Issue No. 18 • Spring 2017

I am half Swedish and half Mexican. Growing up I attended 5 different schools in Mexico and the United states. At school {in America} I encountered several infuriating incidents. I was asked by a classmate {in elementary school} if I had a green card. I was young, so I did not understand the implication at that time, but my mother did and she was furious, she called the child's parent...I'm grateful that she was there to protect me. I remember overhearing a boy at my school, this was in 2002-2003... they had found a truck in the desert full of illegal immigrants whose coyote had abandoned them, it was all over the newspapers at that time and this boy looks at the newspaper and said "serves them right for trying to take our jobs." I was so angry, I went off on him, yelling in the hallway... I couldn't understand how he couldn't understand that they were people. I was taken aback that the more educated country was more backward. 
When I was twelve, the government lost my Green Card. My family and I had to constantly travel between the US and Mexico due to family reasons, and every time I returned I was taken to the immigration room. Sometimes they wouldn't even let me take my parents with me, even though I was a minor. Trump reminds me of how scared I was as a kid in that room... because I look white, people think its ok to say racist things to me. While it has always been disturbing, it's become more obvious [in the past months].
It's hard being an immigrant... keeping your own values vs. assimilating and I do get the sense of being pushed aside as an 'other'. My husbands father was born in a World War II displacement camp before coming to the US and becoming a professor at a university. We found out that he might have voted for Trump and we are so confused. Wasn't it tough for him at that time, too? What makes someone turn against someone in their own shoes? Or did they just not think about it at all?