21.2.05

The White Girl

I know there are a lot of Latina/os out there that have light-colored skin. But it always trips me out when people look at me and think I’m white. Saturday, after I almost killed myself by almost taking a red light (insert gasp or “Thank God she’s ok!” here), I stopped by Subway to get me some comfort food. I was standing in line ordering my sanwish when the girl behind the counter started talking to the other chick in Espanol (dicho a la Peggy Hill). I stood there feeling a bit awkward because they were talking about this girl that worked with them and went back to Mexico without telling anyone. When she asked if I wanted my sanwish toasted, I said, “Sí.”

“¿Sí?”

“Sí.”

“O, yo no sabía que puedes hablar español.”

But even after I answered everything else in Spanish, she still insisted on talking to me in English and to her co-worker in Spanish. When I lived in El Paso, people always assumed I was white. When I was able to speak to them in Spanish they would look at me as if there was a gold aura around me and ask, “¿Hablas Español?”

When I have visited Daniel in Redneckville, people at the Movie Gallery, Dollar General, and grocery store give me these weird looks. One day, his buddy from the Movie Gallery kept staring at me. I was skimming over a bin of previously viewed DVD’s and I could feel his eyes burning my skin. When I’d look up, he’d look away. When we got into Daniel’s car, I said, “What the heck was up with your wanna be astronaut buddy? He kept staring at me.”

“Babe, I know you hate to hear this, but you don’t look Mexican.”

I don’t know how I really feel about this. Sometimes it bothers me and sometimes I know it’s an advantage. But I guess in the end, it always pisses me off because people still maintain this stereotype of what people of certain nationalities look like.

3 comments:

cindylu said...

Mexicans come in all colors. That's all I have to say that. Oh yeah, and no matter how pale I look, I'm always brown.

Gwen said...

Dude, I could write you a whole book about that subject.

I'm trying to think if I would have assumed you were white, if I hadn't met you with your sis and already known you must be Latina...

Personally, I find that it's mostly border peeps who make assumptions about color, i.e. pale must equal white. People from farther South are usually more in-tune with the "Mexicans come in all colors" facts of life.

Gustavo said...

The other day I went to a new taco stand that opened up in "porosville" and like I normally do I ordered my tacos de lengua en espanol. The lady that was attending me insisted on speaking to me in english. Is it that they don't speak spanish well? are they ashamed of their spanish? can it be that they are embarressed to seem as though they dont speak english if they talk to me in spanish? I don't know what the deal is but I refuse to mix english with the words tacos*carne asada*tacos de lengua*tortas*birria* etc etc.