Friday, October 12, 2007
Big Butts and Immigration
I started my second session of belly dance I on Wednesday. I was a little disappointed because we aren't learning any new moves but I need to practice the ones that I have already learned so I guess I'll just have to deal with it. I've discovered that I am at a decided disadvantage in belly dance because (hope this isn't too much information!) my butt isn't big enough! We all shimmied for awhile and though my shimmy is adequate I just can't get those coins jingling, I'm just not 'juicy' enough!
We actually discussed this during the class. Though the teacher didn't outright mention my butt, I think that she noticed my wimpy coins and she said that people who are thinner don't usually have the same affect when they hip shimmy and have to concentrate on the movements that require muscle control....the undulations etc ...
For awhile I thought of just trying to eat a lot more food trying to make my butt bigger but hell....who am I fooling! If my butt isn't big after 3 kids it just probably ain't gonna happen. I guess it's undulations for me. (Honestly, I will understand perfectly if no-one wants to touch this one with a ten foot pole.)
So, I will go on with my next thought, one that you will perhaps feel more comfortable commenting on. So, here I was all high on belly dance, driving out of the parking lot when I noticed that the bumper sticker of the car in front of me which belonged to a lady from the class, said 'Immigration! Border Patrol!'.
On the surface, this is a technically neutral statement. It's not like it said 'Drown all the Mexicans in the Rio Grande'. But it has been my experience that people who are pro-Mexican rights don't tend to have these bumper stickers. So, now I am in a class with someone who probably thinks that my husband is here stealing jobs from Americans, someone who probably thinks that people like my husband are turning our country into a 3rd world country. And Blah! Blah! Blah!
And that's okay. I don't agree with her and she doesn't have to agree with me, I respect her opinion limited though it may be. (That's respectful, right?) I'm used to it, I've been married to him for 10 years. I had some idea of how things would be when I married him though I didn't forsee 911 and everything that ensued from that.
And my husband and I are not blindly 'pro-Mexican' either. We both realize that the situation can not continue in this way, that there are going to have to be changes and perhaps consequences as well.
We are for Amnesty. We feel that they need to be offered a way to become a part of the system and that penalizing them is not the answer. The United States has benefit ted from Mexican labor for years, our economies are intertwined and we have benefited more than they have from this relationship.
We need them and that is why they have been allowed to come over. This stance that we are being taken advantage of by them is only a partial truth, we have taken advantage of them as well. They would have been more than happy to have a legitimate means for coming over here and working and not having to do it illegally and we have never offered them this option.
Good thing my husband isn't overly-sensitive. He prints USA Today and he is bombarded with all of the arguments. He says that sometimes he catches people talking about him because he is Mexican but when they see that he has noticed, they smile this false, bright smile and try to pass it off. He has never been hassled by the police but of course, we have this fear that one day this will happen.
My daughters have never been treated badly. I'm not capable of being objective about my kids looks. I just don't know if people can tell that they are Mexican when they see them or not and if things might be different if it were more obvious. And I'm not trying to implie that I want to 'pass my kids off as caucasian'. I would never do that. I hate that!
I have had people ask me if they were my kids or not. One lady said, "Oh your kids are so beautiful. Are they yours?" KInda funny! And my husband is usually treated nicely. If anyone is mean to him, it is usually one of those random encounters, my husband is likable so when people know him they don't give him any trouble.
Some of the things that we deal with are just funny! Some times little kids practice their Spanish on him! They are so proud when he understands them! One time a little kid called my daughter a taco and his parents were so embarassed! Once my husband went to subway and this girl put so many jalapenos on his sandwhich that even he could hardly eat it. She thought she was 'being down', I guess!
The guys at work have a lot of fun with my husband. He has a viscous sense of humor and they like playing with him. People talk to my husband like he is a child sometimes though because he has an accent. I always wonder if this doesn't sort of batter him on a subliminal level but what can you do? They don't mean anything by it, they probably don't even realize that they are doing it.
Anyway, given our experiences, I tend to think that people aren't really as bad as they sound when you read the editorials and listen to the people who call in on talk radio. Becasue those people really scare me!
But we often have this feeling of people talking out of both sides of their mouths at us. Smiling and nodding to your face and then making a snide remark when you are not there to hear it. And really, they can think whatever they want. I haven't really spoken to too many people who are militantly anti-immigration who are really very well-informed. I would be more than happy to talk to someone who is well-informed who has opinions that are different from mine on the matter. I would be interested in knowing what they think. I haven't found this though.
It's funny, this woman (I haven't figured out which one it is yet) is probably a nice womean. She probably had no wish to offend anyone. She probably takes the truth of her convictions so for granted that she probably had no idea that it would offend anyone. Or if it did offend someone it wouldn't be anyone who she was in bellydance class with. It would be offensive to someone who is over there, who isn't the same as her on any level. Oh well. It gave me something to ponder.