Part I: The Interview
My Grandma was born number seven into her family on May 15, 1935, in Teocaltiche Jalisco, Mexico. Her parents were restaurant owners and also worked fruit stands. As a child, her friends were both Hispanic and White; there were no real social boundaries at that time of age. Even now, in her later years as an adult, she has never really experienced racial discrimination or any form of discrimination in general. She was raised speaking Spanish, since that was her parents’ language. Some of her favorite music is ranchera, and she only listens to Spanish music. When she was sixteen she met my Grandpa, age twenty one, at her parents’ aforementioned restaurant, and they dated ten months before they got married. Soon afterwards, they began to have children of their own; my mother included. One thing she remembers affectionately about her community was that the families were very united. They always had huge gatherings, and everybody was welcome.
In 1982, my Grandma decided to come to the United States, la Estados Unidos, for a better life for both her and her family. At first she was nervous, but later she decided that she was happy to learn a new culture and experience all the new opportunities she and her family would have here. When she first got to the U.S., she worked in fields picking anything from apples to strawberries, apricots, and walnuts. She nor her family were ever really involved with the United Farm Workers, though. Since coming to the U.S., she enjoys the weather in California the most, along with opportunities and a close-knit family. Her least favorite thing is all the earthquakes, and she believes that moving to America didn’t change her much, it experience simply gave her a better understanding for things since she learned a lot from the culture and heritage here in the U.S. When she was younger, she never thought about culture and its necessity in a community, but if you were to ask her about it today she would tell you about how she firmly believes that it is extremely important to pass culture down to your family because of its vitality to continue traditions. She never really felt discriminated against in the U.S., although she did have an incident in which she was with one of her daughters, my mother, shopping for a wedding dress in a shop; she asked the American salesman for help, but he simply ignored her as if she wasn’t even there. She told me about how this made her feel as if she did not exist, and stands as one of the few times my Grandma has felt racially discriminated against. Another upset is the fact that she had more trouble getting a job due to the fact that she is female rather than the fact that she’s Mexican American. She has been discriminated in terms of sex; being put after men in the work area. Yet, after being in the U.S. for over thirty years, she doesn’t look down on being a Mexican American, she sees it as an advantage; she is content with the fact that she has dual citizenship.
One piece of advice my Grandma has toward anybody coming to the U.S. is that they should come legally, because they will have so many more opportunities and they will be able to excel and accomplish bigger and better things. When my grandma moved to the U.S., she had some of the most drastic changes in lifestyle in that her finances and life were both different; but not in a bad way. She has managed to achieve some of the goals she had set out for herself, but her biggest accomplishment was being able to…