Mike Araujo’s (pronounced Ah-ROJ-oh’s) parents came to my husband’s little home town of Lexington, Nebraska, in 1950. Mike was then three years old. His folks decided to stop following the beet and corn harvests and settle down. They saw something special in the little town, which began its life in the nineteenth century as Plum Creek. Plum Creek, Johnson Lake and the Platte River all water this fertile farmland and the peaceful energy of the Great Plains in the 1950s lay sweetly on the earth here. The Araujos made a home and a life.
My husband, Jim, played baseball with Mike. Together with their Little League team, they won the Nebraska State Baseball Championship one year. No one then was prejudiced toward the few families of Hispanic origin who had moved to Lexington. Mike’s family was accepted and embraced.
Mike graduated from St. Ann’s High School in 1965 and enlisted in the armed forces. In the course of his service he was wounded in his right hand, his right foot and his right eye and offered disability. However, Mike came home and got a job with the U.S. Postal Service instead. Favoring his wounded leg and working around his other battle wounds, he became a postal carrier. He still delivers the mail to my husband’s Mom daily.
Mike was recently awarded a commendation for 30 years of service with the post office. He has also won recognition for many years of community service as the girl’s softball team’s coach in Lexington, carrying on the Little League tradition. He is a family man, with a wife and kids. He is now coaching his own daughter. My husband keeps Mike’s photo out as an inspiration for days when he himself is experiencing a tough day. He knows Mike has it much harder and still is triumphant. That lifts him up.
In the forty years since Mike and my husband played high school sports together, times have changed along Plum Creek. Lexington used to be a village of 5,000 people, with almost the entire population made up of European-Americans, the majority of German or Nordic descent. Everyone looked the same and talked the same.
A large meat-packing plant came to town a decade ago and instantly changed things. Thousands of jobs opened up and the area’s population could not begin to fill them. Hispanic people streamed into Lexington to take those jobs. Now Lexington has a population of about 9,000 people and the racial split is about 50-50 between those of European descent and those of Mexican descent.
Prejudice has also come to town, despite the fact that Mexican-Americans in general have a superior work ethic, do their jobs with pride and dignity, worship as do Americans in Christian churches, hew to conservative family values and offer respect to all.
The core of the outer problem is the language barrier. We Americans are not sophisticated in terms of knowing languages other than our own. The joke runs that a person who speaks three languages is tri-lingual; a person who speaks two languages is bi-lingual and a person who speaks one language is an American. It is a funny joke but also a sad truth. We are not fond of strangers these days - we who were all once strangers in this land of opportunity.
Our present national policy towards Mexicans who work in the USA is a fear-based one. Our government wants to build a fence along the Rio Grande to stop these “foreigners” from coming to America.
This is a useless waste of money. The Berlin Wall taught us long ago that walls don’t work. Further, our nation needs and exploits Mexican laborers. The jobs no one here wants would go begging, and we would lack services aplenty, if Mexicans were successfully denied entrance to the USA. Our hypocrisy is monumental in this regard.
My observations are of our outer world, our consensus reality. What inner principle is driving this very distorted policy?
The Q’uo, in a channeling session dated August 11, 1985, says,
“Prejudice is, to some extent, an instinct based upon the ultimate origin of the various races of your planetary sphere. Because more than one planetary sphere produced third-density (consensus reality) candidates which have experienced third density upon this sphere, those of different planetary influences have fundamentally various archetypical minds; that is, part of their archetypical minds, that part connected with the racial consciousness, is in some cases subtly, in other cases widely, different from race to race.
“The instinctive bias is that of the recognition of a difference. This is the fundamental instinctual and root reason for prejudice or prejudgment. It is not, however, valid in the sense that mind/body/spirit complexes (people) are each the Creator, regardless of their planetary origins.”
We as human beings do not like to experience different-ness. We recognize, on a largely unconscious level, that newcomers have differences in language and culture which we do not understand. And in the face of our own ignorance, we shut the newcomers out. We do this despite the fact that we are all newcomers here. Unless you are a Native American, your national tribe did not originate here. We all came to Ellis Island, or to British colonial America, as strangers in a strange land.
And often, we came not so long ago. My own great grandfather immigrated to America when Metternich’s policies began to concern him. He spoke only enough English to cope with basic needs. His son, my Dad’s father, spoke both German and English fluently. My father could understand German but never spoke it and had the clear “radio English” accent of the Midwest.
In a generation, the newcomers to Plum Creek’s shores will also be speaking unaccented English. But prejudice does not know how to wait or to think. And so we are foolishly trying to shut out new people, from a land made up of new people.
Do you remember the words about the Statue of Liberty which Emma Lazarus wrote in 1883?
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.“
What has happened to our golden door? What has happened to our national sense of who we are? I believe that fear has shut that door, at least in many people’s minds and hearts. We have forgotten our own history. We have turned our backs on inclusive policy. Sweet Honey In The Rock’s poignant and haunting song, “Would You Harbor Me Would I Harbor You” has its answer, and that answer is no.
The Q’uo say, in the same session,
“To be prejudiced against any spirit which walks among you is possibly to be discriminating against one whom you would call a saint or angel.”
Let us rethink this matter of newcomers to our country. Let us seek ways to solve our problems inclusively by creating a Mexican-American Labor League which allows free crossing of our mutual border for workers. Let us celebrate our cultural differences and experience the richness of the exchange of stories and myths. Let us say Yes.
Robert Johnson, an old-time blues singer, wrote a wonderfully inclusive little song. Its refrain is this:
“You’d better come on in my kitchen.
It’s going to be raining outdoors.”
It is raining hard these days, in all kinds of ways. Can we find the maturity of soul to invite each other in out of this rain?
I open my arms and embrace your spirit. May we invite the natural progression of a changing world, a changing nation and a changing society. May I harbor you. May you harbor me. May we love each other and progress together hand in hand.