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