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With a Trump visit to San Antonio looming on the horizon, Mexican Americans throughout the region reflect on their heritage and the Republican nominee.

Border Town Life, as Told by an Anti-Trump Mexican American

I was born and raised in a small town called Rio Grande City and went to school in La Grulla, both of which sit just on the border of Mexico with nothing but the river in between. As a young child, day trips over the bridge for cheaper products and better food were no big deal. My whole life, an entirely different country was almost always within sight.

The cultures and traditions of Mexico blended seamlessly with those of the United States as I grew up. I spoke Spanglish, listened to country music, ate menudo and barbacoa on Sundays and went to football games on Friday nights. I come from tortillas y frijoles and ham and cheese, raspas and ice cream, corridos and pop songs, buñuelos and doughnuts, Dieciséis de Septiembre and Fourth of July.

Border Town Life, as Told by an Anti-Trump Mexican American

Up until I graduated high school and left home to go to college in San Antonio, I never fully realized or understood just how much influence living in such a culturally mixed area had on my personality, views and values. I knew I’d be in for a culture shock moving from a small town to the second-largest city in Texas, but I could never have imagined the prejudice and arrogance I’d encounter as a Mexican American.

Naturally, practically every single person back home had the same cultural background, so racism and bigotry were a rare occurrence. In San Antonio, however, I encountered my fair share of it. I was blatantly followed around department stores and had my purse searched on the way out.

I watched my boyfriend (also Mexican American and from the same hometown) be skipped over in line at SuperCuts because the beautician didn’t want to serve him (or the African Americans in attendance)—although she had no problem assisting all the Caucasian people in line behind us. I got dirty looks whenever I spoke Spanish in public, as if anything in another language is automatically “less than.”

At first, encounters like these were incredibly disheartening. But after my first year here, I realized I wouldn’t change my heritage or who I was even if I had the chance. Learning to speak two languages at an early age created job opportunities and broke down barriers between me and all the Spanish-speaking people I’ve met since moving.

Growing up the way I did, seeing firsthand the struggles and desperation of people born on the other side of the border, made me grateful for everything I have—something so many of my fellow college peers lack. Being raised with both Mexican and American cultures made me well rounded, instilled me with diverse values, provided me with very open-minded views on this melting pot of a country and most importantly, taught me to be accepting of everyone, no matter their ethnicity.

Unfortunately, the infamous Mr. Donald J. Trump wants to make childhood experiences like mine totally extinct. As someone who grew up in a border town, I can personally say a towering wall would be detrimental to the beautiful mixing of two great cultures. The fluidity of business, art, music and literature between the two nations would cease to exist the way it currently does. Authentic foods we’ve come to love wouldn’t be able to make their way over. An entire way of life—border town life—would be essentially erased.

I understand the point of the wall is too keep illegal immigrants from coming into America, but what Trump needs to understand is that it’s just not that simple. Nothing, not even a 100-foot wall, will ever be enough to keep hardworking, determined Mexicans from coming in search of a better life for themselves and their family. Illegal or not, immigrants built this country and continue to support it. Yes, there’s drug trafficking and people coming over with malicious intentions, but that’s all people like Trump want you to believe.

What about the innocent families trying to get away from such things in the first place? Trump doesn’t talk about the frightened, abused, impoverished folk who risk their lives for a sliver of hope and the chance to no longer live in constant fear.

My grandmother on my mom’s side was born on a ranch in Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, in Mexico. When she was just nine-years old, her parents brought her, her six sisters and two brothers to the United States for a better life and more opportunities. My grandmother and her siblings grew up here, led successful lives and raised families. Had they not been able to come over, I wouldn’t be here today. The United States would be lacking eight other families of successful citizens who contribute to society as doctors, lawyers and teachers (not “killers and rapists”.)

If we elect Donald Trump, an out-and-out racist as our next President, it’ll serve as the poorest example of American judgment in history. In a world where Donald Trump is President of the United States, this country will never be great again. How could a nation that restricts the flow of its cultural diversity be anything but senseless?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for patriotism. But isn’t one of the biggest parts of being a proud American, being proud of our cultural melting pot and acceptance? What about freedom and justice for all? I always thought that extended to anyone and everyone in our wonderful country, not just to those who were lucky enough to be born here. How can America be the “home of the brave” if those who live here are too afraid to let anyone else in?

The thought of such luxuries being restricted back when my grandmother was a child the way Trump wants them restricted now terrifies me. My life would not exist the way it does. The lives of so many other families and children will not exist either if Trump has his way. An unimaginable number of potential physicians, politicians and artists would miss out on great opportunities and America would be missing out on them as well.

I’m proud of my Mexican heritage and that doesn’t make me any less American. Soy orgullosa de mi herencia Mexicana y no me hace menos Americana.

  1. This article is unbeably subjective and filled with opinions not facts. Being from the Rio Grande Valley, and living in San Antonio for 5 years, I have a totally different view than this I young lady. And the experiences she had of the stares and the line skiping are experiences that can happen anywhere in the world but happen less in San Antonio. In fact, more people who arnt Hispanic in the Rio Grandr Valley would get these same stares. San Antonio is a great mixture of cultures that blend well with one another and this young lady would know that if she always part of the community.
    As for Donald Trump, many people accuse him of being racist but never back it up with facts or use quotes out of context. I am a proud Hispanic and love my heritage but also love Culture and my country and have yet to hear any racist remarks from that man.
    Please to advertise thise blog as if it is an article based in fact and not opinion. she does not speak for all of us.

  2. It seems very strange to me that you move here and encounter so call “racism” many times in such a short time, yet I have lived here almost 60 years and I have never encounter racism. I was educated in the edgewood school district the 2nd poorest district in state at the time, about 88% of us in attendance mexican/American, 10% white and the rest mixed. My family on my father’s side is from Starr county and I have many many cousins still there. Some of my family came over from Mexico yet I don’t want illegals crossing the border into my country. While i agree Mexico has a poor quality of life for many people it’s not my responsibly to take in all illegals regardless what country they come from. This outdated argument about immigrants built this country is so cookie cutter. Yes this country opened its arms to immigrants to help build America the difference between them and the ones now, the ones in the past took pride in creating a good life and felt proud to become Americans. The ones now, oh they want a better life but they want our resources given to them for free and they get it but the average American that works doesn’t qualify. No Trump isn’t a racist: do you the definition of a racist, noun
    a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
    At no time has he ever said illegal Mexicans were inferior. He called them criminals which many are. But I’ll tell you what you are … a bigot. noun
    a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.
    That’s you bc you are intolerant of Mr Trumps opinions. I can go on and on but you are the typical liberal use words like, racist, bigot, hate, intolerant to describe conservative minded people. America is not great right now we are the laughing stock of the world, we have the worst president in American history dividing this once great country with his prejudice. You just jumped on the bandwagon that liberals throw out.

  3. You are right on the nail. Mexican Americas that were born out of the Rio Grande Valley don’t really know what been a Mexican American really is. They think that they are excepted by the white people like one of their oun. As soon as Trump takes about Mexican been killers, rapiest n thrives is where a real Mexican American know that he is a racist, a bigot n a hater. By the way John, or is it Juan, we have never had a better president then Obama. I can tell you he has been a better president the any repablican president till now.

  4. Oh come on, these personal experiences of racism you cite are completely subjective. You and your bf got skipped in line for a haircut at Supercuts? Boohoo, take your business to great clips and take advantage of the market. If you think San Antonio is “racist” to Hispanics try going to school in ultra conservative places like Alabama, ole miss, or college station. Restricting the flow of diversity??? If someone with the potential to be a physician wants to come to America, just apply some of those smarts, follow the rules, take the test, and do it the right way.

    You say the wall will stop the fluidity of commerce and authentic food, then you say a 100′ wall will not stop the hardworking Mexicans, which is it??? I assure you, a wall will not cause the extinction of enchiladas like you claim it will. Btw, if you ask real Mexicans near the border (which you probably can and should have) they’re actually (seriously) happy there’s gonna be a wall built. It creates jobs for the border towns and thus in a small way, stimulates the economy.

    Another thing that bothered me was how casually you can label your classmates as “ungrateful.” Just because they didn’t grow up near the border they can’t have a a deep perspective like you? A little close minded don’t you think? Clearly you lack the “diverse values, open mindedness, and acceptance of others” that you think you have.

    Your grandmother was born on a ranch, then came here for a better life??…ohhh Kay

    “Had they not come, i wouldn’t be here” …ok

    John (from above) is dead on. Illegals (non taxpayers) come here and expect tax paying citizens to give them everything and when those said tax payers have a problem with that, they’re called racists.

    Americans are tired of acquiescing to foreigners. If foreigners want to come here, they need to learn the language, follow the law, and pay taxes like every other American. If they have a problem with that, it’s not racism.

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