I had to watch this video for Spanish class and write a response in Spanish.
My response is this: just like that man at the end who cries because of the video footage he saw, by the end of the video I am fucking bawling. I am bawling because I am Mexican-American, I am bawling because my dad started out in this country as a day laborer, I am bawling because my dad’s English is not that great and the customer service he receives at stores when I’m not with him can be downright appalling.
The debate over undocumented workers is difficult. On the one hand, every country has the right to secure its borders and know who is inside its country. On the other hand, the demonization of these undocumented workers (and the Hispanic community at large) by calling them “illegals” solves nothing. All it does is make that community seem less than human. How do you know someone is here with a visa or not? Is it the shoes I’m wearing, the clothes I decide to wear, the color of my nail polish? Or are you simply assuming things based on the color of my skin and the fact that I look Mexican? And, even if I am here “illegally”, does that give you the right to treat me as less than human?
On the issue of English as the language of the U.S., all I have to say is that there is no official language for this country. For example, in the state of Louisiana the signs are in both English and French.
So the question was, what would you do? My first instinct is to help these men. I would translate. But you know what? The hypothetical establishment (because it was an actor behind the counter) does not deserve my money or those of the day laborers. I would say something along the lines of what I said above. I would get angry. I would be yelling. I would finish with a fuck you.
Fuck you for judging these people on their appearance. For all those people who joined in, fuck you and your ignorance. For the people who just stood by and did nothing, fuck you. Because if you watch injustice and do nothing you are not being neutral, you are part of the problem. Fuck you for making them, and me, feel like less of a person. Fuck all of your racist bullshit. I am proud of being Mexican-American and I won’t let you or anyone else make me feel ashamed for who I am.
I felt much better when they mentioned that not only is the guy behind the counter an actor, but the two “day workers” are always actors.
But still… this makes me sick. I would be inexplicably furious if I walked into a place and saw something like this happening.