By Silvia Uribe
You might have heard Donald Trump’s remarks as a “presidential candidate” regarding Mexicans, but in case you didn't, he said something like: most Mexicans in the US are affiliated with drug cartels, and that most are rapists. Whether you agree or disagree with him on his hate-based ignorant assumptions, and gross generalizations about Latinos in general, and Mexicans, in particular, you have a right to your opinion. If you agree with Trump, I hope you’re not afraid of reading on. If you’re not in agreement with him, and think that he was out of line with his discriminatory comments, I also hope that when reading this letter you analyze your own actions, or lack thereof -immediately after you heard those remarks, and even to this point in time.
I was born and raised in Mexico. Yes, I am Mexican, as Mexican as they come. I’ve been living in this wonderful country for 22 years now, and I am as American as anyone else. I love this country, my country, the USA. When I hear the kind of ignorant remarks that Trump expressed so openly, I can very easily see that, what this country was, it is no more. Historically, the US has been a country with advanced ideas and the highest ideals. Those two characteristics were the USA’s trademark. They were also the springboard that propelled our country into becoming the power that it has, so far, been. Unfortunately, things have changed. When was the vision lost?
Trump’s comments reflect not only his own biases, but those of some people for whom the only ideas and ideals are to preserve their “cast”, which they believe is entitled to judge and make decisions for everyone because they “are better” and “know better.” They are part of the 1% who has all the wealth. They want to have everyone else under their thumb, and want others to have the least educational opportunities, so they can pay them little money. This cast wants to preserve their lifestyle at the expense of others. It seems, however, that this 1% is being successful at establishing new values for our land. They don’t have advanced ideas, or high ideals. On the contrary, they want to live in a shameful past, enjoying the servitude of those of whom they see as inferior. Individuals who think like Trump, are the ones bringing this country down by creating such a wide gap between the ‘have and the have not’s.’ Soon, if we let them continue on this path, we will all realize that there is not going back, and other countries, with a clear vision, will take the power over.
However, I’m really writing this letter to get the attention of those who believe themselves to be inclusive, and progressive; to those good, non-discriminatory people who really appreciate others, their hard work, and who believe that everyone should have the same opportunities to succeed in life.
In the aftermath of Trump’s statements, I have observed that no allies are speaking up. Where are you? When someone makes this type of comments, you just shake your head in disapproval but comply with your silence? We know that when we see an injustice and do nothing, we are part of the problem. Unfortunately, it is easier to remain in the dark, not stick our necks out, and not be criticized. I know it. I used to do this too.
I also know that being vocal regarding injustice is risky business, but at some point in our lives we have to decide between being accepted, and putting our ethical and moral values and beliefs first. Situations like these are the perfect opportunity for us to make a definite statement regarding what we want to see in our country, and what we don’t want the US to become.
During the 60’s, and more so recently, we see individuals of all skin colors protesting injustice, discrimination and violence against our black brothers and sisters. Why is this not happening when someone discriminates against Latinos? Are Latinos the new target minority? By being silent, we are condoning the undermining of Latinos and other discriminatory behaviors against them. (I'm happy to report that at the time of this publication, NBC and other corporations are cutting business ties with Trump due to his racist comments)
But, regardless of Trump’s statements, I believe that it is a must that we, as Americans, hold steadfast to our values and beliefs independent of what is popular. A stand against injustice should be a permanent stand. Acting on our values must include speaking up when injustice is witnessed against any person or group, on a national stage, or at a grocery shop. Speaking up against injustice can mean interjecting, or simply discussing the matter within our circle of influence to bring the issue out in the open. Talking about selfies, fashion and entertainment is fun, but we cannot expect that these conversations will make our lives and our country better. However, justice and equality will.