Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Life in NYC

Half of my genetic material comes from a man who comes from a long line of green/blue eyed blondes. The other half of my gene pool comes from a woman with a more diverse background that as a result has more earth tones in her complexion. I like to think that I am a beautiful mixture of the best of most worlds (I have yet to hear about an Asian in my family history, though I am pretty sure we have everything else).

Anyway, yesterday at a job related affair that I am not at liberty to discuss I stumbled across a nasty situation.

Yesterday someone met me, thought I was brilliant, and then once I made mention of my last name immediately decided that because there is some sort of correlation between my intellectual quotient and my ethnicity that I couldn't really be that brilliant after all.

I thought I would die, then I thought I would kill her, and then I thought that living in "the land of the free" is shit.

Throughout my life I always considered myself lucky that I never got to experience racism first hand. Aside from my current issue with my neighbors, I thought I was home free. But I was wrong.

Once I got home I couldn't let it go. I thought a lot about it and it dawned on me that had this person even implied to an African American what they were implying to me, everybody and their mother would be on top of them. Meanwhile, who sticks up for us?? Nobody.

I think that once again it's time for some social change. I remember my friend Marlene telling me about the Young Lords and how back in the day they were the first to demand equal basic rights for Hispanics in NYC. Where did they go I wonder? It seems ludicrous to me to think that Hispanics are the largest minority in the US and yet they lack representation. We need our own heroes so that we don't continue to be treated like we are freaking indians.

I've always thought that at the end of the day we were people and that race/ethnicity was something that should take a backseat to our actual capabilities. Apparently there are people in the world who disagree. My last name is WHO I am but it's not WHAT I am. As a result of this experience I have become bitter towards ignorant people as a whole, but I think that now I'm beginning to see that maybe this is what I should be doing: trying to change the world one person at a time.


Chokomokolatura said...

hmmmm...same happens to me, I say "Lazzaro" they say "ohh Italian" and I say no "half dominican-half Puertorican actually"...and then...oh well, still serves me better than the usual association with the Pakis..

te veo el Sabado??? di que si...and bring all those friends I see in yer pictures..the Delancey is such a cool place...look at its picture gallery..

Gabemaster said...

"trying to change the world one person at a time."

Amen to that. I've been there and I know is something that will hang in your head for a while. It hits you like a sudden and unexpected tornado or something of that magnitude. Then you go through a roller coaster of negative emotions because you just don't know how to feel about it. Like you said, change the world one person at a time and use that as a (not the only one of course)motivation to keep improving yourself and demostrating that kind of people how wrong they are by making them eat their words. If there is ANYTHING I can help you with, even if it is to just let things off your chest u can curse me out I wont take it personally hehe. Seriously though, if you need someone to talk to don't hesitate on letting me know. I'll be here. :)

Bracuta said...

Well... what can I tell you? People like that are only on earth to eat someone else's food and breathe our air; the way he/she judged you because of your last name tells you a lot about what type of person he/she is. But like you told me once, don't let it get to you. Be proud of who you are and if people judge you because of that, it's their loss, not yours.
Then again, dime quiƩn fue para mandarle par de morenos a sonarlo...

Pia Talks said...

when my best friend, the becoming infamous Lucia, had an Anglo-last name every door opened to her.

When people would see or speak to her doors would open.

But when she took back her original last name--or took her last husband's--doors would slam.

She was still the same person.

When her daughter was entering school then middle school, Lucia would have to devote her vacation and sick time to making sure that she didn't get tracked into a school or program because of her name.

I always talk about how great New York is and how not-prejudiced people are.

The truth is, I guess, it's better than most places.

Lucia's daughter has encountered prejudice because she's Caucasion--sort of looks like a mixture of everything, and is the most beautiful 14 year old in the history of the world--not that I'm prejudiced or anything.

She's also experienced prejudice because she's Hispanic.

I thought that it would be way different for Manhattan kids of her generation and it mostly is, person at a time!