Woke

I woke. Other than the dark hair, the pale-skinned family with fine facial features and slim bodies looked nothing like the people I was encountering in the neighborhood.

I love Mexico

On a street in Mexico, I leaned against the tailgate of my car outside the grocery market, waiting for ED to finish the shopping. The rhythm of Spanish and the smell of the sea air provided a calming backdrop for this vacation vignette.

We have visited Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point), Mexico, regularly over the past 25+ years. Located on the north-east coast of the Sea of Cortés (Gulf of California), it offers magnificent views, miles of sandy beaches, fresh shellfish, and fascinating tidepools. The town itself has evolved from a poor fishing village to a bustling tourist destination with beautiful resorts and is in preparations to accept cruise ships.

The Mexican culture and friendly people provide not only the perfect setting for short get-aways but have softened my already mushy liberal heart to the plight of people who struggle simply because of the particulars of their birth.

2020 take away

2020 exploded with information bringing to awareness the systemic racism in our society. Plus, sexism, classism, ableism, homophobia, xenophobia and ageism. We humans like our scapegoats. Reading and discussions educated me to the inescapable presence of prejudice.

A growing awareness that I had not escaped the racist indoctrination of the ‘50s revealed that racism doesn’t always involve hate. Unexpected thoughts surprise me, forcing my conscious brain to take note. The thoughts aren’t wicked. More along the line of: Isn’t it great that that black man is a doctor?

But these thoughts were far from my mind as I relaxed in my surroundings in Mexico.

And then. . .

. . . my eyes were drawn to the billboard reigning over the department store across the street.

I woke. Other than the dark hair, the pale-skinned family with fine facial features and slim bodies looked nothing like the people I was encountering in the neighborhood.   

Whom is the billboard targeting? That it might downplay the characteristics that make Mexicans Mexican and feed the desire of the locals to be more American made me uneasy and disappointed. Racism is pervasive throughout the world. There is no escape.

Being hot, tired, hungry and on vacation, I snapped a photo with a mental note to revisit the issue later. We headed toward a local patio to enjoy a drink and the magnificent view.

A glass of sangria with chips and guacamole did not dissolve my uneasiness. I don’t expect it to ever resolve.