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When I was 11 years old a classmate asked me if my family in Mexico wore sombreros and rode donkeys. At 16 I got asked if my family ran a drug cartel. And at 26 the President of the United States went on National television and referred to Mexican Immigrants as “Bad Hombres”.
Being Mexican-American in the U.S. over the last few decades has been rough. There has been so much fear and misinformation spread about the country, that the world is struggling to see it as anything but criminal. As novelist Chimamanda Adichie eloquently put it, “Show a people as one thing, and only one thing, over and over again and eventually that is what they will become.”
When that young man asked me about the donkeys in Mexico all those years ago - I didn’t dismiss it. Instead, I went to the store and bought myself a camera. The photos I came back with weren’t perfect ( far from it ) but they were honest and they opened his mind, to another Mexico.
That’s the power of photography, and it’s exactly that, that motivates my work today.
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