i'm 1/4 hispanic. you'd never know it to look at me- i'm a freckled, green-eyed redhead (well... not a real redhead... but still), and i look like the stereotypical irish woman. but i am. my maternal grandfather is mexican, my mother is half. i've always been very proud of my heritage, especially once i learned about mexican culture and history. but, as a person of mixed ethnicity, i have had to deal with a lot of stupid people. and a lot of these people have been my own relatives and friends.

for example: this exchange went on between my olive-skinned, dark-haired, blue-eyed brother and a fully anglo relative:
relative: "you'd look funny with brown eyes."
nick (my brother): "naw... i'd just look really mexican."
relative: "exactly."
supposedly, this was not intended as an insult. this was the same relative who once told my mexican grandfather a "funny story" about a dog who hated "wetbacks", then suddenly began backtracking: "uh... i don't mean all mexicans! i just mean wetbacks! this dog could tell the difference!" yeah, that's a pretty talented dog.

then there was the relative who told me she was against interracial marriages "but then again, without interracial marriages, we wouldn't have you!" oh, thanks! i'm so glad you approve of my very existence.

the scariest moment was when my father & stepmother took nick and i to visit some of her relatives. they didn't know my brother and i very well, and apparently didn't know we were *oh, gasp!* not 100% anglo. halfway through our visit, they started bitching about how once mexicans move into a town, they ruin the whole place. i didn't know whether to be hurt- these were people i'd felt i was developing a family relationship to- or angry. in the end, i was both.

but ethnic idiocy isn't just for family! once, i went to ihop with a former friend of mine, and while we were eating, a gloria estefan song came on. i was like, "ew, i hate this song." to which she responded, "you don't like ricky martin either!" and went into a long thing about how i was so uncultured in all things latin, and it was "really ironic, considering." since this person was a friend at the time, i let it slide, but come on! first of all, gloria and ricky are cuban and puerto rican. i am mexican. not every latin american country is the same place. that's like saying a french person isn't in touch with their culture because they don't like rammstein. second, there is more to latin culture than two shitty pop singers, believe it or not. nobody would ever say, "hey, you're unamerican cause you don't like the backstreet boys and britney spears!" this girl also felt free to use the term "wetback" (my #1 fucking pet peeve) in my presence, and pout because "skanky mexican guys" talked to her. gee, think she'd mind so much if they were skanky *white* guys? (not to mention, they were never very skanky... but they were undeniably mexican, i guess that's offense enough.)

it infuriates me that i have to deal with this bullshit. this is not even a fraction of what i'd have to put up with if i looked hispanic, and i know it. but when the racism you face comes from the people you're closest to, it's a uniquely painful experience.


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