One of the most important things we learn throughout life is speech, or words. It is one of the most potent things we have, yet we don’t realize that. We take words for granted because we know our words, in most cases, won’t go away. That is, till you get a president who is xenophobic, sexist and narcissistic. I am a Latina and a woman in medicine. Never in my life did I find this phrase so powerful, till now. Never did I think I would be given racist comments during my regular Walmart visit. Never did I think I would fear being who I am, till a president decided to come and tell the whole country that who I was, a Hispanic woman, was meaningless and a burden to a country who, let me remind you all, originated from immigrants.
To the whole country, this message is for you, not our Xenophobic president. Imagine waking up one day and realizing who you are, what you say you are meant nothing. Being a male was worthless, being an American meant nothing, being you was meaningless. You may think, well you were born with the American dream, immigrants weren’t. True, but we fought for this dream. Imagine having preset descriptors of who you are before walking outside your door. Do not compare one immigrant with the immigrant that stole your tire or broke into your house. Imagine if I compared you to the American that threw rocks at my car, or that called me trash or that yelled sexual comments at me as I walked to learn how to save lives or even worse, imagine if I compared you to Donald Trump, things would get very ugly very quickly.
And to those who still say the immigrant next door to them should leave, let me throw some facts at you. 13.5% of the U.S population consist of immigrants, with 45% of immigrants categorized as Hispanics. In 5 years, there has been approximately a 5% increase in the number of immigrants in the U.S. Along with that 17% of the workforce is made up of immigrants, with 31% of workers in management, business, science and art made up of immigrants, versus 38% of native born workers in this occupation (migrationpolicy.org, 2017). Of the branches of the military, 40% of active duty members of the Navy are made up of immigrants, 22% for the Army, 20% for the Air Force , and 15.5% for the Marines, with 11% of females making up the total immigrant population in the military (migrationpolicy.org, 2017), with myself included. So, next time you tell an immigrant to “go back to their country” remember, you might be throwing away a teacher, engineer, doctor, manager or soldier defending the Land of the Brave to do good in another country.
And to all the young Hispanic Females out there, don’t let fear be instilled in you. Don’t settle for less. Be a doctor, engineer, professor, whatever you want. Set goals, and set them high. I am the first female member of my family to obtain higher education. It’s not easy, you will always face this stigma but embrace who you are, embrace being a Latina, and show them what you are capable of. Don’t let a male or a country dictate who you want to be.
And Donald, if you don’t have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
migrationpolicy.org. (2017). Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States.
[online] Available at: http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/frequently-requested-statistics-immigrants-
and-immigration-united-states#Mexican [Accessed 16 Jul. 2017].
migrationpolicy.org. (2017). Immigrants in the U.S. Armed Forces. [online] Available at:
http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/immigrants-us-armed-forces [Accessed 16 Jul. 2017].