August 18, 2010

Reading the newspapers online is a daily ritual for many of us. Merida resident Marianne K. is among them. Today she read an article on social assistance programs headed by  a Chicago area church. 

Impressed with the conscientious efforts being made, she went on to read the comments posted after the enlightening article. Most of the 77 could only be called hateful.

Marianne could not let that stand and wrote  a response to the Daily Herald:

From: Marianne K.

Date: August 17, 2010 12:15:10 PM CDT


Subject: Tolerance

I write from the perspective of a U.S. citizen now living full-time in Mexico.  Many of the online comments about non-European arrivals to our country show a total lack of understanding.  I would like to ask these critics if they are fluent in another language.  With unlimited time and funds, and past education including a doctorate, I’ve been studying Spanish for three years and still struggle to understand and be understood. 

I’m a legal resident of Mexico, and I so appreciated that the Mexican consulate in Chicago had English-speaking employees eager to help me.  Is it so bad to deny linguistic aid, and reasonable criteria, to those wishing to live in the U.S.?

My own grandfather was an illegal immigrant to the United States, and his child, my father, became a citizen by right of birth. (Yes, “dropped”.) He received a free education and all the benefits this country has to offer.  How soon some of us forget how we arrived at our citizenship.  

As a resident of Mexico, I’m entitled to be part of their almost free, and excellent, health care system.  As a senior over age 60, I have a card that entitles me to free access to all museums and archeological sites in the country, and half-price tickets for buses, planes, and events like the symphony.  If I had young children, they would have access to a free education and health care.  I didn’t earn these privileges and, even better, Mexican citizens don’t castigate me for using them. 

By pulling the plank from under people striving to attain what you possess through accident of birth, you wear the label of Ugly American. 

Marianne K.

Merida, Yucatan, Mexico (formerly Glen Ellyn)

This is what I call “the power of the pen” (or the keyboard) Allowing these extremists to dominate the message boards and community columns is like letting an attack dog off his leash. Let’s try to follow Marianne’s example and counter this insane behaviour with well balanced comentary of our own.

*** Images are from Google Images


Filed under Vida Latina

2 responses to “Tolerance

  1. Mary Moore

    The Daily Article was encouraging to read, but the comments which followed it were pretty horrifying. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Joanna. And congratulations and thanks to Marianne for her thoughtful, eloquent comment to counter all that spewed venom.

    • Thanks Mary. When Marianne sent me the link, I could not believe what I was reading. Following her example, I will certainly counter this kind of opinion if I see it expressed on sites I regularly read.

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