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Issues With Immigration: Andrea Luna, Centerspread Issue 5 Continuation

Samantha Knowles, Reporter

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This story is the extended version of the center spread story run in the fifth issue of The Edge Newspaper.


Freshman Orientation, 2014. Andrea Luna was sitting in the auditorium seats amongst the other freshmen-to-be, when she heard a voice from behind her.

“I [expletive] hate Mexicans.”

Next, a shushing sound. She turns to watch through her peripherals.

One of the boys sitting behind her taps the other on the shoulder before they both look directly at her, and freeze.

Later, at her house, Andrea’s anger resurfaces as she considers her options. Her dad had told her about his experiences with racist schoolmates, and Andrea definitely didn’t want to go through that herself.

“I was just a little frustrated because I was trying to make the decision about whether or not I wanted to move here into this school, and it made me super discouraged and not want to come,” Andrea said. “Growing up, I moved around, but it’s always been to schools where there’s a lot of hispanics. This was like the first time when I’d ever been in a school that didn’t have that.”

Now, in 2017, things are slowly looking up, but when it comes to relations with their non-minority classmates, things are as unjust as ever for minority students.

Following the election of President Trump, many younger people inferred that it was okay to say the same kind of offensive things that the President said in speeches. Those kinds of inferences prove disagreeable to minority students like Andrea, who face the repercussions of people in power’s words every day.

“I think that neither one of the candidates were ideal,” Andrea said. “I don’t like Hillary or Trump, but ultimately, he is our president, and I do respect him, but I don’t agree with a lot of his ideas.

“And I think that there’s a lot of people who may not necessarily agree with all of his ideas,” Andrea said. “But when they’re making the decision of what party to identify with, more of their values are found in the Republican Party, and that’s why they voted for Trump.”

However, identifying with a party and genuinely believing in its cause are two very different things.

“For me personally, especially being in an area like this, a lot of the things I’ve heard have not come from a standpoint that says, ‘This is what’s gonna be best for the nation. It’s come from a place of, ‘This is what I heard at home, this is what I think is gonna make me sound like I know what’s going on in the world, let me just say something.’”

When a person with as much power as the President says things with a racist undertone, it sets a  bad example for younger people who copy the people they look up to.

“And a lot of those times those things are hateful, a lot of the time it’s prejudiced,” Andrea said. “It has those things as undertones a lot of the time as well. But people usually do a really great job of saying, ‘Well, it’s not really racist if it’s phrased this way… and I’m like, okay, but we knew the intent. And Donald Trump has definitely gained a lot of success during the campaigning process by saying, “It’s not racist if I phrased it this way.” And that’s how he got a lot of people to stand behind him. Because he was able to say racist things without saying ‘I am racist,’ other people started to feel the same way.”

Despite the steps being taken every day to better include minorities in America, minority student’s struggles with stubborn and unempathetic classmates are far from over.

“Although I’m not an illegal immigrant, when I hear people hating on people who are just trying to better things for themselves, it kind of makes me angry,” Andrea said. “There’s crime in America with or without illegal immigrants, and a large amount of them have come from really bad situations in their country.”

Hearing things that put all immigrants into a bad light without stopping and specifying which ones are the problem can really affect people like Andrea, who has many friends who are legal immigrants, but get roped into the ‘bad immigrant’ stereotype.

“There’s always some kind of Mexican joke, pretty much every day,” Andrea said. “Like if I offer to clean something for someone, they say, ‘‘Cause you’re Mexican?’ and I’m like, ‘No, ‘cause I’m a nice person!’”

In addition to those kinds of comments, Andrea also faces race-based issues in situations that should just work out normally for her.

“It actually just happened to me the other day,” Andrea said. “There was this one guy not to long ago, and dating is always just kind of hard, but there was this one guy who posted on his [Snapchat] story about how there’s too many illegal immigrants, and how they’re just coming here to do bad stuff, and Trump needs to put the wall up, and stuff like that.

“And I was like, ‘Well, you know I’m Mexican, right?’ because he had been trying to talk to me, and go out with me,” Andrea said. “And he said, ‘Yeah, but you’re beautiful.’ And I thought, ‘Oh. That’s messed up.’”

Unfortunately, incidents with single-minded classmates are more common than you might expect in this day and age.

“I can’t really describe this any other way than just frustrating,” Andrea said. “I just kind of want to sit everybody down and talk to them, and tell them, ‘You have not been exposed to things like this, so how would you know? You’re talking about things you’ve never experienced. You’re trying to argue your side in an argument when you’ve never been in the other person’s shoes.’”

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Issues With Immigration: Andrea Luna, Centerspread Issue 5 Continuation