Tuesday, December 10, 2013

the issue with stuff

I don't know how to start off this post because talking about something like racial stereotypes and profiling and cultural ignorance stresses me out. Part of me feels like I'm not smart enough to talk about it, but I'm going to because it's something that's heavy on me and what else is the internet for other than pouring out your inner dialogue?

I wanted to write this because Chanelle posted on facebook a Buzzfeed article about microagressions. 
It's sick that these things still exist and we see it everyday - whether it's someone saying to another person, "But you don't act black" or "For an Asian person you're a good driver" or "But you look white" -- y'all, this is not okay. Right? RIGHT?

I was talking to Chanelle about this after we both read the article. It made me think.

I will never have to go through what my father went through because I don't "look Puerto Rican." It's this strange dichotomy of having something in your blood and yet being so far removed from it. My father didn't teach my sisters and I Spanish because, why would he? He was tortured when he was young and beat up and jumped because he was a Puerto Rican man. Why would he want to teach his daughters to speak Spanish if it was something he had to repress?

I grew up in a household that simultaneously celebrated our Hispanic culture but also was very much removed from it. I am a Puerto Rican woman. Yet when people say things like, "But you don't look Puerto Rican." Like what the fuck does that even MEAN? I am so removed from a culture that is mine but isn't at the same time.

There's this weird pressure. Like a few weeks ago I was asked to perform on an all-Latina improv team. I was so excited because duh that's awesome. And when I went up on stage with them I thought, "Oh SHIT. Everyone here probably thinks I'm faking it. That I'm not actually Hispanic."

HOLD UP. 1. Stop it. 2. STOP IT SELF.

Why do we think like this? You'd think hey, it's 2013. People are over thinking so small. LOLOLLLLL. 

It's real and it exists. And I'm just writing this from my own perspective. I went through this phase in like middle school where I didn't want anyone to know I was Puerto Rican. A boy in my sixth grade class asked me, "What are you? Are you mixed?" and I don't know why it scared me but it did. I forced my mom to iron my hair with a real straight up iron for clothes. I tried to stuff it really deep down.

And then I went through a phase in high school where I was like, "Shit. I'm Puerto Rican. This is COOL." And I tried to like, tap into it more but it felt so far away and then I got scared and thought, "I can't be accepted into Hispanic culture because I'm too white."

It's just bizarre, right? Why do we have to mold ourselves into any kind of label? Why, as a 12 year old, was I embarrassed that someone thought I was Hispanic? Already at 12 years old my mind was shifted to think, "I must blend in. I must blend in. I must blend in." I would think, "I'm half Puerto Rican so that means I'm ok! I'm only half!!!!" 

Dumb. Dumb dumb dumb. I'm just as proud of my Italian side as I am of anything.

And then when you call someone out for saying something like, "That guy talks so white!" you're the asshole. You're the asshole who takes everything TOO seriously and is TOO offended. Okay. Yeah. 

I don't care if I'm the asshole blogging about race. Whatever.

1 comment:

  1. When people ask me where I am from I say all sorts of crazy shit like "I'm half French half Egyptian" or "I'm Cuban and Indian" I make shit up cause it doesn't matter and I like to hear people say "Oh yeah, I can see that" Sometimes when I tell them "my family is from Mexico" I get "You don't look Mexican" To which I want to scream how the FUCK DO YOU KNOW? Have you ever been to Mexico? All of it? Are you aware of the vast European, African and MesoAmerican influence on Mexico? I am French, Spanish, Jewish, Aztec and Mayan- maybe that's why "I don't look Mexican."