Mexican and Proud! #3

My race and ethnicity have never played a role in my life where I reflected on it. Growing up  I lived in a community that was majority LatinX specifically Mexican. To me, it would feel normal to walk out and have people wave hello and they were Spanish speakers. And as I grew up I distanced myself from the community that I was raised in but still felt proudly Mexican. And as college started coming into my life it became more of a complexity. Before I would live a life of happiness and a worry-free life. Now I feel the need to consistently remember who I am ethnically because of everything that goes on in the world or news or generally around me. And there have been many instances in my life feeling like I didn’t belong, there were times when I wasn’t treated with the same service of someone who is white. There were instances in restaurants and other instances in general public areas. Now, moving forward to the internship at MIRC I am treated well and with respect within the office (which is amazing). One day I was asked by an attorney to go to a court in Ann Arbor to request some documents; That day I forgot my glasses at home and I didn’t think it would be a big deal it was. I get to the court and I couldn’t see the sign that said ‘no cellphones’ and so when I had to place my items in the bin the officer was a complete jerk. He was telling me if I saw the sign and I responded ‘no sir’ he laughed and proceeded by saying ‘you think we just put these signs up for fun’. I was a bit thrown off and proceeded to put my phone in a locker that they had available. At first, I began to think this was just a rules thing and just how he told me he would tell any other person who walked in. Minutes later as I was approaching the window a white man came in wearing basketball shorts, sandals, and a worn out shirt. The metal detector went off and I looked back and said to myself ‘ok let’s see what happens here’ the officer told the man ‘it’s ok sir just go on in, your fine’. I began to grow angry, I could not believe that he let that man go in like that, I had to stay calm. A minute later a woman comes in-also white. She is wearing professional clothes and heels, and according to the ‘rules’ if you are wearing heels you have to take them off. I could hear the lady saying ‘I refuse to take my shoes off’ and the officer replies ‘ok mam it’s fine go right ahead’. At that moment my face was red and my teeth were clenched to each other and my fist began to ball up. I realized this wasn’t a rules thing, it was a race thing. And this made me believe that no matter where you go, you will always find this kind of behavior and as much as time passes racism will never fully go away. Thankfully I headed back to the office and I talked it over with one of the head attorneys and he was able to hear me out and make me feel better. I walk with a target on my head but these experiences only help that target to be harder to hit.

One thought on “Mexican and Proud! #3

  • August 17, 2018 at 10:02 am

    Hi Osvaldo,

    Thank you for providing this thoughtful entry on your internship experience. While it certainly has not been a walk in the park, it does sound like you are learning a lot about professional life!

    I want to thank you for sharing about your experience. I’m sure having to handle all of this is very hard on you while you are trying to focus on your experience professionally as well. I can not state that I understand what you are going through but if there are any resources that we can provide for you please let us know. We want to make sure you are getting the most out of your experience and let you know that there are people who care about you!

    I found your reflections on the moments of clarity you had around your identity to be very powerful! It can be really exhausting and intimidating to be under the constant pressure to remember who you are ethnically, as I am sure there is much more to you than just that. While I am glad to hear that your organization was available to address some of this issues with I still want to encourage you to reflect on what your needs are as it relates to these identities you’ve mentioned. Who are the individuals in your organization that can provide you with guidance and advocacy in this area? And is there someone who has experienced something similar that you can reach out to and unpack some of these moments with?

    I am excited to hear about your experience as it continues as a Law Clerk! If there is anything we can do for you to make your experience better please reach out, we want to make sure you get the most out of this professionally while also growing individually!



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