My mother one day asked me, "Would you ever work for the Border Patrol?"
My father looked at me to gauge my reaction. The irony burned. Both my parents had been illegal immigrants when they came to the U.S., my father at nineteen, and my mother at twelve.
I politely told my mother, "You must be crazy." There were no hard feelings, and my entire family laughed the incident off.
Though, this brings up the question of identity for myself. I'm more American than Mexican, only having visited Mexico for an annual Christmas reunion, but I do not look any more American.
Growing up in Santa Monica, going to school was difficult because I was not Mexican enough to be Chicano, and thus unable to hang out with the local chollos, but not white enough to be with the popular kids. I was a round peg in between a square and triangle hole. Nothing seemed to fit.
I'm not going to argue that was a bitter racism here, but rather, a demarcation among society. Being Mexican in Southern California is nothing special. If anything it's a negative quality because Latino's serve as the working class of California. They're the cooks, the busboys, and the janitors. So when asked who am I, I try to emphasize I'm American because I can't pass for Mexican. I still have a thick accent in Spanish, and have few traces of Machista culture running through me. I'm as American as they come, I love Coca-Cola, I drive an old Mustang Car, and dream of my fifteen minutes of fame. Though when people try to identify themselves they try to file everyone in a folder, they cling to stereotypes as a safety net. He is African-American, he is a surfer, and when they look at me say, "he is Mexican".
It's difficult when people still value white as supreme. Beauty stars are pale, and light. The top executives look at a name as Zuniga and think, "foreign, lower class". When people read my work they expect a cultural aspect. Though if anything, as a screen writer, my creative work is about youth in America, that old teenage ideal of not being different. It's about trying to find the right place to fit in, when everyone says you're not one of us.
I always remember a line in the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's" when Audrey Hepburn's character announces "I don't want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together. When that happens, I'll buy some furniture and give the cat a name." I think that the problem with the world today is that so many people feel that they don't belong. They try and find ways to solve this through travel or education. But in order to settle, to add value to their lives and find enriching employment, they need to find "a place where me and things go together." An online environment like VERCIDA. that unites diverse human beings sounds like the perfect place for that.
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