January 21, 2009

The view from Mexico

I asked Carmen to stop working and watch the Inauguration of Barack H. Obama as 44th President of the United States.
This is what she noted. The crowds were huge. For the first time, to her, they looked a lot like America. Look at all the blacks, she said. Negros in Spanish. Look at all the young people. Joven.
Look at all the old people, viejitos.
But she did note that only the top has changed in color. Most of the cabinet, she knows, is still white, like most of America.
As she listened to the Inaugural address, she commented on Obama's intelligence. "If he is using a teleprompter, he is not using it much. He knows what he is going to say," Carmen said. She gulped a few times when Obama dealt the truth, things I have been trying to impress upon her, such as the financial crisis isn't going to end any day soon.
And it's cold! Look at his breath freeze!, she said. Those hundreds of thousands must be cold!
"He isn't black. He isn't white," she said. A mestizo, negrito - a little bit black. He almost looks like a Mexican," she said. I said his grandparents raised him in Hawaii. She said, then he knows a better climate does not assure a better life.
We didn't talk about the issues of illegal immigrants. I already know she disapproves of them. But when they address ended, she looked at me and said, "Muy bien!" And she said she likes our Inaugurations. The speach was short! she noted. That would never happen in Mexico.

1 comment:

Island Nana said...

I watched the inauguration with a group of friends here on the colder island; some brought yummy brunchy things, I brought the Kleenex. Being the oldest in the group and the only one to have "marched", it was a very special day for me - a little old white lady - and a special day for the USA. Now we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start rebuilding!