Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mexican Hispanic Critique

The chart in this piece can be found on page 27 in the book Latinos Remaking America. As a young Mexican Latina from the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) in McAllen, TX these numbers are not surprising. Most of the Hispanic population in the RGV is Mexican. Even though an amount of illegal Mexican Immigrants live in the U.S. and do not complete census surveys (deportation issues) the chart numbers are fairly accurate and can be seen in a sample of Mexican Hispanics of the RGV.

It is accurate to say, by observing the neighborhood, that the majority of Mexican Hispanics do not graduate high school (50.3%). The percentage of high school graduates who go to college is less (49.7%), and the percentage of Mexican Hispanics with a college degree is even less (7.1%).

Socially, the percentage of male Mexican Hispanics who are in the workforce is higher than the women because the women are at home tending their children, cleaning the house, and watching Univision. Sstay at home Mexican Hispanic women can also watch a variety of other shows. Example, in the section of the RGV where I lived in, the majority of the households received Mexican television.

Also, a large percentage of female Mexican Hispanics conceive in their late teens-early 20s. Since, more men than woman work men have higher earnings per year. Also, the average Mexican Hispanic household makes about 1,500 a month which is under the poverty line.

Culturally, Mexicans and Mexican Hispanics are known for having strong family ties. Perhaps because the average Mexican and Mexican Hispanic family is large (higher than six members in the immediate family). In the RGV, the trend of single parent families is high. The majority of families being single mother families. Different than the chart. The chart reads that 69.9% of the Mexican Hispanic families are two parent (married couple), single mother families make up 21.3% (female-headed), and single father families make up 8.7% (male-headed). Overall the numbers aren't too disappointing as the Puerto Rican Hispanics have a higher unemployment rate of 7.3% in comparison to 7.0%.

(Alternative title: hitting the entire Mexican Hispanic population with a 3x4)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

L. O. V. E.

We were standing in the kitchen of my apartment. It was dark outside but the white curtain with a butterfly clipped to it kept the night out. He stood there and looked into my eyes. He had finished packing his Volvo to the brim with prints, photo equipment, and everything he owned except for a couple of DVDs he lent me and two of his pillows that reside on my bed.

I was facing the door and he was looking at me, his light brown eyes ready to cry. I couldn't look at him anymore and we soon hugged. He didn't back away as I lay my head on his shoulder. We only hugged each other very tight, tighter almost trying to mold our bodies together as your feelings for each other have grown mutual by now.

Seconds later I began to fear that he would stop hugging me and prepared myself for the parting of arms, shoulders, and heads. But, no he wasn't quite ready for it. Neither was I. I started to cry.

"So," I say trying to say something to break the silence. "It's only fair to ask," I continue, "do you ever regret meeting me?"

The tears streamed and I rubbed a couple on his shoulder and RIT Photography long sleeve t-shirt. I had every right to ask since he had asked me a couple of days before the very same question over breakfast.

"Of course not," he said. As if he could shake away the insecure notion I felt inside with his voice. With his smile. He looked at me, took my hands and made plans for when he would be back.

"Start a long relationship of working together." He said referring to him and I matching my poems to his photos. I shook my head.

"I can't promise that." I paused, "I'm a different person since I met you. I just can't promise." Involuntarily we hugged again.

"I love you." He said and kissed me. I was too paralyzed with my response but kissed him back. He moved his lips from mine and went around my cheek planting assuring kisses and I maneuvered my way to kiss his neck.

We made our way to the living room. He was trying to stall leaving and the familiar awkwardness of him leaving my apartment when we both wanted him to stay fell in place. In my stomach I had this sick twisted feeling. Instead of all emotions cradling in my heart threatening to sob away they collect in the pit of my stomach and drown numb. At the door we hugged again.

"I'll visit you when I get back" He said. The feeling in my stomach increased and I wished in for him to never come back. That when I earned enough money I'd mail him his stuff.

I had promised myself to not write about him. I thought that I'd use my constant forgetfulness and worries about my last year at RIT to forget him and bury him with the other people I have loved. I vaguely remember what I did till now. I started editing my poetry again today.

I remembered the reason why my writing was unreadable at first. The first poem I ever wrote was in elemantary and the whole class was competing to have our poems published. It was around Halloween and somehow everyone was writing Halloween poems. Except for the boy I liked. His name was Alex and he wrote about frogs in bogs. His got selected and not mine.

Afterward my poems had a muse. My first poems were about my crush for him. My later poems found different muses from fathers who abandoned their children to mothers to 8th grade science teachers and all the men and women I have ever loved.

After remembering that my poetry has a muse I had to write the last piece for Jordan. Or at least the last piece about love and Jordan. Because, I believe that every emotion, image, circumstance has a word associated with it. Which is also why I love words so much more than paintings or photographs. Especially love. No matter how many images of hearts or holding hands try do depict love the one word to say it all is four letters long:

L O V E

I'll leave a poem about love to reinforce the four letter curse/miracle:

"A Word"

words cannot describe
all my love completely.
but, a few words can describe
simple feelings in this world.
if I'm near you,
'happy' will be written down.
if you are faraway,
'sad' will be written.
but since we know
that we are for each other
'love' will be written
and remembered forever.