, it is well worth your time.  Latinx people come from a people of survival against the odds.  Our land was stolen, our people were decimated, and even today we are unwanted but yet we resist, persist, and every once in a while, succeed.

It seems that 100s of years of trauma in our DNA made us fighters.  Who do we fight?  Well I think that is up for debate.  Sometimes ourselves, each other, "the man,"the White man, the other colored people, hell sometimes we just fight shadows.  When all you know is a punch, before you do anything you punch.  Your bones know what to do to survive.

Is it in our DNA, in our bones?  Did my grandmother's move from middle Mexico to the Mexican border change my DNA?  Did her trauma of burying 8 children, rewrite my own approach to motherhood at a genetic level?  What about the trauma of the rape of our ancient people?  Did watching and living the destruction of our civilization at the hands of a Spaniard fundamentally write something in our genetic code?

Each year, Nacogdoches hosts a Day of Dead festival.  For the last 3 years, we have watched the Aztec dancers.  The first year, Gymgirl saw them, she told us she felt their dance in her soul.  In that moment I believe she connected to an ancient self.  A little Aztec girl watching her family dance for the gods.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Internal rage and pain in my DNA

I just watched John Leguizamo's Latin History for Morons.  Watch it.  The language is rough and the talk is raw but the display of rage and how it got into our Latinx DNA is worth the journey.
He is far from boring and the books he pulls from are soon to be delivered to my door.  As this blog evolves and content grows, I think that special will come back again and again. 
I need to learn my people's History in order to have more than just a family tree on Ancestry to pass on to my girls.  I need to explore the trauma in my DNA.  Give a voice, remember it, and try to resolve and work my way through it.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Why bother to speak to the "Trumpeters"?

So I know a lot of people have just unfriended people who love Trump.  For the most part I don't engage them.  I mean really what is the point you can't change their mind.  You approach them but they are on the defensive because they know you don't agree with them.

I've seen people post things to the effect of, "Wrong is wrong so don't bother."  Honestly I've seen it from all sides and I just can't give up hope that maybe we can talk to each instead of yell.

With that in mind, I engaged a friend from my MEd days.  She is from a very rural area of Virginia.  She is super sweet and loving.  She posted about birthright citizenship.  Some meme that she had found about how it was decided 120 year ago or something like that.  So I engaged her.  I asked her why she found me so offensive and why she would want me to leave the country?

Her response was typical - Not you, just the bad people.  The ones that just want to live off the system. 

Instead of attacking, I decided to leave at, "I just want you to remember that the policies you advocate and support would hurt my family."

I just wanted to put a human face to her policy.  Remind her that there are real people who are going to be affected by her advocacy of trying to redefine birthright citizenship.  Did it do any good?  She didn't respond again.  I hope she thought about what she was advocating.  It is easy to toss out numbers and objectify people.  In fact I would argue objectifying people is essential when you want to strip a person's rights. 

I am not a number.  I am not a statistic.  In fact, for me to be where I am today makes me a unicorn and statistical anomaly.  With my start in life I should be at home barefoot and pregnant.  I'm not.  You don't get to use me as a number as a stat.  If you want to strip me of my rights, you have to look me in the face and tell me why.


Friday, November 9, 2018

A New Era of Boldness

I started the Wetback American as a place to for me to vent about race and politics back in 2011 during the height of the Affordable Healthcare Act fight.  Once that was over, I felt better about the world in general so never posted here.  Then I got a job that really required me to keep my mouth shut on social media so I never posted even after Trump was elected.  Now, I have job that allows me the freedom to be me and the political climate is such that I need to vent and express myself.

So why the "Wetback American"?  I picked this title because that is how I felt and feel.  People impressed with my degrees still feel they have the right to treat me like I'm a parasite because of my 1st-gen American status.  I'm an American but sort of conditionally.  At the moment there is talk of stripping birthright citizenship from children of illegal immigrants.  In that way, I'm safe.  My parents had papers when I was born!  But how long before the talk turns to strip people like me?  Do you honestly think a Neo-Nazi or White Supremacist is going to care about my parents legal status or mine for that matter if they get a chance to harass and/or hurt me, they are now "safe" to do so.  The national conversation says, "Question the brown people.  All of the brown people.  They are stealing from us.  All of the brown people are bad."

I am writing within this blog because there are many people out there who don't know my story and stories like mine.  They push and advocate agendas mindlessly without thinking about the people those policies seek to hurt.

I had been keeping my mouth shut; hoping this wave would pass me and my family.  I was wrong to do so.  That quote from James Baldwin is why I'm writing and speaking up now.  My silence makes be a part of the problem and adds power to the oppressor, fuck that!  If you want to know my story, my fears, my thoughts on what the climate of the world is then you'll find that here.  If you want fluff and stories about my girls, roller derby, running, or gluten-free life then read that over at my other blog: www.wheatlessmama.com  It will not hurt my feelings if you choose to ignore my pain.  I just can't keep swallowing it and then wondering why things don't get better.  I may not change a single mind but mine will be more at peace and that can change the world.