A couple/few weekends ago (I think it might have been Memorial Day), we encountered a traffic disturbance heading north. At first we thought it was an accident, but then we got close enough to read the numerous vehicles—US Border Patrol. Huh. Never seen them before, but whatever. They were only stopping southbound traffic.
At the end of the weekend, heading southbound, we found they were still there, which was surprising but not too much of an issue because they weren’t really stopping anybody, just slowing cars so they could scope out the passengers. Except for the one car they’d pulled off the highway. The one, in the picture, with a white arrow pointing to it.
As we went by I could see they were an Indian family with Massachusetts plates. At least I assume they were Indian, as the woman in the backseat was dressed in a colorful sari along with other traditional aspects of appearance. Whenever I see a traditionally-dressed Indian woman, a part of me is thankful I’m from a society where I can tell my husband to kiss my ass if he doesn’t like my sweats, and another part is envious because they are so amazingly beautiful.
Then the short kid asked what that family did wrong.
I’ll admit…I tried tapdancing. Explained they hadn’t done anything wrong. They were just doing random checks. Blah blah blah. But he wanted to know why, of all the thousands of people on the highway, they pulled over that one car.
“Because they’re not white,” I was finally forced to admit.
There’s a person on the periphery of my life who’s had a lot of shitty things to say lately about Flatlanders (to NH-ites, anybody born pretty much anywhere else, with CT and MA being the worst offenders.) Having been born in Mass, it pisses me off to be judged—to be lumped in with a group of people—based on where my parents lived when I was born. But people only know I’m a Flatlander if I tell them (or my husband does, which he loves to do). It’s not a part of my appearance.
Not a typical Shan blog post, I know, but I’ve thought about that Indian family every day since that weekend. I’ve been pissed off at the US Border Patrol every day, and I’ve wished I could apologize to that family every day.
I’m only thankful my children were as angry as me.