This Thanksgiving a friend from yoga who happens to be a Mexican national posted the following entry on his Facebook wall:
- Just a minute of reflection; I’m not an American citizen, but I’m a thankful to live here since 1999, this country has adopted my family and I, and I am profoundly thankful, U.S, opened its doors to us and we have been able to achieve the life we’ve wanted, our American Dream!!! Today’s is a holiday that everyone should celebrate, join family and close friends, be thankful for everything you have, starting with health, work & love….. Happy thanksgiving!!!
I was so impressed by his attitude that I shared it to my Facebook wall and added the following:
- Jose and his wife Maria Fernanda Gtz. Zamora are wonderful friends I met at Lifetime Fitness.
A few days later, I bumped into Jose at Lifetime Fitness. He told me that he appreciated my comments, and I told him that I appreciated his. During our conversation, he told me how one of his friends from Mexico in America has a completely different attitude; that she believes Americans look down on her. She has told him that they even call her a “Mexican national.”
As I was stumbling to digest the insight about “Mexican national,” Jose went on to say that this woman was here only for security reasons, but eventually wanted to return to Mexico. By contrast, Jose loved America and wanted to live here and manage his small business. In Jose’s mind, the term “Mexican national” described an exile who wants to return, not an immigrant.
Because I didn’t have the opportunity to explore this issue further with Jose, I put it off for a later discussion with several of my yoga classmates who are what I for years have been calling Mexican nationals.
I am very fond of these classmates and obviously the term will disappear from my vocabulary if it offends them. I had thought the term Mexican-American was reserved for citizens, but maybe not.
To be continued.