Saturday, October 17, 2009

Stained


...So open up your little mind.

I was watching clips of that show "What would you do?" on racism and I was quite moved. One experiment placed a black actress in a clothing store, with two other actors playing a store sales associate and store security guard. Their job was to give the black shopper a hard time, doing things such as asking her to leave the store and referring to her as one of "those people". The onlookers didn't know that the people in question were actors and so, the question was "What would they do?" Not surprisingly, most people ain't do shit but move further away from the drama. The majority of people who spoke up were of color, and one white woman offered to leave the store with the black woman when she overheard the blatant discrimination. As soon as that happened, a herd of customers followed. [This was in downtown NYC by the way. Shocked?] I wasn't surprised by all that, what I didn't expect was the knot that formed in my stomach and the tears that welled up in my eyes. I was furious, disgusted, saddened, sympathetic [with the victim], and furious all over again. Even though I knew they were actors, my reaction was involuntary.

The discrimination I witnessed was totally new to me because despite being a "minority"... I, to my honest recollection; have never experienced racism. I think there's a variety of reasons for that. First of all, I'm a light-skinned, attractive Latina. And I can't speak for black/dark-skinned people, but I'm sure we can all agree that for one reason or another, most racism is directed towards them. Not only am I Latina [and seemingly racially ambiguous], I'm thin and petite which translates to most as: harmless. I also speak proper English, use and understand many SAT words, and have no discernible [Spanish] accent. I have a feeling that those aforementioned attributes have spared me of most racism that would otherwise come my way. Lord knows my life may have been different had I been a big and burly coal-skinned broad. You hate to read it, but it's the truth. Racism is so inherent in Americans, it's almost as if people of color are stained  with stereotypes!

When I look at people, I don't notice their skin color or try to guess their race - it really doesn't matter to me. I don't treat people differently due to their race, I don't change the way I talk or the way I behave. I don't give them different handshakes. The only time I'd say I notice race is when someone embodies a stereotype to a T, or when someone makes their race their complete identity, because then it's pretty obvious. Other than that, the only thing I'm trying to find out is: "Do you speak any other languages?!" Because we all know good and well that I'm always trying to get some free language classes! Ain't no shame in being multi-lingual ya heard!

Growing up, I never dealt with "not fitting in". But methinks that's more a mixed kid problem. Or a black or white problem... Truth be told when most discussions of racism come up, Latinos and Asians are largely left out of the conversation. That's racism in and of itself you jerks! Anyway, I've never been one for cliques or following the crowd anyway so I could give two shits about fitting in. In high school I had a handful of close friends but that had more to do with a poor personality fit than a race fit [I thought everyone was a raging idiot... Judging by the amount of kids from my graduating class who've done nothing but get wifed up or pregnant just three years later, I wasn't wrong]. I have had a few of my fellow Hispanics question me about things: my vernacular, how come I don't look like most other Dominicans? How come I'm such a "blanquita?!"... Basically why wasn't I a hood trick like the rest of them and why didn't I have my name on a chain around my neck? And on my wrist and finger and on my earrings? And how come I didn't rock Timbs and Uptowns and how come I wasn't fucking in the 9th grade like everyone else? Because I have a thing called class. And my parents would've killed my little trampin' ghetto ass, that's why. I never really gave a hoot what those morons had to say to me because they were reading on an 8th grade level well into college. I was reading on an 8th grade level in 3rd grade!

And there I went on a tangent. I think I need to hire somebody to tell me when to relax because lord do I get passionate! Anyways. Yeah so racism is inhumane and gross. At least get to know someone first and then judge them... like me!

But before I go... A tip to all of those who so kindly question my citizenship: Unless you are hiring, DO NOT ask someone if they were born in America or how often they visit their home country. It doesn't matter and it just makes you look closed-minded and/or racist. As a matter of fact, even if you are hiring it is illegal to ask someone if they're American - you're only allowed to ask people if they are legally able to work in this country. I'm sure almost every Hispanic, Asian or person with an accent has gotten this at one point or another. Stop questioning us! At least we are acquainted with our culture and can speak our country's native language unlike so many bastard Americans.

Alright everyone. Remember to be smart and be nice. The difference between all of us is like the difference between brown eyes and blue eyes. They're all just eyes, that see the world the same.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Be succinct and keep it classy :)