Erick Sanchez

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Erick Sanchez discusses being a first-generation Mexican in the United States. Sanchez describes the obstacles his parents had to face in order to migrate. Some of these obstacles include crossing a physical border and others involve crossing the language and cultural barriers in order to adapt to the new environment. He makes clear distinctions between his father’s and mother’s journey to the United States and explains why they chose to eventually settle in Charlotte, NC. He talks about how his father juggled many low paying jobs and how he had to slowly climb up these positions in order to get to his current job as supervisor of a window making factory. Sanchez also describes the social dynamics in his parents’ hometown and how it differs from the United States. In Mexico, Sanchez is viewed as an American by his family members and the people of Mexico, but in the US he identifies only as Mexican to Americans. He also describes how his parents’ home state is much more dangerous than other parts of Mexico and explains why that may be towards the end of the interview.



Luis Acosta: Hello, this is Luis Acosta. The date is March 30th, 2015. The time is 3:10 pm. We are in Stacy Residence Hall in room 202 and I’m here with Erick Sanchez. So to start off Erick, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Erick Sanchez: Alright so my name is Erick. I’m a second year here at UNC: Sophomore. Well… my major is exercise and sports science and I’m focused hopefully in the audiology path, I want to become an audiologist. A little bit about myself other than the academic aspect would be that I consider myself 100% Mexican. My parents are fully Mexican, and I was born in a Mexican household, so my culture is Mexican. My language in a sense is Spanish but it is “Mexicanized”. I feel like sports is a big part of me. I’m a big soccer player. I always pull for Mexico. There’s not a time when I won’t pull for Mexico even in the worst situations. And I also feel like I just can’t identify myself as anything other but Mexican or Mexican American, so I would say Mexican-American in a sense when I’m talking to somebody else but in a group of other Hispanics or Latinos, I would say I’m fully Mexican.
LA: Alright nice Erick, nice. So where were you born?
ES: So I was born in Raleigh, North Carolina but I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina about a month in my life, so I don’t really remember much about Raleigh but my whole life has been based in Charlotte. Charlotte is pretty much all I know and then now I’m here.
LA: So who do you live with now Erick?
ES: At home it’s both of my parents, my brother and my sister. It’s a family of five. Here I live with Andrew, my roommate. We’ve been buddies since high school. That’s pretty much my hospitality.
LA: So are you the oldest out of your siblings?
ES: I am the oldest out of my siblings. I have a younger brother who is in high school. He’s graduating this year. My sister is in the seventh grade. She’s will be going to the eighth grade next year, so I’m the oldest of three.
LA: Ok, and what language do you primarily speak at home?
ES: So primarily at home is Spanish. All the time Spanish. Occasionally we’ll speak English, but if were going out or something and we might speak Spanglish, we might speak Spanish, it depends on the situation.
LA: Would you say you’re parents know English pretty well. Are they pretty confident in their English?
[00:03:26] ES: Oh definitely. My father knows English pretty well. I won’t say he can write it really well, but he can communicate and his English is very well… very well spoken along with my mother’s English. I feel like she took a few years in a community college and she got her English together so I feel like their pretty confident in their English skills.

LA: So Erick how far did your parents reach in school? Whether it be, you know, I don’t know where they grew up in, but whether they grew up here or in Mexico.
ES: So both of my parents went to school in Mexico, in the state of Guerrero. My father only got to about a technical… like a first technical semester of like some type of college program. I don’t even think you can consider it college and then he dropped out and he came to the United States. There was a necessity for money at home. My mother also did the same, but she did not come to the United States. She decided to stay in Mexico so they did graduate high school. They went to some type of technical school. I don’t consider that college, but they’re both very, very smart people I would say.
[00:04:43] LA: How old was your dad when he came over?
ES: My father was about 19 years old. So about my age when he crossed the border. At that point in time it wasn’t really a big problem. Nowadays it is.--[00:05:00].
LA: Did he have some sort of work as he crossed over or was he just going to see where life took him and also where did he arrive when he crossed?
ES: My grandfather had already crossed many years before and he was already established in North Carolina, so my father followed my grandfather into North Carolina, into the tobacco industry. Tobacco is really big so he worked in that and then he also worked in Florida and he also worked in California picking oranges and planting stuff as well… picking oranges, I’m sorry. And then like I said in thef tobacco industries. So much more… there’s so much more that he worked in that he moved from state to state in his young years. He pretty much ended up in North Carolina for the rest of his life or up to now.
LA: So your grandfather was able to work out the papers for him?
ES: Yeah, so at first my grandfather came illegally or he crossed the border illegally without documentation but he eventually, he was able to get paper work through Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan… I admire him… he’s one of the best Presidents I can honestly think of. He pretty much helped out with the paper situation… [00:06:31] documentation and that’s where my grandfather was able to acquire documentation and so was my father whose type of documentation until he actually became a citizen in 1999. [SIC]
LA: So did your grandfather also grow up picking oranges or like why did your grandfather come here?
ES: My grandfather came to the United States in his later years, so probably in his late 30’s. There was a necessity. He had a family and he needed to provide. By that time there was probably about a family of four and it grew to about a family of seven, so there was five mouths to feed and a wife to take care of. So he came to the US looking for more money because the economy in Mexico up to this day is not really admirable, I’d say.
LA: So your grandfather picked fruit as well?
ES: Oh yes, yes, yes, yes I’m sorry. He did… He did do all that, pick oranges, tobacco, he just worked on the field a lot. He would just do all those jobs.
LA: Did your father or grandfather ever tell you what city they worked in?
ES: I think one in Florida was called Immokalee, I think and then in California I don’t really recall a specific but I know he … I think somewhere in San Diego or I don’t know if there’s any plantation. I’m probably making that up but I know North Carolina, Raleigh was big. He worked in Raleigh a lot and in Durham as well. He worked a lot in those areas, those specific areas.
[00:08:27] LA: Ok and how about your mother? How did she cross?
ES: My mother crossed in 95’ I believe, and she crossed without documentation as well, but she was able to acquire documentation in 2008. Now she is a US citizen. Yes, but that’s the way she cross… without documentation.
LA: So you said 95’. I’m thinking that’s about your age, the year you were born. So when she crossed over, she was pregnant?
ES: She was. Yeah, she was. She crossed when she was pregnant. Yeah, I guess in a sense I crossed the border as well. Ha ha. Yeah, pretty much.
LA: Did any of them ever describe to you how the journey was for them? Does your mom ever describe to you how she crossed? Would you mind sharing some of that or some of your dad’s experiences maybe?
ES: Definitely, so my mother, when she crossed, she thought she was just going to get on a plane or get on a train and cross the border. Just you know, simple. Little did she know that there was a man waiting for her near the border that was going to smuggle her into the United States. This is the story of how many people get into the United States and they usually call a “coyote” or the coyotes. They’ll sneak you in somehow and she was snuck in somehow and that was her experience. She told me that she did not, once she found out she was being snuck in, she did not want to go to the United States. She was yelling, people told her to shut up, she was being loud, and she was pregnant with me, so obviously it was a pregnant woman in a really dark and hot side of some truck or something. Definitely just feel the anguish and the fear and she was really close to turning back but she didn’t. My dad had already paid that money so she had to go through it. My father, his experiences are not as rough, because he crossed in the 80’s. The 70’s and the 80’s were just, they were much more light on crossing the border. He would cross the border, he told me that he would just sit on the other side of the border and just watch people cross and he would just watch them and be like “ah, I mean… It’s whatever.” Nowadays, you can’t sit on the border and watch people cross. I don’t thinks that’s safe. My father’s crossing was much less intensive per se.
LA: I’m sure you’re aware of these problems, but how would you say, how would you feel if you were in a… what are your thoughts on undocumented immigrants on students because it sounds like if your mom would have turned back, you could have also been one of those students that was born in Mexico but didn’t have the proper documentation, university financial aid, or go to school here in the state without private scholarship. How are your thoughts on that?
[00:11:49] ES: I really admire those students because they have a dream and they want an equal opportunity and I don’t see why they can’t. They’re students just like everybody else, they’ve called North Carolina home since they were maybe four or five even probably babies, and honestly if I would have been smuggled and would have gone through the… Gosh I don’t know. I don’t even know how to put it. It would just be, it would kind of be saddening, but at the same time I would be a part of them because we’re students of course and we all have a dream and we all want to graduate, we all want our degree but their dream is being hindered by paying double tuition and being discriminated against when it comes to classes sometimes. I don’t think that happens here at UNC, but I know it happens across the United States. I feel like the dreamers have a dream just like everybody else and it’s just not fair that they can’t have equal access to tuition and to education that we have as US citizens.
[00:13:14] LA: Can you also elaborate maybe, what do your parents do now for a living? Does your dad still pick fruit or does your mom do it? Is farm work still a thing or do they transition to something else?
ES: My father works at a company that makes windows and doors and he’s the supervisor in this area so he worked himself all the way up there. As far as farming and agriculture, that’s just a story. It’s left behind and I’m not saying you can’t make a living by working in those fields but honestly if we take consideration of the people who do work in those fields and do work in agriculture. They’re undocumented a lot of the times, not all the times, and they’re underpaid and treated horribly. My father wanted a different story for himself and now he wins decent money without having an American high school diploma. He works in that company and my mother, she has to jump from job to job because she does not have an American high school diploma either. It sucks because she goes from hotel to another hotel to another hotel to another hotel and her job is unstable. When you’re winning minimum wage, it’s like wow, what am I gonna do? I still have more bills to pay so sometimes it’s not -- [00:15:00] -- enough but you can just limit yourself… Put in what you can. It’s pretty much my mom’s job…very unstable.
LA: So your dad went from farm working to this company directly?
ES: Not directly. There was a transition from farm working and to working in agriculture. He moved a restaurant, and apparently they said they were going to pay him $15 the hour entering the restaurant. My dad was like “Woah! $15 the hour? Who wouldn’t?” He took his stuff and my mom was like “Ok, we’re gonna pay you $15 the hour. That’s good money!” They get here and they were like “no it’s actually, they are gonna start paying you at $8.” My dad was like “what? I’m gonna have to get two jobs. You lied to me and now I’m gonna have to work in this dirty restaurant.” He worked for about 5 years. He was working double shifts so I could barely see him as a kid. Then in about 2000, he was able to get into this company. He was pretty much at the bottom. He was just a regular worker and then he was moved to team leader. Then after team leader, he was moved to assistant. Then from assistant, they noticed that he really knew what he was doing and got the job done, so they offered him a position as supervisor and he took it. Since then, he’s been working as the supervisor of the screen department. They need him—he pretty much is the one that runs that department. I don’t think anybody else could run that department and if they did, it would take them a while to adapt. That’s the transition that my dad had. From farming, to the restaurant, to the company where he’s at now.
LA: It sounds like maybe your dad is a pretty good cook or is this your mom doing much of the cooking?
ES: Yeah, my dad—he worked in an Italian restaurant so he knows everything from pastas to pizza to burgers to seafood to everything I got. And apart from the Mexican side that he knows how to manage very well. He has his good mix. My mother also cooks too but I guess my dad has the upper side in cooking.
LA: That’s really interesting. Now have you gone back to Mexico yourself?
[00:17:35] ES: The last time I went was in about 2010 and that was the last time I’ve—and I’m not going back—that was the last time I went. I went in bus. It was a really long ride from North Carolina to the Border, then from the Border to Guerrero, Mexico, which is really long too. I would like to go back again but I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon. There is so much beauty. There’s the food, the culture, the people, I’d say even the air is different. The air is much—everything is just different in a sense that it’s more peaceful, but that’s an oxymoron and I’m not going to get into that.
LA: Why are you hesitant on going back?
ES: There’s plenty of reasons. One would be the drug trafficking and the drug cartels. If you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, you’re potentially in danger. Sometimes when people know you’re tourists, the word goes around—tourists 9 times out of 10 carry some type of money. Tourists want to spend money, they would want to bring things back so that also scares me because if they know I’m a tourist, they’ll find me or they’ll try to go after me and they’ll ask for money and I can’t really defend myself. I don’t really know these people and sometimes, they’re armed and they have guns and knives and things. Sometimes there’s two or three or four people just waiting for anything to come out. That’s why I’m not going back. Apart from that, the government is really corrupt, there are just so many social problems. There are social problems, I’d say, in every part of the world but in Mexico specifically, I wouldn’t want to face it there.
LA: Is this specifically just in your state or your parent’s hometown? I’ve heard of other states next to that, that have been pretty laid back and not really much corruption but maybe talk about [00:20:00] specifically your town.
ES: I feel like southern Mexico is much more effective by the drug trade and the cartels, especially Guerrero. I would also say Michoacán, Tijuana—I don’t think that Northern states like Queretaro, even Quintana Roo or Yucatan are affected as much but for some reason, they centralize in the south and it’s very sad because where my dad is from, is pretty much a ghost town. There are no more houses. The houses are abandoned, and if they’re abandoned, there are animals living in there. It’s horrible. My dad is selling the house that he used to live in, in Mexico when he was a kid. He’s trying to get rid of it because he’s not going back there. If you go back there, they will find you and they will pretty much rob you of whatever you have. This is in a little town called—it’s like a ranch. We say “rancho” and it’s called Chacamero. It’s near the big city of … it’s called… Altamirano, Guerrero. He’s from there. He’s about half an hour. My mom is also from 30 minutes from Altamirano, but she’s directly from the other side and she’s from Tlapehuala. Tlapehuala is like the “La cuna del sombrero.” That means where the sombrero was made. They’re known for making the best sombreros and their originality. It’s not as bad there but you never know, you can’t really trust anybody at this point and it’s very sad. I know cases where, not en el estado de Guerrero, but in other states where you find out that the people that you think are your friends and your allies are not really the people who they seem to be. That’s pretty sad.
LA: How about in the future? Do you ever see yourself maybe, not going to that specific part of Mexico, but any other part?
ES: I would probably like to go to Mexico City. I don’t see myself going back to Guerrero any time soon. I mean in the city I have an uncle and he knows his way around and I don’t think I’d run into any trouble if I was in Mexico City or even in Yucatan. I know some people in Yucatan and I feel like if I visited Yucatan, it would be a completely different experience from Guerrero.
LA: How do you think your parents feel, I wouldn’t say abandoning, but with just leaving behind their lives in Guerrero? Do you think they like that or what are your thoughts? Or what are your thoughts if you were to leave your home town like that?
ES: Wow, well I know my dad constantly thinks about Mexico and where he grew up and so does my mother. I mean my mother doesn’t have anybody here. Her four brothers and sisters are in Mexico City and in Guerrero. It’s been five years, so I can’t imagine not being able to see my brother or my sister. That would just be horrible. But then again, she was married and she had a kid coming along, which was me. I guess her reasons for coming were in a sense, justified but I would feel horrible and I feel that she feels horrible every day she can’t be with her brothers or sisters. Every time there’s Christmas, every time there’s Easter, every time there’s a family gathering and she can’t be there, I know it hurts her and I know it hurts my father. It would hurt me if I had to leave North Carolina and reestablish myself in Canada, or reestablish myself in Brazil. I wouldn’t know anybody. I would just be a complete stranger and I feel like that’s how she felt when she first got here. I feel like that they constantly do want to – they feel like they should go back and they want to go back but the situation right now its… you just don’t want to risk it at all.
[00:24:44] LA: How did your cousins interact with you, knowing that you lived in America when you came back to Guerrero?
ES: They would say “Habla Ingles!” - Like talk English and this was when I first got there [00:25:00. I was a little kid and I’m like “no, no, no, I don’t want to. I don’t want to speak English.” And there like “Come on, come on, you’re American say something!” And I’m like “Nope”. So I don’t know, but before, I was ashamed to speak English in front of them, but when I came back in 2010, they were much older and I was older too. If they asked me something in Spanish and they wanted to know it in English, I would tell them. For example, my cousin’s name is Vicente. He’s like “How would you say my name in English?” I’m like “Vicente would turn into something like Vincent.” They were like “Ok.” They would always look at me differently in the sense that sometimes I would say a word wrong. Apparently, here in the United States, I’m in a Spanish classroom, my Spanish is—oh wow it’s the best Spanish in the world, but when I go back to Mexico and I speak to my aunts and to my uncles and to my cousins they’re like “You said that wrong” or “What did you say? Say it again.” There’s definitely a difference in the way my cousins see me. Obviously we’re cousins, we love each other but there’s some things that they’ll point out and it makes me laugh because I’m like “Ahhh.” I claim to be very Mexican and in fact I’m not really.
LA: Did they ever call you any names over there? For example, maybe like Pocho or Chicano or anything like that because, like you said, you consider yourself to be really, really Mexican. They might have different views but here in America, people might look at you and say “Yeah, he’s Mexican.”
ES: I honestly—I don’t think they call me any names, but I feel like deep down inside they want to call me gringo or gringito because I’m from the United States. When it comes to here, I won’t call myself American. I won’t say I’m American because if I go out to the streets and I let somebody look at me, they’re going to say either one, he’s Hispanic or two, he’s Mexican or three, he’s Asian. I’ve gotten Asian before but I don’t take pride in that. I’m not Asian. That’s why I take the pride in either being Hispanic or Mexican because that’s what people see me as and that’s fine.
LA: Ok, so you answered my next question. If people were to look at you, would they think you are ha ha ok. Have you had any sort of different situations where you’ve felt uncomfortable around a group of people who might be, not be from the same culture as yourself? Has there ever been any scenarios where you’ve done something normal, that’s not normal for them or like even discrimination, like anything?
[00:28:09] ES: I don’t think that…If it’s with another minority group. I’m talking to another minority group, I might feel a tad bit more comfortable, but if I’m talking to a majority group or somebody who’s not a minority, then it gets a little… I wouldn’t want to say weird, but it might be a little uncomfortable since my culture is completely different from the American culture. I do live an American lifestyle but my culture is a Mexican culture. I’m used to speaking Spanish. I’m used to saying certain words with an accent. I’m used to talking about Mexican soccer. I’m used to talking about the Mexican league. So when it comes down to talking to other people who don’t share the same culture as I do, it may get a little weird. When I’m talking to a minority it, I can say, I get a little comfortable. For example, my roommate is African American and I’m comfortable with him. Now, if I roomed with an Asian or an Anglo or even a Latino, it wouldn’t be different. It would be different in a sense if it was with an Anglo because I my whole life, have never really… up until UNC, I have never really interacted with Anglos, or with Whites. I grew up in the west side [00:30:00] in Charlotte. The majority are African American, some Latino, some Asian, so when I got here to UNC, it was kind of like a culture shock. I’m like “oh wow. I’m a minority again.” It’s different so I don’t think there are certain situations where they have like pointed me out or anything like that but I can definitely tell there’s like a slight division. We’re not all that comfortable. I can say 95% of my friends are Hispanic or Latino, or I tend to spend more time with them than I do any other group. And I don’t mean to close other people off, it’s just the way it is. It’s more comfortable and I feel like every other sub group does it the same way or close to the same way.
LA: Growing up, you said you spent most of your time with?
ES: So most of my Latino friends, except for in class I mean I sit beside whoever I have to sit beside to in class, but usually it’s Latino or Hispanic students. Usually we’ll eat lunch together, we’ll text each other “Hey, what are you doing? Want to study together?” We’ll go to the library, make it dinner, then we study more. That’s our daily week. On the weekends, I’ll usually hang out with them as well. It just so happens they’re Latino as well.
LA: How about like in High school or Elementary school. Maybe like your bringing friends over to your house or is that maybe not a thing?
ES: That wasn’t really a thing. In elementary school, I never really brought any friends over. In middle school, that didn’t work either. Not even in high school. I would go out with friends and most of the time, they were minority as well. That was because my school was pretty much all minority—well mostly minority. That’s pretty much that.
LA: Did you ever grow up going to other friends’ house or was that not a thing either?
ES: It wasn’t very much a thing either. I would just go to school, come back home, do whatever you need to do, go to school again. Weekends I’d stay at home, play with my brother, so I really didn’t go to other people’s houses as much.
LA: Have you ever experienced any sort of discrimination growing up?
ES: I personally… discrimination as in, you mean based off race or ethnicity?
LA: Yeah, like racist remarks. Any people racist towards you?
ES: Not really, although there were some occasions where there was this man who was just raging at us. We were backing out at the Home Depot and he just started going at us. “You Mexicans… Blah, blah, blah.” My dad is like, ok we’re just going to leave this guy alone. He doesn’t really know what he’s talking about. I know my dad has encountered a lot of racism in his life. A lot.
LA: Can you describe a little bit about the scenario with the Home Depot?
ES: It was just in a regular, ordinary day. We were just getting some dirt for planting flowers and my dad was just backing out, I remember clear as day. It was probably midday. We were backing out and this guy with a buggie, he was probably ten feet away from us, said “you filthy Mexicans. F- You. Blah, Blah, Blah.” He just started yelling at me dad. He’s like “what is his problem?” Then he pushed the buggie, and he, in a sense almost tried to hit the minivan. My dad was like “Oh no. You’re not going to scratch my minivan.” So we pulled out as fast as we could. We pulled out as fast as we could and we’re like “these people are nuts. Like, Why? I don’t understand. I didn’t do anything to you and you just going over there and making racist remarks and saying things.”
LA: Have you experienced any racism, not towards your dad but just towards you and maybe back home in Charlotte or here or anywhere?
ES: I wouldn’t say not necessarily or not on purpose. I remember one time on campus I was with a group of people and this person was going around shaking people’s hands and he was meeting them for the first time. [00:35:00] It just so happened that he tried to skip over me. I was like, you went from left to right and I was in the middle. He stuck his hand out and instead of going to me, I stuck my hand out and he stuck his hand out, and he just moved the hand over to the other guy. I’m like “ok.” Then he noticed me and he’s like “Oh, hi!” and I’m like “Hi.” I felt a little discriminated. There was no reason to skip over me. I mean, even if you didn’t know me or you knew everybody else, you go in the order. Apparently he was going in order. He had already shaken three other people’s hands so I didn’t know why he had to skip over me. I don’t know if I’m overreacting or if that really is discrimination or not. I don’t know, I felt a little discriminated because there were like two other people after me and he decided to shake their hands before he shook mine.
LA: What sort of support have you had along your young adult journey?
ES: Support… I feel like the biggest support would be my parents. Support would also mean my friends here at the University. Support would be a spiritual support from “CRU” as well. But definitely one of the biggest supports would have to be my parents. My parents are my biggest support. They encourage me, they push me forward, and they let me know that sometimes it’s ok not to do well but in the end, I will do well. They definitely- big support. Friends, family, and spiritual home here at UNC- definitely big support.
LA: How would you compare the society that your parents grew up in to our society here in America? I’m talking about gender roles, racial interactions, etc.
[00:36:56] ES: Well my parents grew up in a very old-fashioned way. Were mom cooks, mom cleans, mom does this and dad goes work and he brings back money, and the children just do what mom says. I feel that nowadays that’s not how it is. Women have the same opportunities as men and I feel like that’s how it should be. But they definitely grew up in a different, very different time set-time frame. That doesn’t really affect them that much. They know that times are changing and people want different things. You said gender roles and something else?
LA: Racial interactions but those don’t have to be specific. It’s just in general, what else? Anything. Those are just examples.
ES: I feel like they’re a little creeped out by the music sometimes that we’ll hear. That I’ll hear or I’ll hear by accident because there’s some music that I really don’t like. Some hip-hop, some R & B that they’ll be like “What are they saying? What are they doing?” Even Mexican music nowadays has been revolutionized, so that’s also a big thing… big difference from their early life till now. Other things… I mean culture. Culture in Mexico is really much different from here. It’s much more family oriented. I would say that a lot about Latin America. Family is a big thing. Not saying that family isn’t a big thing here in the United States, but usually what happens is once you’re 18, you can do whatever you want and leave the house. In a Mexican family or in a Latino household, what usually happens is that you leave but you leave when you get married or you leave when you’re finally ready to be on your own, not because you’re 18, or 19, or 20. So that’s also a big difference.
LA: What about the diversity that they see here, knowing that there’s African Americans, Mexicans, White people, Asian people, Indian people… Everything. Then over there, it’s mainly just Mexican with the occasional “Guero”- light skinned Hispanics
ES: They find it very interesting. They… In a sense, they’re not shocked but they’re just like… they’re bewildered by all the different types of people that are out there. There’s definitely a lot of stereotypes that they’re trying not to… you know. People push on them all the time. You know, “Oh black people this, white people this, Mexicans this.” When they found out there was so many… like the diversity, they were like “wow.” They think it’s great. They see [00:40:00] so many different people from different parts of the world or different ethnicities and different cultures. They become very accepting as well so definitely that.
LA: Why did your family come to settle in North Carolina specifically? Your dad was talking about how he went to California, and he went to Florida. Why did he decide North Carolina in the end?
[00:40:23] ES: He decided for North Carolina because that’s where it was most stable, especially tobacco. Tobacco is very much, very stable, and if they’re not planting tobacco; they’re planting other things, so there was always work. North Carolina just has something that is just… It just felt right for my father to stay here. I don’t know why but he just felt like North Carolina was the place to be, apart from the work. Florida would have been nice but it’s really expensive. California is really nice but it’s much more expensive. North Carolina seemed like a pretty good place to stay.
LA: Who helped y’all settle in your North Carolina town or neighborhood? You said you were born in Raleigh and then you moved to Charlotte so who helped y’all settle, either in both locations, if that’s applicable?
ES: It was the Cabrera family, which we still keep up to this day. The Cabrera family got us a small apartment when I was a few months. It wasn’t until later when they met a family who went to the same church as the Cabrera family went to, and he knew of a house that was being rented or they were selling in the general area. It was selling and my dad looked at it. He’s like “Well, we need somewhere to stay and we need to make it permanent.” After him, the Demares family who helped us. The Cabrera family was Mexican and the Demares was Dominican so they helped us out a lot.
LA: Also, what is life like in your hometown? Just life in general. How is it like?
ES: Home town I’d say…
LA: Not your hometown but your parent’s hometown?
ES: My parent’s hometown in Mexico?
LA: Yes
ES: I would say when I went, it was very liberating. I feel that for some reason here in the United States I’m very closed off. I don’t know why, but for some reason I have a sense of liberty in Mexico. It feels liberating, like I don’t have some type of pressure. Maybe it’s that I don’t have to go to school there. Maybe it’s that I don’t know anybody and that I’m just having an adventure, but I feel like it’s very liberating, very satisfying, very happy, you know. I was never unhappy there unless I was sick, which I was. I’d say it’s a very liberating experience, very satisfying, very peaceful in a sense, although 2010 wasn’t really that bad. Yeah, that’s what I’d say.
LA: What do people normally do there for employment and as a follow up, who migrates?
ES: Who migrates?
LA: What do people do for employment first?
ES: Here?
LA: There
ES: Oh in Mexico?
LA: In Mexico. In your parent’s hometown.
[00:43:18] ES: It depends on your level of education of course. My aunt, she works in la judis… or the jurisdiction. That’s pretty much the big place in… it’s like government pretty much. She works in government. My uncle didn’t get his high school education until a few years ago. Now he’s working at a really good position too. He’s helping out doctors. There are doctors. There are lawyers. Anything you could think of in a small town, they’d probably have. For the people who are just poor, they’ll be working with cattle and/or working with chickens. The women usually stay at home and the men are usually the ones who go to work.
LA: And who usually migrates? In the sense people of a certain gender, of a certain age, or there ambition to get a job in the US, or only people with visas?
ES: I’d say the youngest people, the younger generation so that 18, 19 year olds, 20 year olds, are the ones whom move to the United States with the dream to make more money and hopefully to send money back. That’s the only reason they come to the United States in the first place; to send money back. I feel like the population that is targeted the most is the younger population although there are some older people that try to come over but I’d say that anywhere from age 18 to 23, 24 is the peak where people come.
LA: Alright Erick, well this is about wrap [00:45:00] our discussion up. Is there any final remarks you would like to end off in?
[00:45:11] ES: Well, I just encourage everyone to look past stereotypes, all stereotypes. I encourage everybody to look into what a culture really is before judging it and if somebody has told you something about a culture, maybe think about maybe looking into it and seeing what is and what isn’t. I know there’s thousands of stereotypes for different types of people and I think they’d appreciate it if you just took some time to look into it. That’s what I’d have to say… my two cents.
LA: Alright thank you very much for the insight. Again, this is Luis Acosta. I’m here with Erick. Erick thank you so much for your time today. The time is 3:58, March 30th, 2015. Erick, Thank you again.
ES: Thank you so much. This has been a pleasure. Thank you.