My mother has an accent.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, my mother learned English in school, but the accent stayed with her, even when she moved off the island to Michigan in 1963.
It remains with her to this day. What's so funny about it is that as her son, I never realized my mother ever had an accent until I was well into my 20s. Other people would remark about her accent, but I never noticed it- it was normal to me.
I grew up in a household where English and Spanish was spoken. Several of my mother's relatives moved to Michigan after she did, including 2 uncles and mi abuela, my grandmother. I learned Spanish by hearing my relatives speak to one another.
I'm very proud of my Puerto Rican heritage in addition to my African American heritage. I also consider myself lucky to have been raised in a bilingual household, where I heard two languages being freely spoken.
When I think about the current mess concerning the new immigration law in Arizona, I have to wonder how comfortable my Spanish-speaking relatives would feel down there. Something tells me they would not feel welcome.
In the aftermath of this law, many conservatives have defended it saying that something had to be done. While I agree that something does need to be done to deal with immigration and border security, the law in Arizona was the wrong way to do it. The law is discriminatory towards Latinos and regardless of whether that was intentional or not, it will have the affect of driving Latinos away from the Republican Party.
Why you say? Well, because the law as is written, could allow the police to stop anyone who might look like an illegal immigrant. Since most illegal immigrants in Arizona tend to be Mexican and speak Spanish, I have the feeling that there will be a lot of stops made because someone was "DWH" or "Driving While Hispanic."
Some say the answer to this law is that legal residents should just carry their papers. So, someone who might be born here and raised here, has to keep proof of citizenship on their person at all times because their name happens to be something like "Sanchez" while the guy named "Johnson" can just move along with no id at all? How in the world is that fair?
What has bothered me is how many Republicans have not bothered to even think how this would affect Hispanic Americans and their views of the GOP. It doesn't matter if the intent was to curb illegal immigration, it looks like conservatives have it out for any who has a "funny" last name or talks with an accent.
The passage of this bill has damaged the perception of the GOP in the minds of millions of Hispanic Americans. This law has basically told the fastest growing minority in America that they are not to be trusted. They will respond by not voting Republican.
As someone who is part Hispanic, this law offends me. I am ashamed today to call myself a conservative.