I typically embrace my Latin and Native American heritage rather than my white side. It may be because when I was a kid my last name always seemed to surprise people. Other students and sometimes adults would discover it and say things like “Are you MEXICAN?!” or “you like burritos, right Rach?” followed by laughter. It always made me feel as if there was a negative energy around my name. As a child, this lead me to want to change my name to my step-fathers white last name ‘Collier’. I thank my lucky stars that my ignorance of the past did not allow for this.
In my adult years I became more and more proud of my diverse heritage, I realized how cool it was to have such a unique and varied background. I made an effort to learn more about Argentina; how to cook traditional dishes, drinking mate, and learning their political history only to be accosted during the process by an overweight American hick. When I was 20 years old I worked as a waitress while putting myself through University. A rather crabby man came in and appeared to be on the outs with his feeble looking wife. Eventually he lost his cool and began spewing out racist garbage at me. He started by calling me a ‘wetback that is taking his people’s jobs’ and then proceeded to tell me that ‘I probably fucked up his order because I am a stupid Mexican’. I was shocked to say the least and proceeded to calmly tell him that ‘I am not Mexican, but if I were it would leave me with more dignity than being someone like him’. I then ran in the back of the restaurant and burst into tears. This only strengthened my stance against racism and it made me more proud to be who I am.
I could go into great depth about the anger and frustration this caused me or argue how I am a mixture of many beautiful ethnicities, including a European Caucasian background, but I am guessing that the reader assumes as much. The most important lesson that I learned from these acts of racism, is that people that feel the need to feel superior to another race only incite hatred within themselves and others and promote a cycle of anger. No benefits come from being a racist, unless you like being miserable. I return to my point..
Sometime in the last few years I came across this website that made me realize that I must embrace my white side. It was eye opening to see just how white I am, as everything this blogger says is relevant to me. Take a look and have a laugh: