Thursday, December 30, 2010

Definition of an Anchor Baby

Anchor baby.  Definition: a baby born in the U.S. to a non-U.S. citizen for the main purpose of providing permanent access or "anchorage" to American society and public benefits by virtue of the baby's citizenship status - having been born in the U.S. and as a result of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, an amendment originally intended to assure citizenship to recently-freed slaves at the end of the U.S. Civil War. 

Is this me?  Maybe and maybe not.

This blog isn't about immigration, so I won't comment on that.  It's about my crazy life and all the madness that has, and continues to surround me because of whom I am and where I come from.  It's not all bad.  Life is what you make of it.  It's all in your outlook.  If you can't poke fun of yourself, then life is going to suck.  Life is up and down and all around.  Is life harder because of racism?  What about stereotypes?  Absolutely.  How can children from the same family with the same circumstances turn out so differently?  It's all in the mind. 

So who am I?  I suppose if you want to generalize it and be derogatory, I'm an anchor baby.  My parents were both born in Mexico and made their trek up north.  Unfortunately for the stereotypes, it stops there.  Sorry folks, they came legally!  My parents came as residents and are now citizens of the United States of America.  No sucking up tax dollars for us!  You know what does amaze me?  People still have this old school mentality: If I come from Hispanic ancestry, I must be illegal.  If I swear I was born in America?  Then surely my parents MUST be illegal.  What other option is there? 

Growing up in California, everyone and their neighbor is Mexican.  Here in Pennsylvania?  Eh, not so much.  I remember the first job I got upon arriving.  I worked alongside an older woman who was very friendly (okay, she was a gossip).  She wanted to know all about me and my family.  As soon as I said I was Mexican, she looked at me like I escaped from the fields.  I'm not exaggerating either.  She asked me, "So, what fruit did you pick growing up?"  She was dead serious and did not believe me when I said none.  She was going down the food pyramid, so sure I had SOMETHING to do with our food consumption!  For those of you wondering, being in the fields was not one of my duties.  That's the reason my parents raised a family in the U.S., for a better opportunity.

There is no shame in being a migrant worker.  If that's what I had to do to support my family, I would.  It is a hard ass job and you earn every penny you get, and deserve so much more.  It is brutal being out in the hot sun with your wages being calculated by the amount of produce you pick.  I should know: my dad's first job in America was working in an avocado grove.

Many people would look down at such an existence, but you know what?  Those were some of the best years of my life!  We lived out in the boondocks, our housing was provided for and we had all the fruit & vegetables we could eat.  Imagine sleeping to crickets instead of car horns, picking your garden grown produce instead of going to the grocery store, slaughtering your animals instead of purchasing hormone-ridden hogs, and being able to walk out of your home and not worry about crazies in the street.  I saw an honest-to-goodness bobcat not even 15 feet away from me!  Why?  Due to my father being a "dirty Mexican". 

Obviously I don't believe any slurs that were, and occasionally are, thrown our way.  I should be used to them by now, but they still surprise me when I hear them.  As a country we should be beyond this ignorance.  I should not be hearing my children tell me about the kid on the bus making fun of them because they're half-Mexican.  There are too many people in this world to believe such nonsense.  I tell them what my parents taught me: Be yourself and FUCK anyone who doesn’t like it.  ¡Viva México, Cabrones!