Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I Refuse to be Quiet

I can't keep  my mouth shut on this one.........

I live in Georgia.  I love living in the south.  The weather is great.  The food is awesome.  The people are nice.  We live out in the country.   I pass a cool looking barn on my way home (will have to take a pic some time), there is a horse park across the street from my neighborhood, and down at the end of our street there is an open pasture full of green grass and cows!

It's quiet.  Neighbors are like family.

I remember when we 1st moved to this area, the Mexican was a little worried.  He kept asking me, "So, you think this area is okay?  All we've passed are huge trucks and confederate flags."  I reassured him.
We've been here 6 years now.  We've had our run ins with racism and ignorance out here, but we just considered it to be isolated incidences.

Our little town has GROWN leaps and bounds in the six years we've been here.   We now have a numerous amount of restaurants and stores.  We no longer have to drive to the next city to go to Home Depot!  Yay!
Our neighborhood has a mixture of races.

So just when you think those run ins with racism and ignorance are headed out the back door....... because after all your little country town is more  like a city...


On my way to work this morning I passed a new billboard.
It said,
"Where is your roofer from?"
Call blablabla Roofing.
American owned and operated

Seriously?  Are you kidding me?  Well, I know what this billboard was referring to.  Here in Georgia, most roofers are latinos.  AND?  I just had to shake my head in disgust.  I mean, did they really have to go there?  And what idiot billboard company is supporting their propaganda?

I can not bite my tongue.  Tomorrow, I'm calling.  Not to stoop to their level, but to let them know I do not care if my roofer is from the USA, Mexico,  Guatemala, freakin' Madagascar, etc....   All I care about is that my roof is being put on properly and I find their billboard offensive.   There is tons more I want to say, but I realize I am going to make a couple of brief, rational, comments.  Then I'm going to find out who owns the billboard and call them.  I hope more people from my area are doing the same.  (although it is unlikely)

Or maybe tomorrow I'll feel better after venting here.  Although, I have a sneaky  feeling that it will just piss me off again  in the morning!

The Mexican would tell me to stay out of it.  He knows me better than that!  He knows I cant!  Don't forget we are the ones who participated in micro-loans so women can start their own businesses in  other countries (check out Kiva ), I am the one who has preached and preached to my own family about women's rights, I am the one who made shirts for our family to wear supporting   The Girl Effect.
I just can't!  Not when it is this close to home!  It's 10 minutes from our house.  Sorry!  I'm saying something!
The Mexican and my family like to make fun and call me "the hippie" in the family...... I like to refer to my self as the "activist" in the family.  How will things ever change if we do not speak up???


  1. Good for you! I am the same way and my husband, like your husband, would prefer me to just "leave it alone" ... Speak up, girl! ... E-mail me the billboard company's E-mail or roofing company's E-mail and I got your back if you want.

  2. Thanks Tracy for having my back! I really hope they receive more calls than just mine.

    I might just take you up on your offer. Be on the lookout for an email.
    Thanks for your encouraging words!

  3. Ugh, things like this bug me so much. I do not mind signs that say "American owned and operated" or the like; I know that some people want to keep their money as localized as possible, and I do not begrudge them that. The problem is when it is phrased in a way that makes it sound shameful to not follow the same philosophy.

  4. Greengagirl,
    Thanks for commenting. It also gave the impression that if your roofer is not white, he's not American, which we all know is a bunch of bologna!
    American owned and operated I can deal with.... but the "where is your roofer from?" followed by American owned and operated just rubbed me the wrong way.
    Maybe I'm reading more into it.
    Hopefully I'll be able to report back that this was the case after I call tomorrow.
    Wish me luck!

  5. Speaking up about things is the only way that change will be realized.

    I'm also in Georgia, so if you also send me the company name and billboard pick I will also make a call and write a letter.

    Many feel that if the prejudice isn't blatant then it is okay. And, they have to be taught that implied prejudice or slanders are also offensive and unacceptable.

  6. I say, Keep strong. Somebody does have to speak up. Sometimes there is nobody else to do it. My (Mexican) husband and I go through this discussion all the time and I think his culture is a bit more like "living well is the best revenge" or perhaps "keep your head down, the nail that sticks up gets the hit". I remind him of the famous statement "First they came..." by Rev. Martin Niemoeller and I know in the years we've been together my husband's thinking has moved a little my way. On the other hand I've learned from him that I can't change the world by myself, and constantly getting my blood pressure up/ living in stress about it is, in the end, not the best for my kid. I always wonder how our son will eventually reconcile these two parts of himself-- his two cultures-- the good the bad and the ugly. Here in Texas we are smack in the middle of the "culture war". For right now I get too upset to do much confrontation without giving myself an aneurysm. Since he's only 2 I can still get away with mostly avoidance. If he can have a few blissful years of childhood before he even knows bigots exist, that's good. I do have a stategy of long term counter-balancing. We drive a bit out of our neighborhood for our (very justice-oriented) church-- my son as he is growing can know many nice, fair-minded white people besides just our family... In the end there's probably no perfect solution. Racism is just crummy.

  7. Tyeisha,
    Thanks for your support!
    Of course I was running late this morning (like most mornings)
    Took a sip of my coffee then remembered..."oh!! don't forget the roofer's number!"
    I continued looking and looking at all the billboards I pass, even wrote down the number to call and advertise on one (check!) but sadly I passed the roofer's ad.
    On my way home, i tried to look in the rear view mirror but I felt like I was driving crazy so I will get the number for the company tomorrow.
    I will email you info on both.
    Thanks for helping.
    I totally agree with your statement "implied prejudice or slanders are also offensive and unacceptable."
    Thanks for commenting and offering your help!

  8. Beth,
    Thanks for commenting and your encouraging words as well.
    Honestly, living well is great revenge. For instance, today I was getting a quote for something. After assuring her he was infact "legal", my husband's yearly salary had to be taken into account. 1st the person said, (quite confidently might I add) "your husband probably makes ..... a year, right?" I said, "um, a little higher" the person replied, "....?" I said, "a little higher.... he makes .... a year" The person responded, "wow, he does well"
    I just laughed on the inside.

    You are right about not being able to change the world by ourselves. I try and choose my battles wisely.

    I'm like you and do get quite upset with confrontation, but with this being not far from our home I just can't pass it daily without getting upset unless I know I said/did something.

    Today my mexican called me and I told him all about the billboard. He laughed. He thinks it is hilarious. He told me, don't worry about it.

    I think of my son as well. Thankfully he so far has not encountered anything and it's going to kill me the day he does. I talk to him though and remind him frequently he has the best of both worlds and their are some people out there that like to make others feel bad because they are not happy.

    It's been awesome to read everyone's perspective and the support makes me feel great.

    Thanks so much for sharing your feelings on the subject.


  9. Tara, I can't believe it. If that isn't discriminatory and racist, I don't know what is. It's shameful and an embarrassment to me as an American. I watched the FREEDOM RIDERS on pbs.org last night, after reading your post, feels like we haven't come very far. Thank you for sharing this.

  10. When I get back to GA, I would love to meet you! We would get along great!!!
    If I was in GA, I would be calling, too. Miguel would be telling me to not do it but, I am stubborn. If someone doesn't stand up for the people, who will? Unfortunately racism is still going, not as strong and up against racism and evng as before but, still going. We can educate our children, nieces, nephews, and friends children and stand up against the people who are racist. Eventually it will give way, hopefully. Thank you for your post, now I know there is someone else in GA that believes in equality and defending theirselves.

  11. One other thing, can you email me the info for this roofer, please. I too, would love to call him and give him a piece of my mind.

  12. Ezzy,
    I know! It is hard to believe! I have not seen the FREEDOM RIDERS. I love PBS, surprised I haven't seen it but I am going to look for it now. It makes me sad to see that billboard, but seeing the support I've gotten here makes me feel sooooo much better.
    Thanks for commenting amiga! Abrazos to you and ur famiiy!

    I would love to meet you to! I've really enjoyed your blog. An in person meeting would be an honor. Maybe one day we can make it happen.
    Tomorrow I will email info. The more calls and/or emails they get maybe they will realize what a poor choice they made with their advertising choice!
    I believe education is the key! We most definitely have to educate our children, friends, extended family, anyone we have the opportunity of sharing our lives with.
    Thanks for your offer to jump in and help. It is very much appreciated.
    Take care! Muah.

  13. Good for you for speaking up! That billboard is disgraceful. I am glad that you are using your writing and your voice to let people know that it is not okay to spread such negative stereotypes about people. Bravo!

  14. SAD......but this is a reality everywhere. I only have two comments. I wish anyone who resents the Hispanics could see some of the poverty I saw in Mexico. I also think few people realize that our country pays people to be on welfare for their whole lives, so the Hispanics are able to find work doing what the others don't consider worth it!!You go girl!!!!

  15. Jen,
    thanks for your comment. everyone's encouraging words are an inspiration! it's nice to know you are not alone in your views.

    having issues with my shift on keyboard.

    thanks for your comment as well. i completely agree with your comments above. i called today. getting ready to post an update.

  16. UPDATE
    Called the roofers, and the owner was not available. I spoke with the secretary and explained to her my take on the billboard. She proceeded to tell me that they were referring to "storm chasers" (people who go wherever a storm hits and agree to repair roofs collect money upfront then skip town)
    I guess it is possible, but i'm not entirely buying that story.
    I told her that I hope they understand how people would find the billboard offensive.
    I still plan on contacting the billboard company.