By Rosa Conrad

Donald Trump made headlines not only in announcing his run for candidacy as President of the United States, but also for remarks in his announcement speech about Mexican@s*. For those who missed his speech, here is what he said:

When do we beat Mexico at the border? They’re laughing at us, at our stupidity. And now they are beating us economically. They are not our friend, believe me. But they’re killing us economically. The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems.

Thank you. It’s true, and these are the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people.

It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably—probably—from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.

US-Mexico_border_deaths_monumentHis comments speak of ignorance, especially about Mexico supposedly “sending” its people to the United States. I’d be interested to know his explanation of how exactly Mexico decides on which people to send over the border. Trump asks the question, “When do we beat Mexico at the border?” One look at the monument on the Mexican border wall can offer a glimpse of how many times Mexican people have lost.

Trump’s comments were offensive and worse is how he continues to stand by what he said without verifying his facts. I believe people are entitled to their own opinion and as such can feel, believe, and think any way they choose. But by publicly offending an entire group of people and categorize them as being a social problem, especially for a man like Trump who holds considerable influence and a position of power, then perhaps some thought should be considered to what is actually being said.

Mexican@s work in restaurants, agriculture, housecleaning, landscaping, and construction. They are doctors, professors, dentists, lawyers, law enforcement officers, military personnel, nurses, office workers, politicians, and sociologists. These are just a few of the jobs that they do here in the United States. This is not who they are but what they do for a living. Mexican@s are people who have strong family values, embrace their culture, and have a strong worth ethic. Mexican@s cross la frontera and come here for many reasons, with many of them leaving Mexico to find employment.

Dia de Los Muertos But the question is: who are Mexican@s? They’re your neighbors, co-workers, friends, and people whose culture is embraced in the United States among the countless other ethnic cultures. You experience and taste the flavor of Mexico’s culture in its food, music, art, language, and cultural holidays and religious festivals. It is seen in the Dia de los Muertos, Cinco de Mayo, the dances of Ballet Folklorico, and in the artwork of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera displayed in the United States. All these are embraced and practiced not just by Mexican@s, but by many Americans.

Upon hearing Trump’s speech my reactions to it were anger, frustration, and disgust but I took a moment to consider what it all meant. Then my feelings began to change, as I saw people demonstrate their opposition to his views. Almost immediately following his speech Univision, NBC, Ms. El Salvador, Macy’s, and the second richest man in the world Carlos Slim (who is Mexican) decided to sever business dealings with Trump. Through social media, many supported these decisions by re-posting, liking, tweeting, re-tweeting, and sharing. Trump may not be worried about his comments or loss of his business dealings. Perhaps for a rich man like him, they don’t matter. Yet these actions of support demonstrate that many do not agree with his comments. I saw their reactions through social media, and I thought YES!

480758007_f52598508e_oTrump sought to divide, but he instead caused unity. UNITY that crossed international BORDERS. It is a unity against the prejudice, against the hate. This made me realize that when stereotypical remarks are made against an entire people and treated unfairly, people react. Reactions like the letter written by a graduate student, the spoken word video done by a Hondureño, and the demonstration of a man dressed in a prison suit and handcuffed tied holding a sign stating, “Meet an Immigrant: Do you really see me as a drug, rapist, and criminal?” This exemplifies solidarity and it leaves me believing that there is hope for the respect of each other’s differences. I don’t mean differences by race, rather our cultures, languages, religions, and all that makes us who we are. Borderlands

*Mexican@s throughout the blog refers to both male and female people from Mexico or of Mexican descent.