Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Freedom Camp (teh l4m3) Tribute

This is inspired by a recent post of teh l4m3's that hit close to home.

Upon looking at me, you will be struck by two things: 1) how utterly handsome I am, and 2) a strangely undefined ethnicity. I am, for the record, half Mexican and half English; my mother is 1st generation born in this country, and my last name is a town 11 miles or so outside of Oxford. Though I have my anglophile tendencies I identify myself as Mexican - it is how I was raised. I was raised a Mexican kid by his Mexican mom and her family. Due to divorce (and other unsavory details) my dad was hardly ever around and my time with him and his family felt strange and fairly uncomfortable til I was an adult, or at least able to think like one.

Due to the fact that I don't look like Freddie Prinze Sr. or talk like Cheech Marin, many people have assumed I was white. Nothing wrong with that at all, but what IS wrong is how much casula racism has been thrown my way. Mexicans and blacks tend to put race out front, on the table where it can be seen, and not used as some unspoken of spoke in their wheel of thought, dealing with it immediately. Whites will lean in, conspiratorially, and whisper their shock or disgust over what some "nigger" or "fucking wetback" has done or is doing. As civil as they think this may be, the fact that they have to whisper to each other or dare not say anything until they're alone proves they know, deep down, that they are just another fucking racist and don't want anyone to know.

Flash back to the late 90s. I am living and working in Sacramento's downtown/midtown area. I have just started the best job I've ever had, working for the Federal Court (thanks, Mr. Unabomber!!), and have the privilege of knowing everyone I've just started working with, thanks to my previous job as a media liaison. One day, the mail for some odd reason doesn't get picked up, so myself and an employee named Colleen Hutchison (real name - fuck her) decide to walk the mail to the Post Office a few blocks away. Colleen, who has always been nice to me, and I strike up conversation...

Colleen: So - do you like it so far?
Me: Totally!
C: Are you getting along with everyone?
M: Yeah. Everyone's really cool.
C: You work in a good group of people.
M: Yep, I like them all.
C: You're lucky, you've got good people. On our team, Kathy doesn't do anything. And Linda - well, Linda's just a dumb fucking Mexican.

If this were a cartoon, you would have heard screetching coming from my shoes skidding to a stop on the sidewalk. This, however, was no cartoon.

Me: What?
Colleen: You know, Linda...oh SHIT - you're Mexican, aren't you?

I had told her so MONTHS before. And she had forgotten.

Now, I will admit something here and now: if someone makes an ass of themselves, I do EVERYTHING in my power to make the situation as uncomfortable as possible for them. This was one of those times.

Me: *Very sharply* Yes. Yes I am Mexican.
Colleen: Shit. I didn't mean anything by it. My first husband was Mexican.

Yeah, that guy you always say is stupid and good for nothing.

Me: Yeah - some people are into slumming.
Colleen: RAY!!
Me: WhatEVER.

All subsequent attempts at conversation were met with stony silence. Just before entering the building to go back to work...

Collen: You won't say anything, will you?
Me: Nope, never would.
Colleen: Thanks. Thanks a lot. I didn't mean it.
Me: That's okay, everyone hates you anyway.

True story.

The moral: NEVER, EVER, EVER move to Sacramento or its surrounding areas, unless you own a gun rack on your truck.

14 Comments:

At 11/30/2005 10:56 AM, Blogger teh l4m3 said...

Sacto is eee-vil, from the top of Walt Grey's freaky greasy pate to the basement of Arden Fair Mall. No redeeming qualities whatsoever. We should move our capitol back to Benicia.

And FWIW, there's no excuse for this sort of bullshit -- anywhere in Cali. Most people I know are Mexican, or Mexican-white mix (usu. Irish), or Mexican-California Indian, or Mexican-Lebanese/Armenian. So WTF gives?

 
At 11/30/2005 1:38 PM, Blogger Smartypants said...

Oh. Man. She's a moron. And, then, she tries to say she didn't mean it. Um. Yeah, you did mean it or you'd never have said it.

I'm a typical white chick. I can't tell you how many times people have made racially-based remarks to me in a conspiratorial tone of voice. I'm usually so caught off-guard I can only stare at them like they are speaking gibberish. Why do they assume that because I'm white, I agree with them???

I want the perfect come-back answer for their ignorance. Any ideas welcome.

 
At 11/30/2005 10:21 PM, Blogger teh l4m3 said...

FWIW, you were a bit early: according to Auguste, Blog Against Racism Day is the 1st.

 
At 12/01/2005 6:20 AM, Blogger indygirl said...

Smarty: an eyeroll does the trick or a simple "Are you fucking retarded?"

 
At 12/01/2005 7:25 AM, Blogger fatrobot said...

kick that ignorant byatch in the box

 
At 12/01/2005 7:44 AM, Blogger Adorable Girlfriend said...

You got to love the world we live in.

 
At 12/01/2005 9:34 AM, Blogger Kate Lilac said...

It's just as fun when you're from Georgia. I really don't understand people.

 
At 1/02/2006 3:41 PM, Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

Ha ha- "everyone hates you anyway".

You win.

 
At 2/16/2006 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 3/30/2006 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually work at the federal courthouse in sacramento. Colleen is still there and everyone still hates her. ;>

 
At 3/30/2006 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the fact that you're using people's names (Kathy and Linda) in your blog is disappointing, Ray. Colleen's name, who cares. It doesn't make sense to me that you would talk about this incident now instead of when it happened...you speaking up could have made a real difference. I don't get you, never did.

 
At 8/08/2006 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you be any more spineless Anonymous? Clearly you know Ray, and feel you have a duty to scold him like he's a child.... so sign your damn post!

 
At 8/09/2006 1:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anon posted on 3/30/06 4:43pm. I work there too and don't you dare speak for me, who the fuck do you think you are anyway, speak for yourself asshole.

As to the original interchange sure it was a totally inappropriate racist remark that should never have been made, but at the same time let's consider Ray's actions, in his own dialog he states:

Collen: You won't say anything, will you?
Me: Nope, never would.

Yet here it is, I guess that makes Ray a Liar. I can trust a racist, at least I know what they are all about (not that I condone racism in any fashion at all), but I'd never trust a liar.

I agree with anon posted on 3/30/06, 6:30pm, the use of real names is inexcusable and no doubt really hurtfull to all of them and especially Linda if she did not know about this before this post. In Ray's original post he throws out Colleen's name then adds "real name - fuck her", then goes on to reveal other real names, where was your "Fuck them too" Ray? I further agree speaking up at the time might have made a real difference; Ray, you didn't have the balls to do it then, and what you are doing now won't solve a damn thing, hopefully you'll grow a pair, and do the right thing at the right time in the future should something like this ever happen again?

BTW Ray, If it was the best job you ever had, why did you leave?

 
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