I grew up in “The Valley” of Southern California; as a child I didn’t know much about prejudice…..like most kids we learn from our parents and in some cases we learn from friends or the streets…..and in this case I learned what you are about to read from the “streets” aka my neighborhood, I kinda knew right from wrong but at the age of 6 I still hadn’t learned the consequences of “think before you speak”……I’m still having a hard time with that one, but I’m learning.
I remember making my mother furious one afternoon. I was outside swimming in the spa when my mother told me that I had to get out because my father was bringing some people by to work on the yard. I knew exactly what she meant by “some people”. See my father would go down to San Franando road and pick up a few Hispanics that were looking for work, he would do this ever so often when he had some major things to do in the yard………………….I was mad because my spa time was being interrupted and you don’t ever want to bother a 6yr old girl who was having a grand time with her Barbies. Well, I told my mom that I wasn’t getting out and of course we went back and forth until she pulled the “I’m going to get your father” card, that’s when I said “Why don’t they just go back where they came from!” my mothers faced turned stone cold “what did you say?” she was now pulling me out of the water, “I SAID they should go back to where they came from” meanwhile trying to grab all my barbies… “well then that means your grandmother and I would have to go and you will be without family” …..confused I said “you and grandma aren’t MEXICAN MEXICAN we are mixed!! They are dirty”…..(now before I upset anyone, this was when I was 6, I know better now). My mother glared at me, she proceeded to tell me that she wasn’t going to talk to me and I was to answer to my father. She ignored me for a week….no joke.
Instead of pulling me to the side and explaining prejudice to me, she ignored me……this was just a glimpse of how my mother handled things….but that’s another story. As an adult I am more aware of prejudices especially in the field that I work. It bothers me and in some cases if I am out and about I will speak up if I hear someone speak ill towards another. Today I was left irritated and dumbfounded by a phone call I received requesting a list of Medicaid doctors from the person on the other end of the phone. I told the man that I didn’t have a list but all he would need to do was go online or look through a phonebook. I did try to give him a number of a clinic that I knew accepted Medicaid and his response was “I don’t want those camel jockeys touching me”….silence….if there ever was a time to hold my tongue and think before I spoke, this was it. I took a deep breath and said “excuse me sir that wasn’t very nice, that clinic has very professional physicians that tend to Medicaid patients like yourself and as you may know there aren’t many doctors offices that accept Medicaid in this area”……next thing I heard was …..click…..
After venting to a co-worker her reply was “it’s the backwoods type of thinking ,you will get that a lot here”