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Old 09-23-2007, 12:29 AM
 
273 posts, read 178,234 times
Reputation: 101

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Recently I posted numerous threads relating to topics of the massive influx of latinos into the US. Most of us have seen this change first hand.

For years, I've been looking at these people and thinking in blunt terms of right and wrong, legal and illegal, American and un-American. The reality hit home today.

Last week, I was surprised when the youngest son of my mexican neighbors gave me an invitation to his sisters wedding....a bit suspicious even. I thought if they only knew how I felt, they would never honor their daughter by including my presence.

I lied and told him I was working that day, but at the last minute decided to attend out of curiousity. As I arrived at the church, the families were standing outside and stared at me without smiling. I thought; "this is a bad idea and I should leave". Instead, I went in and sat down. Two elderly women neighbors, a young man, the priest and myself were the only non-mexicans of the 40 or so who attended. I felt like I didn't belong.

After the service, I gave the bride and groom a card with a Menards $25 certificate and the father of the groom (who I'd never met before) asked me in spanish to come to the reception. I lied again, and said "yes".

I was driving home and thought about feeling uncomfortable and unwelcome around these people. Maybe because that's how I usually treated them.
But welcome or not, this was a unique opportunity to see what they were like. How would they treat me, the minority at the reception? I decided to go and find out. If I was made unwelcome, I could just leave and that would validate my suspicions about these people.

I found the reception hall in a somewhat rundown part of town. It was large and quickly filling to capacity with at least a couple of hundred people...all mexican. Many of the men, young and old, had white cowboy hats on and there seemed an overall western theme in their dress. The women varied in dress from casual jeans to eye-popping gowns and high heals. I was in dress pants, shirt and tie...almost over dressed and stood out as the only caucasion there. I went to the long table framed with an arc of blue balloons, ribbons and multiple tiers of wedding cake. There, I congratulated the bride and groom and they told me to get in line for some food. I hadn't had anything since breakfast and decided to eat and run. As I stood out at the end of a line 50 people deep, it was clear I'd be there at least another half hour.

There was the pounding of ear-splitting loud latino music, which to me always sounded awful, but the children were digging it and sprinting everywhere. I was definitely in their world, music, language and dress. I tried to look casual, but felt out of place to say the least.

After about 10 minutes of standing with little movement in the food line, Jesus (the father of the bride) and the grooms father, came up and pulled me out of the line. They told me to come sit with them at the wedding table and they would bring food so I could eat first with them. My protests fell on ears that didn't care what language I spoke. I reluctantly did as they requested and felt a sense of safety in a place I did not I belong.

They gave me a plate of food, which I devoured, and Jesus said he wished we could talk more. My spanish is not the best and he speaks no english. The music was so loud, it wouldn't have mattered. After I finished my plate, they tried to give me more, but I said 'no mas'. The mother covered the full plate of food and told me to take it home and return with my wife (who doesn't speak spanish and I knew would not be game for the idea). I walked to my car and went home.

I felt it would've been disrespectful to not return after all they had done to make me so welcome. As I pulled up with my wife, two police officers were going in and she commented that she didn't like this situation. I assured her it would be ok and that it was important to their family we return. We had a few drinks and watched as the bride and groom danced. I introduced her to the mother and father and brother, which was also awkward since we've been neighbors for over three years. They implored us to dance with them, which was impossible to get my wife to do in any environment. We said we needed to drive the elderly woman from our neighborhood home because she was ready to leave and didn't have a ride. We graciously thanked them and left.

I was treated like family by same people I held in contempt for so many years.
I learned a valuable lesson today....one that has a profound effect on my way of thinking and how I will treat others from now on.

Last edited by pablo-me; 09-23-2007 at 12:40 AM..
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Old 09-23-2007, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Mesa, Az
21,148 posts, read 36,611,035 times
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I can respect your feelings there; the human touch can definitely change one's preceptions.

It could also be that this particular group of Mexicans may have middle class values who would more likely assimilate into US society quickly-------much like the Sicilians of 100 years ago. This particular extended family clearly has class, people of any background either have it or they don't------one does not learn it.

You mentioned in a previous thread that you are Hispanic; may I ask what your heritage is?

Last edited by ArizonaBear; 09-23-2007 at 10:25 AM..
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Old 09-23-2007, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Colorado
10,017 posts, read 16,690,837 times
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My neighbors are the same way. Although they are legal, But still they are from Mexico and always invite my family over for their fiestas and they make us some great food, and we sit and talk and laugh. ome oftheir family members have been here a longtime and dont speak english, I know enough spanish to get by and while in their home I follow their customs and we have a great time.they make fun of some of my spanish, we usually laugh abouthow I pronouce things, and I try to teach them some German for fun, and we laugh how weird it sounds.
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Old 09-23-2007, 09:21 AM
 
2,541 posts, read 10,188,047 times
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It does not change a thing.

They do not need to be here and be warm and welcoming. I'm sure they will continue to be that way back home

I know lots of nice dominicans, but it does not change the fact they most of them should be back in the DR.

If they do not like their home countries, it is their responsibility to make it better. Not come here and leach off of us.

Or at least they can follow our laws and immigrate the correct way
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Old 09-23-2007, 11:12 AM
 
4,182 posts, read 5,657,999 times
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You are uncomfortable because your direct contact with your neighbors contradicts your preconceived notions and stereotypes of them as undesirable illegal aliens. I remember reading your previous posts where you pretty much dehumanized them. The difference between your previous attitude and your current attitude towards them is that you have now realized that your Mexican neighbors are human just like you. Heck, they may not even be illegal aliens as you formerly suspected.
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Old 09-23-2007, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Colorado
10,017 posts, read 16,690,837 times
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Just because they maybe nice neighbors, doesnt mean they belong here if they are infact illegal. It also does not justify them breaking our laws.
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Old 09-23-2007, 11:32 AM
 
8,973 posts, read 14,610,630 times
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Default Good post

Sounds a little like my own experience, Pablo-me. But I was never so "against" these folks---though I've had a few "attitude adjustments" since my marriage 38 years ago, and 3 kids and 4 grandkids. These folks really "took me in", as you say. And I can guarantee you that the crowd at your affair came in all shades of legality, citizenship-wise. I'll bet there were a fair number of long-time citizens. Maybe even a few (like my wife) had roots pre-dating the arrival of the "griingos" here----never can tell from first appearances.
Congratulations on your "change of heart"--yes, you were one of the more "ornery" ones on the forum, as I recall. Perhaps you'll now be walking a fine line with me, continuing to preach against uncontrolled illegal immigration, and the need for assimilation, while at the same time having to admit to a real admiration for lots of these folks and their fine human spirit and "spunk".

Not quite as simple as "pack 'em up and toss 'em out", is it ?

Thanks for sharing this moment with all of us....macmeal
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Old 09-23-2007, 11:54 AM
 
4,182 posts, read 5,657,999 times
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Thing is, the OP previously railed against his neighbors when he had not even presented a shred of evidence to prove that they were in fact illegal. All he had were his preconceived notions.
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Old 09-23-2007, 12:15 PM
 
1,398 posts, read 6,017,866 times
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Has this interaction changed how you feel about the family's 14-year-old child driving every day without a license?

And about how the family tends to view obeying American laws as "optional only?" Has this encounter changed how you'll react to the constant 3:00 a.m. blaring music and sole debris-strewn property in your neighborhood you mentioned? You okay with the increased taxes you'll be paying for services for them, services that you'll never receive? (You claimed no one in the large household appeared to be employed.) You and I will still be taxed ever increasingly to pay for this family, long after the memories of one social day's inclusion because you spoke some Spanish fade away.

I would equate kindness with warning them that their unlicensed child driver will be arrested for driving, and that these parents will have legal repercussions as well. Their not caring about people beyond their immediate circle is unkind, anti-social and contributory to lawlessness overall. U.S. laws are not "optional only."

Last edited by fastfilm; 09-23-2007 at 12:39 PM..
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Old 09-23-2007, 12:18 PM
 
273 posts, read 178,234 times
Reputation: 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArizonaBear View Post
It could also be that this particular group of Mexicans may have middle class values who would more likely assimilate into US society quickly.You mentioned in a previous thread that you are Hispanic; may I ask what your heritage is?
I would'nt go quite that far. They knowingly allowed their underaged, uninsured son drive our streets in an unregistered car. Their 22 year old son recently returned from mexico with his pregnant 16 year old 'bride'.
Not what comes to mind when I think of middle class.
I'm half spanish and irsh.
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