Why is it when people perceive an injustice, they suddenly don’t sense it as it doesn’t affect them and “it’s not their problem” anymore? Often times it’s something that’s passed to another person or community.
For example, Puerto Rico is part of our nation, and yet, aid sent to them is just appalling or not close enough to be of help. It’s like a grudging thing. Why must it be like that? Why do we have to pray for them? Why can’t we just give them the aid they NEED? Why do reality stars who have no stake in it, have to be the ones to be decent?
To that end, I have no answers.
Or the hostile environment that is oft times part of being an immigrant in this nation, when this nation was founded by the immigrant’s journey as it was wonderfully illustrated in Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus”: “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore./Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,/I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
But this apparently has a large price.
Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World illustrates the poignancy of the immigrant’s journey. The harsh disdain of people who aren’t born here and just want to make a living.
We are to blame for this destruction, we who don’t speak your tongue and don’t know how to keep quiet either. We who didn’t come by boat, who dirty up your door steps with our dust, who break you barbed wire. We who came to take your jobs, who dream of wiping your shit, who long to work all hours. We who fill your shiny clean streets with the smell of food, who brought you violence you’d never known, who deliver your dope, who deserve to be chained by the neck and feet. We who are happy to die for you, what else could we do? We, the ones who are waiting for who knows what. We, the dark, the short, the greasy, the shifty, the fat, the anemic. We the barbarians. (Herrera, p.99-100)
This honestly made me choke up, it made me remember the times it wasn’t as blantant as the cop in the book. I remember my mom talking about when she was CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) at a nursing home and just because she spoke another language to my aunt who was also working there, that she was written up and would have been fired if they continued to talk in Pangasinan (a Filipino dialect), because they wanted to know if they were being talked about or bad-mouthed. At the time, we weren’t as established here, so it was important for my mom to have that back-breaking job.
Why can’t we be more decent?