Two Flags - One Fighter
During lunch I watched Mexican-American Boxer Vicente Escobedo completely destroy his opponent. Escobedo is on the U.S. Olympic Team, and the 22-year old son of Mexican immigrant farm workers.
Telemundo did a piece on him and his journey to the Olympics, in which they interviewed "Chente's" older brother, Jose. In the interview, the reporter pointed out that Jose was carrying both a Mexican and an American flag. He said, even though officially, he was there representing the United States, his brother, was representing Mexicans as well.
Chente, in broken Spanish, spoke about getting to this point and thanked his family and friends for their hard work and support. When he entered the ring, chants of USA, USA, and Mexico, Mexico, filled the arena. I imagine other spectators must be confused by this.
People always question Mexican-Americans for their close ties to Mexico - they question our loyalty to this country. Escobedo is there fighting for his country, but also representing Mexicans, his culture, his people, and his parents. As Mexican-Americans, it is hard for us to simply forget about our roots, even though many Mexicans don't consider us Mexican and many Americans don't consider us American. Ni de aqui, ni de alla, like La India Maria used to say. Or should it be "De Aqui, y de Alla."
If Escobedo wins the Gold Medal, there is no doubt in my mind he will stand up at the podium and proudly listen to the Star Spangled Banner. He will be proud to be an American, just like the numerous Mexican-American soldiers who everyday fight on behalf of this country, and stand at attention when they hear the National Anthem. Those soldiers too, do not forget their roots. I'm pretty sure nobody is questioning their loyalty. This is an interesting story, like that of The Golden Boy, Oscar De La Hoya. Let's see how this plays out.