Sunday, July 3, 2011

What I love about this country

I decided to sit on the front porch for a bit this evening. Despite the heat, it was pleasant. That is, until a man and woman walked by and I overheard the conversation they were having. Here’s how it went...

HER: …You know, just because someone is speaking Spanish, that doesn’t mean they’re from Mexico. There are other countries they could be from.
HIM: Like what?
HER: Um… well… I can’t think of any others right now. But there are others.
HIM: You mean, like Spain? They speak Spanish in Spain, don't they?...

And on they continued down the street, beyond ear range.

I can only guess about what preceded and followed this snippet I heard. They had just passed a Latino family who were out in their yard lighting sparklers on the other end of the block. I assume the man and woman had been talking about them when the man referred to them as Mexicans. So, the woman had to set him straight. He had stereotyped them. "Well, good for her!" I thought. But no sooner had I mentally sent up a cheer for the woman than she let me down. She couldn’t think of a single country, besides Mexico, where people spoke Spanish. Seriously? After they moved along down the street, I wondered if they were ever able to come up with any countries, other than Spain. Like, how about the entire continent of South America? (With the exception of Brazil, of course.)

And this… on a Fourth of July weekend. It reminds me of what I love about this country. It’s the sweet land of liberty where a family of immigrants can gather in their front yard to celebrate an opportunity for a new life. It’s also a place where men and women are absolutely free to walk down the street and forget about entire continents of people in other parts of the world.

Happy Independence Day!

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