I Was Born In Manhattan, But I've Been Treated Like An Illegal Immigrant For Years

I Was Born In Manhattan, But I've Been Treated Like An Illegal Immigrant For Years

My first experience with racism.
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When I was in second grade, I experienced racism for the first time.

We were on the bus ride to Heron Park Apartments. The complex was about 85 percent African-American and Hispanic families, the other 15 percent was Caucasian. I didn't think anything different of Caucasian people. Sure, they're not the same color as me, but I never believed them to be superior or inferior to me.

There was a large fifth-grade Caucasian boy that sat behind me every day. I was singing a Peruvian folk song quietly, not bothering anyone. I didn't think I was bothering anyone because no one told me to stop. That is until the boy behind me loudly told me to "shut up."

I turned around and stared at him in confusion. "I'm sorry. Did you tell me to shut up?" I asked him, but he got angry out of nowhere. "I don't need to hear your Mexican fiesta music." He exaggerated.

"I'm not Mexican. I'm Peruvian-American." I corrected him, not being rude. "I don't care what you are, just go back where you came from!" He shouted at me and by now, his face was red. "I was born in America," I said and shook my head. "If that's true, you'd be white."

The argument got more and more heated, my mind swirling with his insults. I kept getting frustrated because I didn't know how to physically prove this boy wrong. "You're so mean. I didn't do anything to you." I said and before I knew it, his fist made contact with my face.

I didn't know how to react but by that time, we made it to Heron Park where my mother was waiting for me to arrive. I ran to her crying and explained the situation in my rushed Spanish. My mother couldn't believe what had happened and took me to follow the boy and his mother to their apartment.

When we reached the door, I was so nervous, my heart was pounding and I didn't know what to do. I was frozen. The boy's mother answered the door, glaring at my mother and myself. "Can I help you?" She asked with a distinct attitude that was similar to her son's.

"Um, your son punched me in the face on the bus." My mother looked at me, then at the woman. "Why you son hit my daughter." My mom spoke in her broken English, putting her hands on her hips. "I will call police."

I stared at my mother and felt a sense of pride. "My son did what?" The woman asked, but she turned away, looking at the boy in the apartment. "Get over here." She demanded. "Apologize."

The boy apologized reluctantly and my mom took me by the hand. "Don't let happen again." She said before taking me down the stairs and across the street to our apartment. "Nunca dejes que un Americano racista te trate mal. Me escuchaste?"

"Never let a racist American treat you like garbage. Did you hear me?"

I do hear you.

Ever since that moment, I realized that there will be people that will verbally abuse me for the color of my skin, but it's up to me to stand up against it, to put an end to it.

I don't think there's a right way to cope with racism, especially since I'm not racist.

I don't hate people for the color of their skin or where they were born.

I believe there's more to a person than that.

Living in Florida in 2018, right in the middle of President Trump's first term, I'm nervous about the future. Will it get worse, will it get better? Only time will tell. I am Latin, but I am also an American. People are meant to be treated with respect, no matter where they're from and no matter the color of their skin. I hope people see past races and accept others for who they are, not what they look like.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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This Is What It's Like Living As A 'Snowflake' Liberal In 2019

I am here to state that yes I am liberal but I am NOT a snowflake who gets offended over everything. I am someone who believes that everyone deserves to be treated equally.

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Growing up, I went to church camps and youth groups. I believed in God through Christ. As I continue to age and learn more about politics, I guess one would call me a "libtard". I am here to tell you that I am proud to be a libtard and here is why.

1. I support universal rights for all

While we are continuing to work towards equal rights for every individual we still slack. African Americans, especially women are still struggling to have their voice heard. LGBTQ+ members still are being denied service because of their sexuality which shouldn't even be a question. Whether a business is private or not, your religion and beliefs should not have anything to do with who you serve. You are gaining MONEY and INCOME, so why would you deny someone?? Nobody should be denied healthcare because of someone else's religious or personal beliefs. If you can't treat a gay man because your religion says that to lay with the same sex is wrong- then you are in the WRONG profession. Just because your religion says that certain things are a sin and wrong, does NOT give you the right to deny people to adopt, shop and live a decent live without having to deal with your hate. Instead of shunning and slamming horrible words to that Muslim family because you believe all Muslims are part of ISIS, instead sit down and actually talk to Muslims. Almost 99% of them just want to live in peace without hate in the USA and throughout the world. Nobody is born racists or homophobic or Islamophobia. People are taught hate and fear. Learn to mind your own business and make sure you are 100% perfect before you judge someone else.

2. I support the poor, immigrants, women and veterans

Yes, we have an illegal immigration problem. Yes, some of those who cross bring drugs and are pedophiles and murders, however, MOST illegals just want to live in a country where they can afford to feed their children and keep them warm and clothed. They do not want to live in Shantyvilles where their houses are made of scraps and their flooring is dirty. They should come here legally yes however, it shouldn't take up too 20 years for them to become citizens. They are not just people looking for handouts, most are just people who are willing to leave their family to go to a foreign place where they may not speak great English just to earn money so their family can survive.

Our system is messed up towards all three people: the poor, the immigrants and our veterans.

The system is designed to keep the poor poorer and the rich richer. You lost your job because of something that you can't control and now you are homeless and living on the street? Got a toothache? Wait until you have money. Have rotten teeth and infection because you couldn't get to the doctors? Go to the emergency room and pay thousands only to still have no money. While there are homeless people who prefer to live the way they do many want a permeant home and consist of food and warmth. Want money? Get a job. Want a job? Well, you need a permanent address. Need a permeant place to live? You need money first. Many homeless people are veteran who have risked their lives for our country. Our country requires men to sign up and many go willing to serve only to get nothing in return for their PTSD, anxiety, depression and so many other problems. They risk everything only to be let down and lose everything back home.

Women, especially women of color and those who are poor struggle because of the current war against women. Yes, this is a war. If we are going to push to ban abortion, which should not be allowed because it is not my business to decide what a woman can and cannot do, then we need to make birth control more easily accessible. Women should not be the only ones who should have to "close their legs" or "participate in abstinence". Sex is a natural and healthy thing to participate in for both sexes. Bearing a child should not be a punishment for something natural. Safe sex should be preached in schools NOT abstinence. Hysterectomies should NOT be denied to women because "they are too young", "they might change their minds", "their husband may not want kids". Want to stop abortions? Stop denying women hysterectomies, lower the cost of adoption, make having a child not so pricing and unaffordable, stop shaming women for having children at a young age or having to go on food stamps or WIC.

3. Healthcare is a HUMAN RIGHT

Imagine you are eight years old living with your grandparents who are retired and barely able to take care of themselves because you have to watch your mother die from an infection that has spread to her blood all because she couldn't afford a $500 root canal and $200 for antibiotics.

Or maybe you are a college student studying because a college professor in the sciences but you got toxic shock syndrome. The hospital saved you and you are okay but you have no insurance because you live alone and can not afford it. You get the bill... it is over $42,000 so you have to drop out to pay it off.

Or your husband has just died after a cardiac arrest after his heart defibrillator failed to work because he couldn't afford to spend thousands to get new batteries...

4. College should not be so expensive

I do NOT support Bernie Sanders college education becoming free drama. The idea of making college free totally take away the value of it. Students would take advantage of the freeness and fail classes without remorse. With that being said, as a middle-class student who dreams of being a teacher, I shouldn't have to cry myself to sleep because my dream school- where I feel at home- may not be where I can go anymore. I understand paying for teachers and facilities but they should make it so more students can get more financial aid. Interest rates are beyond ridiculous. You shouldn't have to pay back more than you took out. Room and board should not be almost the same price as tuition and students shouldn't have to pay for hundreds of fees that in no way affect their education. When someone is LEGALLY and adult whether they were emancipated or they are 18, FAFSA should NOT consider their parents' incomes at ALL even if they do help them because not everyone is fortunate. If someone is living on their own they shouldn't have to put their parents' incomes. They shouldn't have to put their step-parents income unless that parent has adopted them because legally if the parents get divorced they have no legal obligation to that child should why should their income count? College shouldn't be free but nobody should have to have multiple jobs in their lifetime to survive and pay off their loans.

5. I CARE about the environment

Maybe the world won't end in twenty years, we do not know. What I know is that year the earth's global temperature is rising and it is indeed causing weird weather patterns and melting the glaciers and destroying life. I also believe that the world can fix itself on its own BUT we can help the world fix itself faster. We need to cut down on air pollution and look into cleaner energy sources. Banning straws is not "because people are snowflakes'. It is because it is causing harm to marine life and wildlife. Banning straws is a small but giant step. It is not hard to drink without a straw, if you really need one.. get a metal reusable one. Banning plastic and any nonbiodegradable material will make the earth cleaner and prevent so much pollution in our waterways. Stop throwing your trash out the window, recycle your cans and crush them, buy reusable items and reuse different things in other ways instead of throwing it away. There is no reason as to why animals should be found with trash in their stomachs or encased in debris if we simply all learn to become environmentally friendly.

6. I do not trust the government

The government says it is here to protect us but in all honesty, sometimes it does more harm than good. I do not believe in communism, in fact, I think it is stupid however, everyone deserves a chance to live a good life. Our society keeps the poor poorer and people refuse to help them, Sometimes that little boost of getting help for two years can be their foothold to leading an amazing future. Our government and Republicans are so set on staying the same and "not breaking tradition" without realizing that their traditions are hurting people. Our government is full of people wanting everyone to look, act and think the same. If that would be the case, the United States would look like a dystopian country. DIVERSITY in religion, race, sexuality, looks, genes, nationality, language is what makes us a good country. Land of the free means land to be who you are. Separation of church and State should not be questioned. Laws should not be created based on religions in any shape or form. Freedom of religion and freedom from religion.

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Many do not know but I am Pro-Choice, Pro-Second Amendment while also believe that the people should not HAVE to speak, look, dress or act a certain way. Yes, there is freedom of speech but if your speech indicts harm or hate to anyone, just know that you will be judged one day just like everyone else you hate on.

Even if I, myself, or other people are liberal. Most of us are people who just get offended over everything. We are people who are tired of the hate and tired of the fact that people think it is okay to discriminate someone for any reason. Most of us just want everyone to have the same rights and be treated with the same fairness as everyone else. WE care about people and their feelings. WE care about the future generation. WE care about all lives.

Everyone deserves to live a good life with a roof over their head, warm food in their bellies, a healthy body and mind and to live, love, praise and worship who they want without being discriminated against. Live your life the way you want but do not tell others how to live theirs.

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