Monthly Archives: May 2010

What’s in a name?

So throughout my pregnancy my husband and I have gone through a number of name discussions. We had our girl’s name picked out almost immediately. The boy’s name was much harder. Of course, due to our difficulty in agreeing on a name, we were not surprised when the ultrasound tech told us we were having a boy. Well, actually she sealed it in an envelope and we “discussed” opening it (I persuaded, he determinedly refused) for three weeks until he finally gave in. We have since agreed on a name for our little boy… a first name that is…

Baby boy at 20 weeks

Our Minnesota and Mexico mixing lead us down another path of name discussion. When we got married, I kept my traditional Scandinavian last name with the -son. I am in real estate where name recognition is a large part of business so I decided to take the “easy route” and not change. However, there is no doubt in my mind that any children of ours would have my husband’s family name and rock the “z” (the Mexican equivalent of -son, Lopez, Hernandez, Vasquez, Dominguez, similar to Johnson, Anderson, Peterson). I never thought this would lead to any sort of discussion or argument until he told me one day that the baby would be have my last name. I was surprised and even more surprised when I realized he was completely serious and determined.

Up until three weeks ago I was adamant about the baby taking my husband’s name and would not even consider any other idea on grounds of being so untraditional. When we both want to focus on the positive of being bicultural and teach him to be proud of his Mexican heritage, not giving him his father’s name seems very contradictory to that message. However, the legislation in Arizona that the governor signed into law on April 23rd, made me see his side of the argument for the first time.

Known as SB1070, the law gives Arizona police the right to question anyone who “appears to be illegal” and require them to prove legal status on the spot. Legal residents are required to carry their green cards at all times or face 6 months in jail and/or a $2500 fine if they are caught without one. Of course, that is after the person has been detained until they have proved their status. Now, my husband was told by our attorney to always carry his green card so I don’t really see that as a big issue. What upsets me is that we could be on vacation in Arizona and he decides to run across the street from our hotel and pick up a pop and snack so just grabs a few bucks and leaves his wallet behind. Meanwhile a crabby cop is filling up his squad car and decides Mex looks suspicious and asks him to prove his status. Since he doesn’t have his green card he is now detained and fined and possibly jailed… All because of his cinnamon skin, black hair and accent.

I do agree that something needs to be done to solve the undocumented worker issue and the drug problems along the border. However, I do not believe the argument that there will be no racial profiling. When my parents, husband and I came back from El Paso we reached a border control checkpoint. The guard stopped us and asked us all for our status. My parents and I said we were citizens and Mex said he was a permanent resident. The border guard did not ask for any of our US passports but made Mex show his papers. Maybe this was because of his non-citizen status but I tend to believe it was due to the color of his skin versus ours. I hope that when he becomes a citizen we get in a similar situation so I can test my theory.

During week surrounding the controversial Arizona SB1070, there was also an uptick in news reports about hate crimes regarding Latinos. In March, there was a group of teenage Caucasians accused of beating and killing a man in New York on a night of “beaner hopping” as they called it. Also, there was a story with video of a Guatemalan man laying on a New York street bleeding. The video showed more than six people walking by and looking at him, one person even snapping pictures, with not a single one calling for help or checking to see if he was alive.

The idea of anyone looking at my husband and making assumptions about him based on the color of his skin or his accent gives me extreme pain. I know when he fills out his name on an application the person on the other end automatically knows his ethnicity and could possibly be making conclusions about his legal status. Laying in bed and watching the reports of hate crimes against Latinos and discussions of racial profiling, we are both saddened. Though the thought of my husband being judged and given a hard time because of his name or color, the idea of our child facing discrimination is unbearable to both of us. I finally see why he thinks it would be “better” for our child to be have my less controversial Scandinavian last name. Seeing his name on paper would conjure a different image with my name versus his. My husband has dealt with prejudice and bias based on his name for the last 15 years and he doesn’t want his son to be given a hard time or lose out on opportunities because if something we can control.

How do we choose? Can we have it both ways? Can we teach him to be proud of his name and heritage while still protecting him from prejudice and racial hatred? We will try by giving him a Scandinavian middle name and his father’s last name. Today is the 60th anniversary of the historic supreme court case of Brown vs. Board of Education that was supposed to end racial segregation in the US. The news report was showing inner city schools and the high percentage of minorities that attend them versus the more “white” suburban schools. It was an interesting story and opened my eyes more than ever before since both my husband and child will be minorities. It makes my heart hurt to think of the difference in how my husband and I are perceived and treated and I dread the first time I discover my son is treated unequally due to his race.


Leave a comment

Filed under Family, Minnesota vs. Mexico

Fiesta Mexicana – Red Wing

After a very stressful week at work, my husband and I decided to take a last-minute, pre-baby weekend trip south to Red Wing. At 9 months pregnant, all I wanted to do was turn my phone off, take a leisurely walk by the river then sprawl myself out on the king size bed, my puffy legs on top of a mound of pillows, flipping between the National Geographic Channel and Food Network.

On Saturday, night we decided to go out to Fiesta Americana Mexican Restaurant. Ugh, is all I can say about this place.  While the atmosphere was typical bright colors and murals, what I would call “cheesy” Mexican decor, and the staff was friendly (and Hispanic which we use as a gauge of a restaurants “authenticness”), the food was absolutely horrible. My husband ordered the fish tacos and I ordered a combination platter of green enchilada, tostada, and taco. The tortillas on his tacos literally dripped grease. It was as if someone dipped them in oil to fry them but then changed their mind and filled them with toppings instead.

My combo plate was buried under about 1/2 a head of lettuce and it was hard to tell where one started and the other left off. The tostada was so loaded with meat and toppings that the crispy tortilla base snapped when I tried to pick it up. I guess if there is a positive it would be that you get a LOT of food for your money on the combo plate. Luckily for my husband I couldn’t finish it so he was able to eat something. 

Fiesta Mexicana
2918 North Service Drive
Red Wing MN 55066
Rating:  Lots of food for cheap price,, BUT not always edible. DON’T get fish tacos. Would NOT go back.

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, Restaurant reviews

May 1st – Mexico vs. Minnesota

The first of May is a holiday for both Mex and I. Here in Minnesota, we celebrate May Day, or at least we used to. My mother’s parents met when my grandpa and a couple of his siblings (he had 17 of them)delivered May baskets to my grandma and her family, their new neighbors. May baskets were little baskets usually filled with flowers or treats of some kind. They were hung on a front door, and the person making the delivery would ring the bell and run. The person receiving the basket had to catch them and once they were caught, they had to deliver a kiss. I never asked my grandma if she actually caught my grandpa that day but she certainly caught his eye. Apparently this basket tradition is still around because my sister had two baskets delivered to her house on May Day by family friends. Nobody was caught and kissed though!

In Mexico, May 1st is International Worker’s Day or “Labor Day” where everyone has the day off and it is a common day for protests. This is actually a world-wide event celebrated in places like India, Sweden and Australia as well. Since 2006, the Immigrant community across the US, mainly Latino immigrants, have chosen May 1st as a day to lead rally’s for immigration reform. Mex and I were considering going to Saturday’s rally in Minneapolis but unfortunately, when I woke up my left foot looked like a swollen sausage and I could barely get a shoe on my foot. I did not know if it would be wise to squeeze into a shoe and then waddle for a mile or two at eight-and-a-half months pregnant. Thankfully the rally in Minnesota was peaceful and about 2000 people turned out to show support for immigrant rights. The rally was lead by a huge Mexican flag. For a while in 2007, I was attending meetings for an Immigrant rights group. I did raise the point at one meeting that if you were fighting to become a US citizen you should show pride in the US by carrying our countries flag and not your home country. It was not a well received point but it seemed to make sense to me.

Leave a comment

Filed under Holidays and Celebrations, Minnesota vs. Mexico