Here’s a list of entertaining quotes/summary of random conversations had during a recent trip to Mexico… all quotes & commentary are recorded as I remember them, almost certainly paint me in the better light, and were probably much funnier if you’d been there.
Jason to me as we inhale fresh oranges bought at a traffic light from a street vendor in Nogales (Mexico)… “Don’t drop the orange peels. I’d rather be caught with drugs than citrus when we go back over the border.”
Jason to me, “Why would anyone own a timeshare in Branson, Missouri?”
Me to Jason, “Branson is like Vegas. For old people.”
Me to Jason after he’d either almost driven off a cliff, into a cliff wall, or taken out his undercarriage on a speed bump (I lost track of how many times each nearly happened), “You know what’s amazing? The number of times you’ve almost killed me, yet I still have total faith in your ability to keep me safe.”
Me to Jason as I’m getting in or out of the driver’s seat, “Is that a femur in the door pocket?”
Jason to me, “Yes. But don’t worry… it’s not human.”
Jason to me, somewhere between San Carlos & Magdalena de Kino… “Watch out for that cow. It wants to get hit. It’s really heavy. That would totally ruin our month.”
Jason to me as I navigate the narrow roads of Magdalena de Kino, “You’re doing a really good job… blah blah blah blah blah…”
Me to Jason, “I grew up driving in a town with streets just like this.”
Jason to me, “Yeah, but most people are really intimidated about driving in Mexico… blah blah blah blah blah…”
Me to myself (in my head) cuz I have a suspicious nature and can see where this might be headed, “Cyndi… no matter what… DO NOT let him talk you into driving in Nogales.”
Jason’s response to my wounded expression after he’s told me whatever I haven’t eaten of the huge bag of peanuts just purchased from a street bump vendor will have to be thrown away before we get to the border checkpoint, “Was I in any way unclear regarding my feelings about agricultural inspections?” (see previousconvo about orange peels).
Jason to me, “I’m sorry for almost killing you.”
Me to Jason, “It’s OK. I only hit the windshield the one time.”
Waiting in line at border patrol, Jason to himself after he’s reminded me (again) how often he gets flagged for a secondary inspection (almost always) & what needs to be moved into the cargo area (the liquor) and what needs to be tossed (everything edible that once grew from the earth)… “Damn. The femur could be a problem.”
After about 45 minutes, maybe an hour in line at the border… me running around the car to take the wheel while Jason runs off to buy me tacos from a street vendor on the wrong side of the tracks… literally, the guy tried to send him to a titty bar… then Jason running back to give me the tacos… then running back across the tracks because the guy is running around trying to find change in dollars rather than pesos… then running back and getting in the car… then after I almost hit a street vendor in a wheelchair, jumping back out and running around the front of the car to the driver’s side so I can eat while I run around the back, shoveling tacos down as I go…
We’re still about 10th in line at border patrol and I’ve just finished inhaling the tacos. I turn to Jason and hold out a plastic bag, “We need to throw away these limes… there’s a trash can right over there. Give me the femur.”
Border Patrol Agent #2, as he’s looking into the back window, “They have pot.”
Border Patrol Agent #1: barely glances up from our passports.
Border Patrol Agent #2, returning to the driver’s side window: “Is that a cooking pot?”
Jason to Border Patrol Agent #2, “Yes, it’s a cooking pot.”
Border Patrol Agent #2 to Border Patrol Agent #1, “I told you they had pot.”
Border Patrol Agent #1 to Border Patrol Agent #2, “I believed you.” (still no expression whatsoever)
Border Patrol Agent #2, who is CLEARLY a smartass, “So how long was the wait? 10 minutes?”
Me to Border Patrol Agent #2, “15, maybe 20.”
Jason to me after we’re admitted back into the US without having to undergo a secondary inspection, “Damn. I totally could have kept the femur.”
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A powerful story that illustrates the difference of being for the right cause, and being in right relations.
Pema Chödrön, an ordained Buddhist nun, writes of compassion and suggests that its truest measure lies not in our service of those on the margins, but in our willingness to see ourselves in kinship with them. In 1987 Dolores Mission Church declared itself a sanctuary church for the undocumented, after passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Soon, recently arrived undocumented men from Mexico and Central America would sleep each night in the church (Guadalupe Homeless Project), and women and children, in the convent (Casa Miguel Pro).
Attention followed and lots of it. The media swarmed the place in these earliest days. As almost always happens, attention begets opposition. I used to dread clearing the parish’s answering machine during this period. It always had a handful of hate messages and vague (and not so vague) death threats.
Once, while I turn the corner in front of the church, heading to a CEB meeting in the projects, I am startled by letters spray-painted crudely across the front steps:
The chill of it momentarily stops me. In an instant, you begin to doubt and question the price of things. Read more…
This isn’t so much a blog as a list of articles about how US Policy has impacted Mexican agriculture and economy.
Today, August 10, 2010, 13 minutes ago | Cyndi WhitmoreDown on the Farm: NAFTA’s Seven-Years War on Farmers and Ranchers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico
Today, August 10, 2010, 13 minutes ago | Cyndi WhitmoreDisadvantages of NAFTA – Problems with NAFTA – Negative Effects of NAFTA
Today, August 10, 2010, 14 minutes ago | Cyndi WhitmoreUS Subsidies Cost Mexican Farmers Billions | Portal for North America
Today, August 10, 2010, 14 minutes ago | Cyndi WhitmoreTripAtlas.com – About North_American_Free_Trade_Agreement
Today, August 10, 2010, 15 minutes ago | Cyndi WhitmoreGreenpeace protests genetically modified corn in Mexico – CNN.com
Today, August 10, 2010, 15 minutes ago | Cyndi WhitmoreWitness for Peace:HAMPTONS ONLINE: What Drives Migration? Surprise, It’s Corn
Today, August 10, 2010, 30 minutes ago | Cyndi WhitmoreNAFTA AND U.S. CORN SUBSIDIES: EXPLAINING THE DISPLACEMENT OF MEXICO’S CORN FARMERS | PROSPECT
Another informative article from Kat, which links to some of the best/worst video I took during the protests & vigils.
Why am I writing about this? There are people who complain that immigrants come here and do not attempt to assimilate into U.S. culture. That actually isn’t true, but it’s clear from our history that U.S.Americans have done just that, and not only refused to assimilate but then took the land from their host nation…twice. There are people who have said that undocumented immigrants from Mexico are ignoring the law by crossing the border between our two nations without papers. It’s clear from our history that Mexicans have lived on this land long before it was called the U.S. When the U.S. annexed the land (by force) it split extended families apart so that some were now U.S. citizens and some remained Mexican citizens. There are people who draw a firm distinction between Mexicans and Indians (Native Americans), tolerating the presence of Native Americans but insisting that Mexicans should stay “out” unless they have a piece of paper allowing them “in.” It’s clear from our history that even Euro-Americans once recognized the commonality between Mexicans and Indians and there are Native people who still recognize that commonality today. Some of the most vocal protestors of SB1070 are Native Americans, who object to the exclusion of their sisters and brothers down south, and who themselves are the targets of racial profiling. A recent activist arrested for protesting SB1070 asked a question that has stuck with me, and I hope it will stick with others: “Why are people who are indigenous to this land being checked for status by people who are settlers of this land?”
My heart has been grieving over the immigration battle brewing in the state of Arizona. SB1070 is nothing short of government sponsored terrorism toward people of color, particularly our Mexican brothers and sisters.
I do consider both Mexican nationals, and Americans of Mexican descent, to be my brothers and sisters. I try to think of all the people in this world as my extended family. Why? Because I am a Christian and the Bible tells me that my God created all men and women in His image and calls us His children.
And while I do understand that some of the people who are being terrorized by this law have come to America illegally, I also understand that many American citizens are being terrorized as well. I wonder how this law can be applied without resorting to racial profiling, effectively making “brown the new black.”
As I have researched further into the issue, I have discovered the racist origins of the new law, and the [un]surprisingly stacked deck against people of color being able to immigrate legally to America. I encourage all Americans to uncover the truth of these things for themselves and give it serious thought.
But beyond the origins SB1070 and the legalities of immigration, I feel very strongly about this issue from the human rights perspective.
You see, America rapes and plunders the world.
We steal the resources of third world nations. We rob the people of these nations by paying shockingly sub-par wages. We industrialize and mine in them without following our own environmental standards. We wage wars and make refugees out of the citizens.
Doesn’t it make sense that the people we steal from would attempt to follow their wealth and resources to America? Mexico and Latin America are being destroyed by America’s drug war. Latinos are having their homes and neighborhoods taken over by cartels and gangs and we did this!
We have made them refugees and when they come here seeking the freedom and opportunities that we have denied them, we treat them like the worst kinds of criminals. Most of the people who immigrate illegally into the US are not criminals – they are hard working, honest, and good people. The supposed crime statistics just don’t add up.
So how can we, who call ourselves Christians, support the violent offenses against our brothers and sisters? Do they deserve to have their homes raided? Do families deserve to be torn apart? Do children need to lose their parents? Do honest, hard-working people (who otherwise would never be allowed to come here, check the history!) deserve to be treated like the scum of the earth?
Let me just say this before moving on – Manifest destiny is not proof of “God’s blessing” on America. Manifest destiny is the rationalization of theft in the name of God. Think about it. How would be feel about Mexico’s “manifest destiny” to take back their original lands? Yeah, I thought so.
Just because we are experiencing difficult economic times in our nation, does that mean it’s ok to develop a mob mentality and start going after “those dirty Mexicans who steal all of our jobs”?
Those who claim to be Christians should be doing anything in their power to alleviate pain and suffering on our planet. Starting with how we treat those people who are already here, and then extending that grace to the nations we have been destroying. Why? Because Jesus tells us to to bring heaven to earth!
“This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.‘
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Jesus asks us to pray for God’s kingdom to be on earth as it is in heaven. We have been bringing hell to earth and robbing the people of this planet of their peace and joy. Do you think the kingdom of God is so divided? Will there is Mexico Heaven and America Heaven and Canada Heaven? I think not! We are one planet, one people.
“The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14
The entire law, which Jesus came to fulfill, can be summed up as loving your neighbor as yourself.
I have read this carefully, and I haven’t found that is specifies only white neighbors, or “good” neighbors, or “nice” neighbors, or Christian neighbors. It just says neighbors. Whether your neighbors are the people who live next door to you in your neighborhoods, or they are the neighbors of our nation, this text applies. We are to love them as we love ourselves.
We have destroyed their homes and stolen their resources. We have done the opposite of loving our neighbor. Would you steal, destroy, and pillage your own family? Would you condone the ripping apart of loved ones? Yet, we do! As long is it’s a mentality of us vs. them.
So, maybe you can’t see immigrants as your neighbor yet. Although you should, I understand we are all on varying stages of acceptance. I know many ‘Christians’ who see immigrants as enemies who steal jobs, burden our economy, and reap the benefits of American tax dollars. If that is the case, you are still without excuse!
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44
Because we are called to love even our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us! Love them, for God *is* love, and God created us all. There is divinity in every person on this planet. We all bear the image of God.
Your hatred and treatment of immigrants is the same as murder. Did you get that Christians?
“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.” Matthew 5:21-22
Those are strong words, but they are needed. We humans are pretty thickheaded. Christians, I fear, even more so. We read these words, but fail to even come close to living up to them. We are supposed to be the radical ones on this planet. Not living life in judgment of all those around us, condemning them for their sins. No, we are supposed to be radical in our love, radical in how we treat one another, radical in meeting the needs of those who are weak, hungry, sick, poor, and downtrodden.
Christians in the first century church sold all their possessions and gave to those in the community so that none had need. Think about what America does. Rather than give up even some of our possessions and wealth to those in need, we steal even more! We are so far from the calling of Christ.
I challenge you to rethink what it means to be a Christian and what stance you should be taking on immigration. Think about how you need to change yourself and your thoughts first, and then focus an eye on changing the hurts of our world. Immigrants don’t need to be vilified…they need to be loved, treated with respect, and shown the true light of Christ’s message. Sadly, all they see from us – supposed Christians – is darkness, hatred, and fear.
The word ‘sin’ in the original Greek means “to miss the mark” Christians are indeed missing the mark on this issue, and many more that relate directly to how we treat others. Not only are we guilty of this sin, but we make the message of Christ unappealing. You represent Christ….so, how are you doing with that?
So it’s probably not a surprise to any of my readers (if there are any left out there, that is) that I am not a fan of SB1070. I could go on about that, but right now I am going to attempt to focus my attention (this is a struggle for me) on a thought that occurred to me earlier, while I was reading Program gives Chicago Public Schools teachers a lesson in history, culture. It sounds like a pretty cool program, and I figure that the chances of our schools implementing a program like this are slim. If I sound cynical, well… between SB1070 and our more recent Ethnic Studies Law, well… nuff said.
So as it is prone to do, my mind started wandering & I started a comparison & contrast of Phoenix & Chicago, a city I recently visited & fell in love with. Now, it’s not easy to follow my train of thought on a lot of things… sometimes I can’t even do it. But humor me today… just sit down, shut up, and hang on. Read more…
I touched on issues surrounding the term illegal alien* a couple weeks ago in Walking the (color)Line, when I mentioned a couple ways I suspected this term has affected my children’s perceptions of the Latino community. There was a part of me that wondered whether I was reading too much into things… but let’s just say that’s no longer a concern. Within the last week or two, I read a blog or article about multiracial girls being asked what color their husbands would be. I wondered if Halle had ever heard or been asked something like this. I made a little note to self to bring it up, but Thursday night in the car, she raised the subject. She was talking about how she was going to date a boy for one year when she grew up, and asked if that was too long. I told her it depended on the boy; with some boys, a year might be too long, with another, a year may not be long enough. She suddenly started talking about whether this boy might be white or black and something about so and so… I interrupted and asked if people asked her that, and she confirmed. Then I asked, “Do you guys talk about that?” and she responds matter of factly, “Oh, yeah.” I asked if that was something that had just come up this year, and she said no, it was last year too. I asked how it came up, and she said, just when they talk about who they think is cute. She continued with her story…
“Anyway, so and so asked me once, and I said he would probably be Black or White, but not Mexican, but then I met Tristan, and I like him and I think he’s cute, and he’s Mexican…”
Her voice trailed off.
I asked why she hadn’t thought she would date someone who was Mexican before Tristan.
“Well, cuz they do a lot of bad things. I mean, they’re always on the news cuz they’re criminals… and stuff.”
cue my breaking (anti-racist) heart.
Needless to say, we had an immediate conversation about perception, stereotypes, racism, media bias, and Bull Connor Jr. Nickel Bag Joe Sherrif Arpaio. And we will continue to have these conversations (and others, like how there are a lot more people in the world than just Black, White or Hispanic), because this IS a big problem. And it’s not because this flies in the face of what I believe personally, but because the seed of racism is finding roothold in the heart of THIS child.
This is my UU, social justice, civil action child. This is the child who drew the line with her peers over the n-word. This is the child who has volunteered to mentor special needs kids or served in student government or both for three of the four years she’s been attending her current school. This is the child whose teacher has made it a point to contact me no less than three times so far this school year to express his gratitude to and praise the way Halle had befriended a new ESL student, which makes me wonder that my daughter’s unreserved offer of friendship is already rare by the age of 10. This is the child who took the initiative, unsolicited, and went to a Spanish-speaking teacher to get a “cheat sheet” of basic conversational phrases, and carried two spanish english dictionaries with her every day for the first two months of school.
“Now think carefully about what I’m saying, and why it matters. Here was a woman who no longer could recognize her own children; a woman who had no idea who her husband had been; no clue where she was, what her name was, what year it was; and yet, knew what she had been taught at a very early age to call black people. Once she was no longer capable of resisting this demon, tucked away like a ticking time bomb in the far corners of her mind, it would reassert itself and explode with a vengeance. She could not remember how to feed herself. She could not go to the bathroom by herself. She could not recognize a glass of water for what it was. But she could recognize a nigger. America had seen to that, and no disease would strip her of that memory. Indeed, it would be one of the last words I would hear her say, before finally she stopped talking at all. “ ~Tim Wise, White Like Me
When one refers to an immigrant as an “illegal alien,” they are using the term as a noun. They are effectively saying that the individual, as opposed to any actions that the individual has taken, is illegal. The term “illegal alien” implies that a person’s existence is criminal. I’m not aware of any other circumstance in our common vernacular where a crime is considered to render the individual – as opposed to the individual’s actions – as being illegal. We don’t even refer to our most dangerous and vile criminals as being “illegal.”