Sunday, March 13, 2016

Ese Blanco Milionario

¿Ese blanco milionario, vas a votar por él? You going to vote for that white millionare?

My taxi driver can’t believe he’s for real: “He’s the one who hates Latinos, right?” he asked me, “But the States has a lot of Latinos, right?”

Yeah, I can’t figure it out either.

He showed up on TV here, dubbed in Spanish, saying something more inflammatory than newsworthy. (In Spanish his name sounds like troomp, such a strange and foreign collection of sounds).

I had just been talking with my 10-year-old host brother about his biology assignment, studying the inside of cells. We marveled at how, inside, we all have the same nuclei and Golgi apparati and all the other things I’ve forgotten the names of. We talked about the little quirk, melanin, that makes my skin so pale while his is canelito, as he describes it – cinnamon-colored.

He held his skinny, brown arm next to mine. “I don’t understand why people are racists,” he said. “We’re different colors and we get along just fine.”

I want him to keep thinking this – for racism to stick in his head as something incomprehensible. I don’t want him to hear that people a few countries north are afraid of children just like him and men like the man he’ll grow up to be.

And that guy, Trump?” people ask me. Try explaining the concept of a giant, unnecessary wall to the people who would be on the other side of it. “He’s the one who hates Latinos, right?” Remember that the influence of a political decision reaches beyond borders.

This election is about more than governance. We have to ask ourselves, whose voice do we want to represent ours? More than that, as a people, how do we want to be known?

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