The other day, I wrote a post regarding this sign near the Mexican food trailers. For those of us, who pray that the nationalist, xenophobic ideology of Trump does not win the day, this picture is a sign of encouragement. Why?
It’s an act of resistance:
- The originator of the sign is exercising a sense of humor. There is often no better way to get people to see their own shortcomings than to offer humor to point out the irony of a situation. He or she is refusing to let the idea of the wall go without comment. They are using humor to make their point.
- He or she is displaying creativity. They are refusing to be dehumanized. I enjoyed seeing the Palestinians using the separation wall as an art board. It was fun to see the creativity and artistry that resulted.
- He or she is challenging the common generalization, which asserts that Mexicans are living in our country to soak up all the government benefits, while taking away our jobs. This person is pointing out that this is not a parasitic relationship, but rather, a symbiotic one. After all, the food they are creating is good. People are coming because they like it. They are contributing to the culture and economy of the region. The Mexican food wagon appears to be almost as busy as the store at the truck stop across the street.
- They are resisting accepting the identity of victim-hood. They are using their skills and creativity to create a very good food. They are refusing to cower under threat, but, rather, are building a business.
- He or she is refusing to let Trump and the media monopolize the conversation about the wall. He or she is making their own platform of communication to address the situation to a larger audience.
Walls can be very destructive. I lived for a while in the context of a separation wall—Palestine. If that situation is any measure, here is a scenario for what could happen, should the US build a wall on its southern border.
- First and foremost, it would further deceive those, who live on the privileged side, i.e., the US, to believe that they can now afford to choose to look away and pretend that the lives of those on the other side, no longer exist. Believing that they have sufficiently insulated themselves, they would choose not to care about events or lives on the other side. Having the choice to look away and ignore is the benefit only of the privileged.
- Because of the physical barrier and the psychological barrier mentioned above, the amount of personal interaction between Mexicans and US residents would significantly decrease. This dissociation with the other would increase with each successive generation.
- The increasing unfamiliarity with each other would allow dehumanization of the “other” to grow.
- After a while, many from the US might become convinced that all the Mexicans incited trouble. They might begin to believe that most Mexicans, even children, hated us and intended acts of violence against us. They may project ill intentions, such as smuggling drugs or arms across the border, on to any or every Mexican they encounter. Probably an increasing number from the US would be convinced that it was too dangerous to travel or vacation in Mexico.
- On the other hand, many Mexicans may come to believe that most US residents despised them and cared little for the value of their lives. They may become suspicious of any political or economic interaction between the two countries, believing that the US was trying to control or manipulate the policies and economy of Mexico, to gain further advantage for US interests.
It would be easy, under the scenario outlined above, for any Mexican to define his or her life by victim-hood. That is why I enjoyed seeing the sign so much. Here, apparently, is at least one Mexican, that is not.