If you’ve ever read anything I’ve posted, you already know I have no problem calling out racism when I see it. Hell, I was told to go back to my “ancestral country” just last month, after commenting on the underrepresentation of minorities in American cinema. It was uncalled for, but it happens.
It happens a lot, actually. I’ve been told to learn English and go back to my country time and again, and it’s always infuriating on countless levels. First, I studied languages in college. I speak four. English was my first, and I work pretty hard to improve upon my use of this particular language, since it’s the one I write in most often. Second, I’m American. This is my country, even if my parents were both born in Mexican towns no one has ever heard of or had a margarita in. Here’s the kicker, my parents and I are American as apple pie. Interestingly enough, that last part usually pisses people off.
When some folks hear me say I also consider myself Mexican, their indignation becomes instantly apparent. I can almost see the rage spark deep within their pupils once my words register. “Either you’re American or you’re Mexican; you can’t have it both ways,” they inform me. What they don’t know is that I can have it both ways because I am, in fact, both.
Sometimes when people look at me, they see an outsider, a toilet scrubber, a servant, cheap labor, the enemy. Those people don’t see an American. Oftentimes, I haven’t even gotten a word out before those same people start making some serious judgment calls about things like my character or ability to understand multisyllabic words. I live proudly with that reality. I say “proudly” because I take great pride in my Mexican heritage and dealing with those kinds of assumptions is a part of being a Mexican-American. It’s annoying, insulting and hurtful, but my heritage means a lot to me. In fact, I find it odd to refer to my aunts, uncles, cousins and friends living in Mexico as part of some far-away heritage. They are part of my now–my reality. My family didn’t get on some Mayflower hundreds of years ago in search of the promise land because we didn’t need to. We were already here. We’re not outsiders and we’ve been “Americans” far longer than you.
Racism is awful stuff. In case you hadn’t noticed, it just made me fly into full Internet Rant Mode while attempting to compile the Monday news links for you. So, instead giving you your first News Links post of 2016, I give you just one news link, an infographic and this rant. I’m sorry.
Hopefully, we can at least agree that racism is bullshit, because that’s the easy part. Deciding what actually constitutes racism appears to be much more involved. To be clear, creating a dating site designed for white folks to meet and hook up with other white folks, is not racist.
JDate, the dating website for Jewish singles isn’t racist and never was, right? Latinos have Amigos.com, Indians have DesiCrush.com and Black people have BlackCupid.com yet none of those are considered racist. If it’s not racist for us, then it’s not racist for them. WhitePeopleMeet.com may sound like the place to go if you need directions to the Aryan Nation, but in reality it’s just another map to pound town.