Florencia Ruiz-Mendoza

Being Dual/Dualidad


Born in Mexico City where she spent the first three decades of her life, she came to New York City in 2009, on a Columbia University Human Rights Fellowship. She earned a B.A in History in Mexico and pursued graduate studies at The New School University for Social Research. She has been a researcher, lecturer, and activist for forced disappearance in Mexico and has published academic articles in Spanish. She has lectured in Mexico, the United States, Argentina and Chile. Her work related to human rights has been featured in The New York Times, Univision, Telemundo, and other major newspapers in Mexico. She has been taking writing workshops since 2014 at Gotham Writers and The Writers Studio in New York City. Also, with the renowned writers, Nick Flynn and Rosa Nissan. She is working on the competition of her full-length memoir about migration and love relationships. She also loves to do community work and works as a political canvasser. This is her first literary publication.

Dedicated to Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and Gustavo C. García

Being Dual means to have crossed uncountable times the Pushkin Park in Mexico City.  It means your husband tells you that Aleksander Pushkin was his father’s favorite writer. Pushkin the Russian, Ansel, my late father in law, the inmate of Stalin’s concentration camps in Siberia in 1941.

Being Dual means to feel hurt when you learn from Mexican Dreamers’ narrative what is their conception of Mexico: a bad place to be, the land of No-opportunity, a shithole country maybe?  It is to understand their vision of reality.  It is to understand how they constructed their identity: they are better off as undocumented citizens in the USA than citizens in Mexico. Being dual means to embrace the dichotomy: American dream versus Mexican Nightmare.

Being Dual means to be six years old and feel ashamed of being born in a third world country, unlike the super powerful neighbor: Estados Unidos. Being dual is to have been criticized for coming from a culture that relied on Inquisition; being dual is to learn American history and being terrified when you know about the United States of America’s lynching against black men. Systematic lynching.  The Burning of them, alive, the chopping of their fingers off to prevent their self-defense.  Spanish Inquisition versus systematic charcoaling of black people.

Being  dual is not knowing what is more lacerating: Armies of narco-boys dismembering human bodies in order to fulfill their dream of getting a house for their mamás, even at the cost of their own lives, at the south of the Río Bravo. Or a teenager stealing his parents’ gun, ready to kill (and kill) his high school classmates at the north of Río Bravo.

Being dual means to understand the rivalry between dark people: Black and Latinxs. It is to embrace as a Latina the Black History in America. It means to understand the injustice perpetrated against Black people, whose hands picked cotton and kneaded the wealthy of this country at the same. It is be hurt  when you learned that Hispanics (Mexicans, per se) were granted the right to vote thanks to  the Guadalupe Treat that protected them, and gave them citizenship (second class/segregated/ but still citizenship). Black people would have a long struggle to fight still; a hundred more years to become voters.

Being dual means to be grateful with Rebeca Solnit’s essays, in which she revisited the history of California and vindicates the role of the Mexican as the original habitants of the Californian homeland. It means to understand that Mexicans, as descendants of Spaniards, were also the thieves of the land and the slayers of Native American peoples in the Southwest: The Apaches, the Pueblos, the Mojave, you mention them.

Being dual means to be deeply grateful with a country that granted you a home, nationality, and citizenship, but knowing at the same there is no place for you, because you are Mexican. Being dual is to love America, a country whose president hates people like me.



© The Acentos Review 2020