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hugo herrara is a mexican american whom has observed and grappled with t

he prejudice ideals of others, even fellow hispanics throughout his life. in his
mind all people are racist to some degree or another, despite any personal con
viction attempting to absolve oneself from this increasingly negative social sti
gma. the fact that he has never internalized a hispanic cultural identity nor em
braced a sense of patriotism has effectivly catalysed his social ostracism among
the spanish social groups he had contact with throughout high school and daily
life. hugo has never dated a hispanic woman primarily as he precieves their inte
rpretation of mexican american culture as inauthentic. moreover, they remind him
of his mother. consequentialy he has only ever maintained romantic relations wi
th white girls. "the handful of times i've socialized with mexican girls i see g
angbangers at their parties, and other stereotypes that hispanic youth seem so r
eadily to pick up and run with nowadays. its like everyone wants to be black, bu
t nobody wants to be a nigger."
while he was born in Guanajuato, moroleon in may of 1985, hugo and his t
hree older brothers were brought to the united states by human traffickers when
he was eight months old. his father had arranged for the family to move into a c
ousin's garage in san fransisco, and later relocate to los angelos where they st
ayed until the riots in 1992. the civil unrest present in los angelos drove the
herrara family eastward to the small town of west grove in pennsylavania. in the
following years Hugo's parents worked to attain their General Equivalency Diplo
mas, alternating every other semester both odd jobs and parental respossibilitie
s. "my parents never had a night for themselves, they worked incredibly hard to
make sure my brothers and i had everything we needed, i can see that now that i'
m older." his parents grew up in a small rural town by the name of la loma, livi
ng not three miles from one another their entire lives. by the time his mother w
as fifteen she was palnning the wedding, already pregnant with her first son, wh
ile his father whom was twenty at the time began the construction of their home
within their same small hometown. "i've gone there with my parents while visitin
g family in mexico, it is not a place that holds any real value to me, just a pl
ain cement house. i guess in the moment you try to conjure some kind of romantic
idealtions with regards to where your standing and the significancethat this ve
ry ground has to people you love. but i have no emotional ties with it, i have n
o real ties to mexico, it does not factor into who i precive myself to be."
Hugo ran away from home during his senior year of high school after his
father beat him for allegedly using drugs. "i love my parents but they dont know
a damn thing about drugs. my mother one day found my weightloss and body buildi
ng supplements and thought that i was headed down the same road of drug abuse as
my brother pedro." a friend of the family gave him a home until graduation, aft
er which he moved to north carolina.
hugo obtained employment at a coldstone creamery in north carolina and w
ithin a matter of months was promoted to general manager. he began dating a sing
le mother whom he worked with. one night after fraternising with fellow freinds
and coworkers, this single mother's fifteen year old daughter initiated the admi
nistration of oral pleasure. upon discovering this, the mother pressed charges,
of which hugo plead guilty to indecenct liberties with a minor. although these l
iberties stopped at oral sex there was an unsucessful movement to charge him wit
h rape. at this time hugo was nineteen, notably if the difference in age was but
one year less this would have never been an issue. he served approximatly one h
undred days of time "intrestingly enough my ethnicity served me well in prison.
the gaurds, after finding out that i spoke spanish would pull me out of my cell
at three in the morning and take me down to intake. they used me as a translator
and would generally just have me sit there and explain to the guy they were pro
cessing what was happening to him and he needed to say to the judge. afterwards
they would usually smuggle in some fast food of my choice for my cooperation in
the matter." Hugo's sister in law arranged for a restraining order against the m
other and daughter, whom were waiting for hugo to get released, upon which hugo
moved back to pennsylavania within three days.
in reflecting upon his life hugo stated that the most severe descrimina
tion that he had personally suffered was at the hands of the american justice sy
stem."when i talked to the detective who arrested me he was all buddy buddy, try
ing to set me at ease. as soon as i signed the agreement that i would talk to hi
m his attitude completly changed. he accused hispanics of taking jobs away from
hard working americans when they came to this country, and a whole slew of other
malarkey." the public defender assigned to the case consistently sought to unde
rmine and discredit Hugo despite overwhelming support from his home community in
pennsylavania. this woman recieved over a dozen letters from teachers and other
faculty members attesting to strong moral attributes held by one hugo herrara.
when formally presented with the charges agaisnt him the judge requested these p
apers of the public defender so that he may take into consideration any reason t
o exclude hugo's registration as a sex offender under megan's law. to this she s
imply replied was that she had left the papers in her car, the issue was persued
no further. aside from becoming a registered sex offender, hugo had to take cou
ciling, report to a probation officer, and be subjected to three lie detector te
sts over the course of his probation. "the group counciling was pretty messed up
, most of the time the trained counsilors were there to direct group discussions
, which never ended in a secular fashion as it was to begin with, but some days
their assistants would substitute. i remember this one femenist who would repeat
edly verbally attack and single out guys in the group, i was no exception."
after the interview i cunducted an exercise in which my friend and i listened to
a podcast of radiolab, a program airing on nation public radio. this episode di
scussed the mapping of the human genome and the proclaimed death of racism with
the initial inability to find any genetic or scientific basis for race; there a
re no destinct braches or distinct evolutionary lineages within humanity. howeve
r in later years technology has provided us with some 180 genetic markers that a
re in essence simple errors in the copying of dna sequences over many generation
s of human offspring. Tony Frudakis and his company DNA Print Genomics believe t
hey can point to the genetic ancestry of test subjects by scanning their DNA for
these genetic markers. the episode concludes with an interview of Wayne Joseph,
a high school principal and writer on the topic of race whom out of curiosity s
ubmitted his DNA for testing. the hosts of the show discuss a picture of joseph,
who is notably of far darker complextion than obama for example. the test resul
ts concluded that this man, whom had lived as a black man for over fifty years o
f his life, was not black at all, rather an amalgamation of indo-european, nativ
e american and asian genetic ancetry. in effect this test labotamized joseph's
identity as an african american altogether."there are certain decicions made in
life according to who you think you are. whould i have decided to marry a black
woman? would i have decided to attend and all black school? how different my lif
e would have been if i knew this forty five years ago."
As social creatures, we humans strive to develop connections with others. The pr
oblem with this is that we often emulate values and beliefs of the important fig
ures in our lives instead of searching within and resolving one s own problems. We
sell out by becoming what others expect of us, if we become rooted in such expe
ctations we can become strangers even to ourselves.
The significance of our existence is never transfixed with any finality; we cont
inually recreate ourselves through interpretations and experiences. Thus the per
ception that we hold of our very nature is in a constant state of transition, em
erging, evolving, and becoming.

transcend the historical significance of sight in the role of racism

ethnicity was readily obvious to hugo from an early age as his mother babysat bo
th whites and blacks. these

hugo admitted that he had become increasingly contemptuous of blacks after he di

scovered his fiance had been cheating on him with numerous african americans.
he claimed that he knew what 'you people' did when coming to this country
in an attempt to