A few days ago dreamacttexas received a comment from someone who said if we wanted to speak Spanish, we should go back to Mexico. It was not a nice thing to say and came from someone who is really angry about immigration.
It reminded me of something that happened when I was about six years old (1958). It was Halloween night. I went trick or treating with some friends in my neighborhood, which was around 4th St. and Avenue I - in Rosenberg, Texas. I lived in the Anglo side of town. My Dad moved us there in 1956. We were the first Mexican American family to move to the "white side" of the tracks. Someone even told him later they were surprised the KKK didn't try to burn him out. My friends lived in the Mexican/Black side of the tracks. They were children of my parents friends and of my piano teacher. The grandfather of two of them was the "Patron" of the Mexican neighborhood, a very powerful and wealthy man (by the way his skin was "whiter" than most white people I know- his own family was originally from Nueva Rosita Coahuila).
The kids and I approached a woman's home and yelled "trick or treat." She came out said that we should go back to our own [Mexican] neighborhood. I felt very confused since I was in my neighborhood. I'm sure she thought she was a good Christian woman (most of the white people in the town were identified as such), but she didn't connect "Christian" with "ethical" or "fair" or "nice."
I don't remember where the house was, and I didn't know her name. Being six years old you don't think about things like that. As an I adult I would have certainly tried to figure out who she was.... maybe even go back and talk to her again.
I guess she thought she could talk to us that way because we were little kids, because we were "anonymous" little kids in costumes. She didn't know who we were. She just saw brown skin and thought "yuck!" - Considering her age at the time, I don't think she's alive anymore. If she is in heaven, I hope she thinks about that day.... maybe she regrets it now.
As far as nasty comments sent to the blog.... maybe the anonymity is good. At least we learn about what people are really thinking. Otherwise they just fake us out, making us think they respect us as human beings, but inside they are full of hate.....
Things haven't changed that much since the Jim Crow days in Rosenberg, Texas. We go about our lives and (mostly) don't say nasty things to little children. But when we can put on our mask of anonymity on, we let it all out... at least those of use who have the fire of hate inside... I wonder how many are out there?
|image by Jennifer Daniel & Sandi Daniel|
Halloween is everyday on the internet
Op-Ed Contributor - New York Times
By JULIE ZHUO
How Web sites can put an end to inflammatory comments from “trolls.”