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American Born

CD Knowles 5 months ago

Dear Knowles,

I have thought about the question I’m going to ask you for a long time and with great sadness. I am Mexican-American, born outside of San Antonio, Texas fifty-five years ago. My allegiance is to the United States. I grew up here, went to school here, worked here all my life, had children and a family here. My husband is a veteran. I’m an auditor for the IRS. I am somewhat dark complected with black hair, black eyes — no question about it, I look Hispanic. Recently — since Trump was elected — I’ve received nasty remarks from total strangers, always white, who will walk up to me in the street or the supermarket and say things like: “Wetback, go back where you came from!” or “You don’t belong here, dirty immigrant!” or “You’re illegal, I’m calling ICE!” Sometimes I just look at them and say: “Really?” but mostly I ignore them. My question to you is, what’s the best answer? Thank you in advance.

All the best,

American Born


Dear American,

That’s terrible and I really feel for you. In my experience, silence has always been the best response. However, to look someone straight in the eye and say: “Speaking to an American citizen in that way is outrageous and beneath contempt. I wonder if you, as an adult, speak to friends and family so rudely? I guess you must feel very small to attack total strangers with unkind words and falsehoods.” The point, of course, being to make your attackers cringe with embarrassment. It’s your choice whether it’s more comfortable to remain silent and give them the stink eye, or to quietly and with dignity let them know what you think. Another suggestion is you get involved with organizations such as the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) that promote solidarity and deal with racial problems like the one you describe. I know that sounds like a lot of work but using your voice in ways that count will make you feel much stronger and better. Hope that helps. Keep up the good fight!

All the best,

CD Knowles



birth control

Dear Birth Control,

Boo hoo, I feel sorry for you. Maybe think of your girlfriend and her problems with birth control before the pity party about having to use a condom. Most women welcome condoms as a barrier against sexually transmitted diseases. With that in mind, I have to say you’re a little selfish, aren’t you? Like the wise counselor says: suck it up. Seriously.

Sarah T., Brooklyn, NY


Dear Birth Control,

I’ve been in your place and it sucks. But it doesn’t suck as much as having an unwanted baby. And listen, man, I know this is your girl and hopefully you’re exclusive, but if you’re not, you need condoms to protect against diseases. Think about that.

Jason R., Houston, TX



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Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.

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