I was driving down High Street on campus yesterday, heading to the dental clinic when I saw pulled over by the side of the Ohio Union, by the Columbus police, four very indigenous Mexicans. I didn’t know what to do. Should I stop and help them? What help could I be? I was already late for my dentist appointment and could I really provide anything?
I pulled over and whispered to one of the women “¿Hay algo con que te puedo ayudar?” “Le han a agarado a mi hermano” she told me. It was awful. They had been pulled over for driving with expired tags, the driver didn’t have his license on him, so the police were going to impound the car. I asked the police if I could drive the car since I had a valid license on me. They said “no” that it was too late as the tow truck had already been called. I asked them if they would’ve impounded my car had I been driving with expired tags and without my license on me, and they answered honestly, that they wouldn’t have. I interpreted to my paisanos explaining where the car was going to be taken etc. What was personally difficult for me is that the two officers had very Irish last names. Something like Fitzgerald and O’Conner.
Here I was between the powerful and the powerless. Between the Mexican and the Irish. I was on the line. The Irish cops looked at me funny and one told me “You speak Mexican really good”. The Mexicans looked at me and asked if I worked for the police and why did my Spanish sound like I was Mexican. I was neither Irish nor Mexican. I fit in with neither and yet I was both. I was the powerful, and the powerless.
For those of you who didn’t know, I am ethnically 1/2 Irish 1/2 Mexican.