Viviendo en Minnesota

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[English translation follows.]

Mi esposa y yo solíamos vivir al norte de las Ciudades Gemelas, en la ciudad de Anoka. Cuando llegamos a Minnesota, ser inmigrante no era cosa del otro mundo. Ibamos de compras al supermercado y podíamos hablar en español sin que nadie nos volteara a ver con mmirada acusadora. Hasta ahí todo bien. Las cosas empezaron a cambiar lentamente hasta que esa situación se invirtió. Poco a poco nos dimos cuenta que cada vez que hablábamos español en las tiendas la gente nos volteaba a ver. Nos miraban como acusándonos de algo, como queriéndonos señalar y denunciar a la Policía.

Al principio era fácil ignorarlo, hasta que mi hija empezó a hablar. Ahora la pequeña hablaba en las tiendas y las miradas eran todavía mas agresivas. La situación se puso pesada y yo decidí no hacer más compras en Anoka y comprar todo lo que se pudiera en Minneapolis o St. Paul.

Por un tiempo todo estuvo bien, hasta una tarde que nos encontrábamos haciendo unas compras en una tienda en el Downtown de Minneapolis. Era la temporada navideña y la tienda estaba llena. Cada vez que hablábamos en Español alguien nos volteaba a ver, así que decidí hacer un experimento. Nos detuvimos en un corredor, mi hija y yo, minetras esperábamos a mi esposa comenzamos a hablar en voz alta. Las miradas no tardaron en voltearse y de pronto éramos el centro de atención. Esperamos unos minutos y luego nos movimos a uno de los corredores de electrónicos. Nos mezclamos entre la gente y comenzamos a hablar en Francés. Nadie, absolutamente nadie volteó a vernos. A nadie le molestó. No hubo miradas acusadoras ni murmullos de desprecio.

Marco Fernández es Director Editorial y Editor en Jefe de Gente de Minnesota.

English

My wife and I used to live north of the Twin Cities, in the city of Anoka. When we arrived in Minnesota, being an immigrant was not something from another world. We shopped at the supermarket and could speak in Spanish without anyone turning around to stare at us with accusing looks. For a while, all was well. But things began to change slowly, until the situation was reversed. Little by little, we became aware that every time we spoke Spanish in the stores, people turned to look at us. They stared at us as if accusing us of something, as if they wanted to mark us and turn us in to the police.

At first it was easy to ignore them, until my little girl began to talk. When the little one spoke in stores, the stares became still more aggressive. The situation became worse and I decided not to shop in Anoka any more and to buy everything I could in Minneapolis or in St. Paul.

For a while all was well, until one afternoon we went shopping in a store in downtown Minneapolis. It was the Christmas season and the store was full of people. Every time we spoke in Spanish, someone turned to stare at us, so I decided to try an experiment. My daughter and I stopped in one aisle, waiting for my wife, and began talking in loud voices. The looks were not long in returning and we were soon the center of attention. We waited a few minutes and later moved on to an electronics aisle. We mingled with the other people and began to speak in French. No one, absolutely no one, turned to look at us. No one was upset. There were no disapproving stares or whispers. We left the store and I promised never to buy there again.

Marco Fernández is Editorial Director and Editor in Chief of Gente de Minnesota.

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