Do you remember the movie My Cousin Vinny from 1992 and the exchange between the main character, Vinny Gambini, and Judge Haller at the trial?
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Uh… did you say ‘yutes’?
Vinny Gambini: Yeah, two yutes.
Judge Chamberlain Haller: What is a yute?
Vinny Gambini: [sigh] Oh, excuse me, your honor… [exaggerated] Two YOUTHS.
Although Gamibini and Judge Haller were both American, one could say that they were immigrants from different countries, because people from New York and Alabama are so different based on distinction of accent or food preferences.
Now, everybody in this country may have an opinion on immigration. My take is that immigration makes life much more fun. Ask one of my good friends–who now lives in Georgia but met me in 2008 here in Jacksonville. She tells the story about how I re-wrote the English saying from “A wolf in sheep’s clothing” into “A wolf dressed like a sheep,” when I was describing somebody who seemed a good person but ended up showing his true colors.
I still remember her face trying to make sense out of my crazy statement and at the end she asked: “So this was a transvestite wolf?“
Besides friendship, immigration makes inter-cultural marriages–like my own–the most entertaining adventure to get into, or ask my husband. Almost every day, I say something that makes him giggle, whether it is because of the wrong pronunciation or its complete distorted meaning.
For example, still to this day, he tells the story of one of my work presentations before we started dating nine years ago. I was talking in front of 20 people–including him, about how to increase insurance sales by “focusing” on referrals from current clients.
According to him, I said (F word+us) instead of “focus.” That alone would explain his interest in dating me right?
But, the best one for me so far–I laughed at myself for three days in a row–was last week. We were driving somewhere and our four-year old son was in the back seat. We were listening to the news and they were talking about crime rising in some cities in America. Then, my husband commented about it and spelled the word G-U-N-S so my son couldn’t understand it. I looked at him and he spelled it again, yet my face didn’t show him that I was getting what he was spelling. Finally I asked him: “J-U-N-S? What the hell is a “Jun”?” He burst out laughing and finally I got it. “G” and “J” are letters, that still to this day, give me trouble. Darn it!
Thanks to Donald Trump, a GOP Presidential contender for the 2016 primary elections, immigration is now at the center of the national debate creating all sorts of reactions. I don’t want to be political, but this is getting on my nerves. I can tell you that, even though I am considered Latina–yet some people look at me and say, “She is white,” I never felt offended by the candidate’s remarks about illegal Mexicans simply because he spoke about Mexicans, not Colombians.
However, Mexican power brokers in the tel-communications and TV industries–who have their fingerprint on almost every country in Latin America–changed the speech and re-packaged Trump’s remarks into an offensive statement directed at “all” Hispanics. At this time all I can say is that, I don’t recall a Mexican uproar when the Colombian soccer players were pictured in a “meme” as drug addicts sniffing the white foam on the grass–the mark from the free shots–at the World Cup Brazil 2014.
Media outlets are the main puppeteers behind the scene turning the Hispanic population into puppets for electoral purposes. Shame on them. But more shame on my fellow Latino immigrants who fall for this mirage in order to belong to a “movement.”
How about if we belong to the movement called “Americans” for once, and thank this country for all the opportunities it has given us instead of demonizing it. Now, if it really is so bad I ask you, “Why don’t you go back to your country?” I know the answer: because the USA is still better.
Nevertheless, since this whole incident exploded I learned a lesson: watch your mouth because words matter, and make sure you pronounce well when you speak to avoid embarrassing situations.
Thanks for reading and sharing.