OUR Country ‘tis of Thee

March 12, 2009

OK, now, I hesitated as to whether or not to record this moment in my lil blogerino, as I know it might come off as peacock-esque, but Hell, this is an important issue and for students of mine who are now reading this (Hello, my little chickens!), I am hoping you find a lesson in here…or at least that you smile picturing your feisty prof in this scene!

Yay!! I may be only 5’7” but right now I am feelin’ 7 feet tall!! This afternoon I was at city hall and the line seemed fricken interminable. I was passing the time making faces at an adorable little girl in pigtails who was darting in and around her father’s legs when suddenly I heard a woman behind me in line unleashing a tirade of insults.

I turned to see an old white woman lighting into a petite latina lady, all curled in on herself, eyes averted. The white woman wagged a furious finger in the latina’s face, berating her. “It’s your fault,” she snapped, “you and all those people like you,” she gestured around the room. “You need to stay in your own country! All of you, walking across the border, taking all of our jobs! Go back where you belong!”

“Stop it,” I said, index finger at attention, “Stop. How dare you speak to her like that. She has every right to be in this country. Leave her alone.”

“Oh!” cried the old bat, delighted to get a rise out of someone, “And who are you to tell me what I can and cannot do?”

“We are a nation of immigrants,” I said, “Lay off her, leave her alone. You got it?” I smiled.

“Oh! and look at her! She smiles at me now?!” she spat.

“Yeah, I do,” I nodded, “And do you know why? Because your yelling doesn’t affect me.” And then, for the second time in a week, I correctly spotted an accent. “Madame,” I met her eyes squarely, “vous aussi, vous êtes immigrante.” I continued in French, “You have also found a home in this country. Now, leave her alone.”

Her eyes grew wide, then clenched tight with indignation, “How dare you!” she scowled.

“Laisse faire,” I said, “Drop it.”

The sweet little Hispanic lady smiled at me, then mouthed a timid, “Thank you.”

“Bienvenido a los Estados Unidos,” I smiled back. I raised an eyebrow at the old French meanie, and she moved to another line. 

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One Response to “OUR Country ‘tis of Thee”

  1. Eric Says:

    Great — a bigot and a hypocrite all rolled into one.


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