By Adrian Gomez


My brother Gabriel was going up to my grandfather’s house in San Jacinto, driving his white 2003 Ford Mustang and wearing black sunglasses, when he noticed a white and green Border Patrol truck following him. Gabriel immediately realized his mistake, he was wearing the wrong skin color.
I am a “guerro,” a nickname in Spanish for a fair-skinned Mexican, complete with my blondish brown hair. My brother’s brown skin and dark curly hair are more “traditionally Mexican.” I have driven the same road up to see my grandfather countless of times without being harassed. For my dark-skinned hermano any venture into less-diverse parts of our state can be trouble.
Same family, different color, different experiences.
Gabriel kept driving right at the speed limit, waiting for the lights to flash. After five more minutes the lights came on as Gabriel was preparing to exit the freeway towards my grandfather’s house, but he pulled to the side of the road.
This was the third time this has happened to him.
Agents searched the car, nothing found and my brother continued on his way, angry at the situation. Agents saw a young man with brown skin. I see a student at San Diego State University, an Eagle Scout, a community service volunteer.
None of that mattered to the Border Patrol agent, who once again traumatized my brother.
It is difficult for people to walk in the shoes of others.
Even as his brother I cannot fully relate to what Gabriel has experienced. What I do know is that all the little slights add up. Gabriel did not deserve to be hassled by the Border Patrol that day, but every time he drives he is looking in his mirror for flashing lights.


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