Wetback American

I'm educated but brown so no matter where I go I'm a Wetback American.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Shame on you. No wait, shame on me.

If you haven't heard Michelle Obama's podcast then you need to do that, like now.  It is on Spotify.  Go listen.  It was this week's episode that sparked my blog.  Mrs. Obama and her guest Michele Norris put in words how I've been feeling since the whole COVID/BLM thing started.  I feel disillusioned.  I haven't completely lost faith in humanity but pretty close.  

It has made me feel crazy for months.  The constant contradictions:
  • All Lives Matter but refuse to wear a mask
  • Mexicans are evil but not you Martha you are okay
  • Black people are thugs but not your husband Martha
  • Oh, you are one of the good ones
  • I don't like Trump's language but it's okay because he is a good Christian
  • I know Trump doesn't go to church but he's a good Christian
It makes my head hurt but that isn't really the point here.  1 - Fuck Trump.  2 - Repeat #1

To that actual point, my disillusionment.  Me losing my faith in my fellow man.  Me unfriending family and friends because despite knowing me, they believe "being a good one" is protection.

I don't understand.  How can you know me and my husband and my children and still tell me "All Lives Matter."  How can you hear my stories about dealing with racism, my lived experience, and then tell me racism doesn't exist?  

In all that the honest truth, I'm mad at myself because I didn't see you for who you really are.  I'm mad at myself for believing you are a good person.  I'm mad that when you showed me your ass the first 40 times, I turned away and still believed in you.  I'm mad that I am 41-years-old and still wear rose-colored glasses.

There is a saying, "When people tell you who they are, believe them." I need to live that saying.  I always believe in the good in people.  I will see the shiniest best part of people.  I see their deep-down goodness.  I still believe it is there but I don't want to pretend that people will allow it to the surface anymore.  

I have often told my husband that you can't give people what they won't receive, whether that be love, respect, money, or whatever.  You can try really hard to be a good friend to someone but if they don't want your friendship then you can't be their friend.  As someone who refuses to speak to people, I know what I'm talking about.  I know there have been people who wanted to be my friend but I simply refused.  Basically, I need to listen to my own advice.  Just because I know someone is good deep in their heart doesn't mean they will dig deep and try to understand me or defend me.

I think that has been the hardest lesson.  Some people just suck.  It doesn't matter what their politics are, their skin color, or even their lived experience.  Some people just suck.  They can look you in your eyes and tell you that you matter and then do everything in their power to hurt you.  The worse part has been pointing it out and being told I'm crazy.  

I have had "friends" post horrible things about immigrants and how they should all be sent back.  When I point out that my parents are immigrants, well my parents are good immigrants.  They didn't mean my parents.  When there was talk about trying to send back all anchor babies or any children born to immigrants who were not citizens when the child was born, I pointed out that would apply to me.  My parents were here legally but were not citizens when I was born.  Oddly enough there were members of my own family who were in favor of this.  Their argument was that it would only affect children of illegal immigrants so we were safe.  If one isn't safe then none of us are safe!

Anyways, I'm rambling at this point.  I haven't lost all faith.  I still wear rose-colored glasses because I'm not me without them.  I have to believe in people.  It will probably be the death of me.  I'm going to trust the wrong person at some point.  I have told more than one person that I would have been Jeffery Dahmers' bestie asking him all about his boyfriends that never seem to last too long and would have been actually shocked when he was arrested. I'm just that person: too trusting and at this point just a little bit heartbroken.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Hey lady, check your privilege!

So I wrote a post over on Wheatless Mama about doing the work of becoming "woke" so this post is a little bit different. You know I don't post here too often. Actually, the things that really get under my skin tend to end up on Twitter as rants but anyways. Checking your privilege is like not easy. While I do know that I have many privileges in my life, it wasn't until I took the Buzzfeed Privilege Quiz that I even thought about some of my privileges so here goes.

 My privileges: 

 1 - I am cis-gendered. I was born and looked like a girl. I feel like a girl. I present as a "traditional" female. I have gone through my tom-boy phases but by and large, my tits and ass put me strongly in the female category. 

 2 - I am heterosexual. I am a female who is sexually attracted to men. No parts of me are into having a sexual or romantic relationship with a female. 

 3 - I have children. I procreated and therefore I am not harassed about my decisions in relation to my "womanhood" or fertility. It took me a long time to finally get pregnant with DD1; I was 30 when I had her. Then a miscarriage about 2 years later left me seemingly unable to have more children. I was constantly tortured about when would I have another baby while longing in my heart for another child and mourning in secret the I had lost. Then by some miracle, DD2 came along 7 years after DD1. I am so privileged. While people ask about me having a son, for the most part, they leave my uterus status alone now. 

4 - I am educated, like very highly educated.  As I have stated before, I hold several degrees: BA - History, MLIS - Library and Information Studies, MEd - Curriculum and Instruction, EdD - Educational Leadership.  So many doors are open for me because of my degrees.  My degrees mean that during all of this Covid stuff, I haven't missed a paycheck.

5 - I am fluent in English with only a Texas accent. My parents came to this country during a time when learning English and using it without an accent was paramount.  Over the phone, you cannot tell I'm Mexican or that English is actually my second language.  

6 - I have an "American" last name.  This goes hand in hand with #5.  My last name does not give away my ethnicity.  There have been a few studies that show people with foreign-sounding names get different opportunities from those with "American" or "White" names.  I actually use both of my last names professions because I do not appreciate people's reactions to a Brown face showing up when they were expecting a "Doctor."

7 - I have a job with a salary.  Like many people in higher education, I have a salary.  Now, most weeks, I work well over 40 hours but even if I don't hit 40, my paycheck is still the same.

8 - My parents are both alive, relatively healthy, and live with me.  I have 24/7 childcare.  My girls love my parents and they love having the girls all the time.  In fact, this partly the reason I commute almost 2 hours each way to work.  My parents don't want to move and my girls refuse to live without their grandparents.

9 - My look is a bit more racially ambiguous.  I feel that I look very Mexican, especially in the summer when I am quite brown but I have more than once been told I was lying about being Mexican.  I don't look Mexican, they say.  I think they think this is a compliment.  So it takes people a while to decipher my background which means I am usually treated as a tan White lady or pretty Indian lady.

10 - I have a working car.  I have had ex-friends leave the country for political reasons.  While I understand their reasons, it is 100% privilege.  A privilege that I to can indulge in.  More than once I have toyed with the idea of moving back to Mexico or going north to Canada.  This is something I can do because I can just hop in my car and go.  I am not dependent on public transportation.  I can get a wild hair and just go.  

11 - I do not have any visible or invisible disabilities and am quite healthy.  If you look at me I'm just normal.  I stand straight.  I walk on two feet.  I do not have any major health issues.  

These are just 11 off the top of my head, with the help of Buzzfeed.  Now I'm a 41-year-old Mexican woman married to a Black man raising biracial children in deep East Texas so I have a lot of issues that I deal with on a daily basis but y'all I'm so lucky.  Yes, I have a ton of student loan debt.  Yes, I am underpaid by comparison to most people with my level of education and experience but am fully employed at a job I love.  I live such a privileged life in comparison to so many people.  If I can make a list of my privileges and know I still have even more that I could list then you can too.  Privilege is real.  Many of the things I listed I didn't do anything to get.  Some of them are the result of a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I survive and I fight.  I advocate and I try to be an ally.  I'm so far from the perfect BLM advocate or LGBTQIA ally but I am willing to say I have benefitted from being "normal" and I'm going to use that privilege for good.