All To Be Called American

Three generations before I was born

Assimilate and become part of this country my forefathers declared

Parents conformed and gave us names more American

Now I am Johnny, Juan no more

Juan only at home, behind closed doors.

Juan only when I am in trouble and about to get the chancla.

English speaking schools, English only at home

Banned by schools, forbidden by parents

American you are and American you will be they said

Speak English they said

On forms I sign, my race is white, no race for being Brown

I’m told my ethnicity is Hispanic, sometimes Latino

Some of the old “G’s” say I am Chicano raising their proud brown fists

But I did not struggle to cross a border

No wet shirt on my back

Yet, I’m scorned, laughed at, and ridiculed

Always pushed back down as I try to move ahead in corporate America

To most, I am an immigrant

A burden to the system.

To them I am illiterate

I am an illegal

A disgrace to this country

Yet, I take jobs nobody wants

I work hard to pay my bills

I do what I must to feed my children and show them a better way

All in honor of my ancestors who fought and died in wars

Wars fought for the love of Old Glory

The land of the free, home of the brave is what they believed in

My forefathers died to keep this country free

Yet, I am still blamed for taking jobs away from those that need them

I am blamed for corruption, crime, and the narcotics they inhale

But they are the drug lord’s best friend

You find them with their white powered noses, smoke-filled lungs and minds clouded with waves of Purple Haze

You find them with their interns kneeling before them, dressed in passionate shades of red lipstick

Arrest them, deport them, they scream in cries of ecstasy

With their hands full of hair, they thrust away dictating the next set of laws against me

I am the reason they struggle, I am the reason there is not enough welfare

Ha! There the ones responsible for bleeding the system dry

There are more Mexican Americans like me than them, born free in this country

My forefathers worked hard building this country

They taught me to work hard and fight for what I believe in

Never compromise my values

Never beg for what is rightfully mine

Better to die standing than a slave on my knees is what I was told

There was no welfare, no handouts, and no free lunches for me

My parents worked two jobs, my family was rarely together

But there was always food on the table and a roof over my head

Many a night I saw the look of pain and worry as my parents decided what to do

Get an education they told me, work hard, and succeed they said as they walked out the door

Left behind to watch my younger brother and sister, cooking, cleaning, and doing homework was my responsibility they said

I was not born with a magic silver spoon in my hand

I won no scholarships to go to school

School loans were my only option as I watched them mount higher and higher

Now a degree but no job for me to pay back what I owe

Third generation born I am

American I am

Yet I am still not called American

I am the Latino, Hispanic, or Mexican writer Johnny

But never, never am I called the American writer Juan.

Mexican American you are is what they say

But why can I not be American of Mexican descent?

What does it take?

What must I do to be accepted?

Fighting for freedom,  shipping off to foreign shores

Just like the Mexican Americans that patrol the streets of our cities

Mexican Americans keeping this country safe as they have always done

Mexican Americans keeping Mexican Americans behind bars

Mexican Americans enforcing laws fighting to keep us free

All to be called American

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s