Georgetown, home of Southwestern University, is where I work. In many ways, Georgetown is similar to Colorado Springs, very conservative with a liberal college in the heart of the town. And just like Colorado Springs, Georgetownians make statements that they do not completely understand why they are wrong. Take this latest example. A Ford dealership, wanting to show off their new A/C seats, used the term wetbacks in a context that was inappropriate. The real problem is the lack of understanding why that term is wrong and should never be used. On our local news, the owner of the dealership has yet to make a statement and the local manager of the dealership, Michael Winot, was quoted saying “I apologize for the error. What more can be said.” That statement alone is very dangerous as it reflects the ignorance many have to the history of this term. Wikipedia has a simple definition of the term describing Mexican Nationals illegally crossing the US boarders through the Rio Grande but the word goes beyond this. It is yet another term to generalize and demean a population through stereotype. It weakens the character and accomplishments of people who truly understand this land of opportunity, lost on many born here. It is a reflection once again that there is a subtle distinction of class based on the color and culture of individuals. Ignorance is not bliss and should not only be corrected when discovered but taken as an opportunity to teach others the fallacy of such logic.
My father’s family legally crossed the border and set roots in south Texas. My father, after becoming a US citizen, joined the Army and was sent to Korea. My mother came to this country unable to speak a single word in what many narrow-minded individuals claim should be our national language, English. Through hard work and taking on jobs many born-Americans would consider to be below them, my parents established themselves comfortably. They came to this country with the understanding that the opportunities granted here could never be achieved in their own birth land. These opportunities are not exclusive to those entering our nation, they have always been here for ALL Americans to enjoy. All it takes is a little hard work and success can be achieved.
Oppression is an interesting word. As I quantified the reasons of why my family should be here and given the same respect as any other, I just realized that this should not have been done. One should never have to quantify their achievements to justify their existence yet here it is, inadvertently, or maybe on purpose, taught by my family to ensure I have the same access as any other. Yet justification is not universal. Without diving into the whole rhetoric of the “one” race holding us down, it was interesting to catch even myself following the line given to me that I did not persue.
I worry for my children at times. In this day and age, you would think cultural advancement would parallel our technical achievements. People are aware, yet we seem to stay in the abstraction rather than practical application. Open racism is not tolerated but closet racists roam free, as discussed above. The struggle continues. It is sad though to review how far we have come only to see how quickly we fall from the lack of understanding by the inappropriate use of a single world…