About six years ago now I became friends with a high school senior who was a friend of a college buddy. At the time, I was only 19 myself. She was a little immature, but we shared a lot of views–both political and personal.
We began to grow apart when I realized how abusive the “top friend” in our group was to me; the others vowed to stay friends with me, but I knew I couldn’t take the pain of being around the abusive friend and that they would never choose between us. I had recently begun working my first job and I was feeling independent and really coming into my own, so I felt comfortable making the choice for them and moved on.
This high school senior became a college freshman before the big friendship break and attended MU. At the time, I was at LU. However, about a semester post big break, I ended up failing out thanks to my art history senior seminar being studio art. I chose to go into teaching and entered the strongest local program I knew of–which was MU.
I barely saw this friend of mine there as I lived in my own apartment and not on campus. In fact, I went nearly two semesters and a summer break without seeing her, during which time I had met Salvador and become engaged. However, one day I ran into her in the parking lot.
At this point I should say that this girl is staunchly and proudly liberal. She majored in a mixture of history, political science, and pre-law and was an absolute bleeding heart. She was obsessed with other cultures, constantly going on the study abroad trips to Europe, and fully immersing herself in local Black culture.
So, back to the parking lot run-in.
I inquired about how she had been and she ran down a list of things she had been up to–traveling, classes, jobs, boyfriends. She asked how things had been and I quickly updated her on the events in my life. Her face showed instant disapproval.
She did not like that I was engaged so fast–or at all really. I had never been interested in marriage, so clearly this was a mistake.
No, I assured her, this was not a mistake. Due to his being foreign, if I wanted to keep him with me in the United States, the best thing I could do was give up my views on marriage oppressing women and make the system work for me.
She was shocked–foreign? From where?
Her eyes narrowed at this one. Oh, so it is a green card thing.
I explained that no, it was an I love him and want to keep him with me thing.
We ended up parting quickly, but she did leave me with one gem.
“I think you are making a big mistake.”
I walked away from the conversation rather unsettled. There were so many things wrong with it that I could not process them all at once. This girl, who had not spoken with me in a year outside of Facebook posts, felt that she knew me well enough to tell me that I was making a mistake in marrying the man I loved. Or that I was getting married at all, because I had never been into marriage and we all know a person can never change their mind. The big issue for me was how the tone went from bad to worse when she found out he was Mexican.
Apparently, being Mexican is a big game changer.
Now, I know that many Americans have problems with Mexicans due to any number of influences (job loss, political commentators, fear, etc). But I suppose I just had faith that this person–this liberal, culture exploring person–would be different. She wasn’t.
Interestingly enough, my most conservative friends and family members have been highly supportive throughout all of this.
When I think about my friend and her aversion to Mexicans despite her love of other cultures, I conclude that she doesn’t actually have a love of other cultures–she simply attaches herself to the ones that romance her. French, Italian, Greek–all good. Mexican–not so great.
In the next year or so, I kept her as a Facebook friend only–more out of a desire to allow her to see that despite the Mexican in my bed, I was happy. That ended when I noticed a string of posts on her wall about–you guessed it–Mexicans!
Essentially, this post detailed the horrible experiences she and her friends have had at parties with Mexican men and made broad judgments on the culture while throwing in a few racist jokes for good measure.
I can only imagine what the world would think of any group of people if their only experiences with them were when they were drunk or high at a college party.