This is the third post in my series. This post focuses on my time in middle and high school. Compared to my previous post, this post explores my self-realization of my place in the Mexican community in Visalia and how i addressed it at the time.
The last post in this series was meant primarily to set the foundation of what happens next. I was a young Mexican kid who, in all fairness, wasn’t that Mexican. I became more acutely aware of this fact when i left Royal Oaks Elementary and entered middle school and high school.
The teasing continued througout this time and it did bother me to a good extent. But where i once knew not why i was the target of such ridicule, now i had reasoned why. I wasn’t Mexican enough for the rest of the community living in Visalia.
The Mexican community in Visalia and, arguably throughout the Central Valley, are rather fundamental about what it means to be Mexican. As i mentioned before, the Latino population largely settled in the North Side ghetto and lived below or near the poverty line. The parents of other Mexican kids i interacted with were mostly Catholic and conservative and held more blue-collar and labor-intensive occupations than my parents did. They also held a much more skeptical view of their white neighbors, and not necessarily without good cause.
The Central Valley is not a bastion of liberal ideals as San Francisco would be or even as moderate as Los Angeles might be. The Central Valley is politically and culturally very conservative. They voted heavily in favor of Proposition 8 and if polled today, would probably support Arizona’s new immigration law with similar numbers. That being said, the Mexican community responds by behaving similar towards other as well as their own.