Out of Dodge

It might be time to get out of dodge. There’s been a growing amount of brown on brown, brown on black, and black on brown violence in the area. It’s increasingly transcending age groups, to include victims all the way in their senior years, with assailants broadening in age also. This isn’t just something that I’m hearing on the news and in police reports to the community, it’s something I can feel when I’m out.

Although I am not brown, I’ve been told I look Hispanic. Specifically, I’ve been told that I look French Guyanese and Spanish mestizo. Both are groups not completely appreciated by Central and South Americans; both represent groups that colonized the Americas and that control much of the wealth.

Until recently, the only issues that I had to face were from Hispanic mothers. They would scold me for not knowing Spanish, and my statements of not being Hispanic were always met with lectures about denying my roots. As frustrating as these arguments are, they have never challenged my physical safety.

Today, I walked into a StarBucks for some tea and a muffin. I am admittedly dressed somewhat preppy with a polo shirt, skinny jeans, and topsider shoes. As an Asian American, this outfit is really nothing out of the ordinary. Yet, I managed to attract the attention of two Hispanic males (the only Hispanics in the store), who stared at me with disapproving and angry faces. The looks followed me thru the line, waiting for my drink, and until I consciously chose a crappy seat all the way across StarBucks from them. They have now returned to their conversation with occasional looks my direction. Regardless of their intent, it was enough to make me uncomfortable, influencing my decision of where to sit, questioning my day’s outfit and if I was going to get called derogatory names.

From my observations over the years, and talking to brown friends, my outfit and lack of cultural respect (not greeting in Spanish, for one) is perceived as flaunting my mestizo/colonial socioeconomic position in Central and South American societies. In other words, I am being a rich snob. I am not rich. I am not a snob. And, I am not Hispanic. Yet, all of these things, accompanied with the location that we live, influence my daily life. It is getting increasingly frustrating and concerning that a minority culture that I don’t belong to is challenging my life, in America.

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 14th, 2012 at 10:47 am and is filed under Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 Responses to “Out of Dodge”

  1. Jen Says:

    This whole thing sounds strange. And scary. You were just out getting a drink and something to eat. Why the hell would other people care how you dress and what you look like and how you act? That’s just fucked up.

  2. with0ut1nk Says:

    IKR, no one should care how I dress or what I look like. I think it’s a mix of prejudices (racism between and within ethic groups), and people not being happy with themselves, projecting their disgruntledness on others.

  3. Jen Says:

    Well that’s scary, don’t you think? You would think that after all the things mankind has gone through (war, annihilation of certain groups of people… revolutions…) to get to this stage, it looks like we’re starting all over again.

 

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