Letters to the Editor

From the issue of April 5, 2001

Yvette Maldonado

Misanthropic Miami
People here used to be so nice -- what happened? Before living here I used to come to the United States, mainly Miami, Hollywood, and Fort Lauderdale. This town used to be a paradise, in the whole sense of the word. I could not believe that people were always smiling, saying "Hi" to me with no reason. I always met friendly people everywhere.

In the early Nineties this continued unchanged. I thought this was a good place to spend part of my life and decided to pursue graduate studies here in Miami. I thought South Florida could be an example of what mankind must be. People from different cultures sharing all together, an Anglo with a Latin or an African American playing chess or holding hands because they were a couple. How can a person not realize that physical and cultural differences do not have anything to do with real human values and intelligence?

But now we have finally arrived at the new millennium, and I see things every day that are frustrating. What is going on, people? To me discrimination is solely ignorance. Unless you are close-minded, how can you not see that there are good and bad people, educated and ignorant, honest and dishonest people everywhere, not just from one culture or country? I know it's comfortable to judge people at first sight, but the truth is more profound. The truth requires thoughts and analyses. The truth requires loving.

It is a fact that our histories, from every country and every culture, have been different, but who said that differences were bad? The French people said it first: Vive la difference! I say all this just to remind you to be what you American people used to be: that friendly smile I miss so much. Nowadays I see most people walking faster, not making eye contact, avoiding other people as if they were afraid. Afraid of what?

We, the new immigrants, are fighting as hard as you did decades ago. You don't know how hard we try to survive here. I know there are people who have made you believe that new immigrants steal or have bad manners, but many people are honest, came here to study, to work, to do the right things. And we wish to be welcome and to hear your worldwide-known "Hi."

I've read the debate in New Times about Cuban people and Anglo Americans. It has been very interesting, but I am not Cuban and I am not Anglo. So what? I am here anyway. I know it is hard to accept different people, most of all when they are not educated and look so different and show weird customs to you. But all you Americans who have already made it here, open your eyes and your hearts. Don't pretend we don't exist. We are as smart, as good, as educated, as honest, or as bad and as poor as your people can be.

Be what you used to be: the nice American people who always smiled and said "Hi" to everybody, no matter who. And by the way, forgive my mistakes. I am still making efforts to learn your language.

Karina Urdaneta M.

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