For someone from Arkansas, the Mexican border was always something just a little intangible. I heard about the border much in the same way that you probably have. Through sporadic news reports when something would happen like an influx of illegal crossings, some kind of violence, or something to do with the war on drugs. Unless someone was talking about their vacation, any news out of Mexico typically wasn’t good.
In my community, probably like yours, I’ve seen pockets of Hispanic people grow over the years. And I, probably like you, just had a vague mental connection that they came from Mexico and let whatever stereotypes I had fill in the details. I understood on some level that there was a lot that I didn’t know, but if I’m being honest here, I just didn’t care enough to find out. That all changed when I decided to spend a summer on the South Texas coast.
And then this happened.