Community and Culture
Privilege and Oppression
— Victor Velazquez Jr.
My blood tells me I am Mejicano. My friends call me Chicano. The U.S. society calls me Hispanic or Latino. The politicians call me a problem. What am I? I am all of these, and all are oppressed in our society. Though oppressed and at a disadvantage, I have privilege over others, fully know it, and use it. I use what power I have over others to gain a foothold in our society. One of the saddest truths to the U.S. society is that we are taught to grasp on to whatever power we can hold on to, regardless of who we have to step on to get it.
It is human nature to fear the unknown. To the U.S. society, minorities are the unknowns. Minorities are treated differently every day of our lives. We, who live here, are now accustomed to all of the negative differences that we experience every day. We are denied certain jobs, we are offered less pay for jobs, and we are given dirty looks in social places.
An important part of being a minority is whether or not one speaks with an accent. The accent that one might have multiplies the amount of discrimination they receive. Those with foreign accents are the same as any other minority and yet they are treated worse. those who have English as their second language have fought through the system that oppresses them. They learn the language, work the jobs, feel the pain, and in return they are looked down upon. Oppression and discrimination will continue until the ignorance is cured. It will continue until our society removes some of the privilege that white's hold over minorities.
My soul feels empty because I have been rejected extensively by my surroundings. I feel sad about the world I live in. Sad, and then angry. I am a Mexican citizen, born in Mexico City, brought over the border illegally to live in Washington. I was raised in a racist town that hated Mexicans, accusing them of taking American jobs. We were rejected because we didn't speak the English language. Once we learned it, we were rejected because we spoke it with an accent. My older sisters were beaten up, teased, mocked, taunted, and hurt by their classmates in high school because of their race. Things were no different for me as my friends from youth eventually turned on me once society and ignorant parents had enculturated them. They were taught to hurt and discriminate. I don't blame them, and yet I still hurt and hate inside. It could be much worse than it is now. In living in the now, we must fight for what is right, and never forget those who have fought our battle before we joined it.
Article circa 2000 in La Lucha, published by a chapter of M.E.Ch.A.