Until Columbus Day is canceled, I’ll forever support ‘illegal’ immigrants
That one day when I was more Mexican than a Mexican
“I don’t want Mexicans coming over here to the United States,” he said to me. “All Mexicans are criminals anyway.”
When he made the comment, my head shot back like someone punched me. This was unlike the time a white woman instructor told an Asian student to “go back to your country” in one of my grad school classes. (By the time I got ahold of that instructor’s end-of-year review, I wrote a livid explanation of how horrendous I thought that comment was — and a gross overreaction to something as trivial as Chicago Manual Style editing.)
This wasn’t even like the time where a Puerto Rican/Mexican neighbor thought we were chummier than we really were and used the n-word. (Her father oddly also didn’t want her to date Mexican men.) Again, I responded and let her know in no uncertain terms that neither the slur or the anti-Mexican stance was OK with me.
But in this case, I was talking to a Mexican man — straight out of Mexico who did come to the United States illegally but gained U.S. citizenship later. I asked him to repeat his comment. He did again — and in front of his white wife. I was speechless. Not only was it extremely dangerous to tell white people that “Mexicans are criminals” — spouse or not — but he was describing someone who fit three categories in which he checked off the boxes: Mexican, immigrant, (formerly) illegal citizen.