Saturday, June 6, 2020

one voice in the revolution

What happens when you've grown up in the company of individuals who freely exchanged racist jokes without any recognition that you might be personally hurt, fundamentally offended by their "humor" at the expense of "people like you"? What does it mean to have been taught to check Hispanic/Latinx on every form you've ever filled out but to have never had to worry about racial profiling?

What is the role of someone now who is very privileged but also not of utmost whitecismale privilege?
I've spent a lifetime coming to terms with the nuances of my identity and my belonging; embracing "who I am" to myself and to the world (thus I will never change my last name, but that's a story for another day). And somewhere around thirty, a sweet, knowing acceptance seeped in. Hallelujah! Yet the hard work very much continues. Because I was born into an obscenely unjust world, with racist systems and dark histories and normalized oppression.
We all were.
I cannot speak to what it feels to be white right now because I am not white; though I have regularly been mistaken for being so, and have definitely benefitted from those assumptions (see: white privilege). Nonetheless, those of us who are not-Black need to take on the uncomfortable tasks in this moment of deep pain, trauma, and loss that has been compounded by centuries of more of the same.
We must use our collective power to transform this broken world of ours. Tu lucha es mi lucha. Below, a few actionable ideas from the U.S. I welcome your ideas, too.

2 comments:

  1. I wonder how you thoughts have changed after Priscila Garcia Jaquier's deconstructing Latinx series? I found it through your IG stories, thank you, she is fire! You wrote this before that, and here you say, "I am not white." Have you come to a more nuanced understanding now? You *are* white. Hispanic/Latinx is not a non-white race, it is an ethnicity as varied as Americans but more importantly it is constructed *by* America and erases us all -- especially when it encourages/allows white women who look like us to claim non-whiteness. I am Brazilian raised in America. I am white. In Brazil I am white, too. I have white privilege in America, I have white privelege in Brazil, and I have white privilege everywhere I have traveled and lived in the world -- as I've seen you have everywhere, too. You're white, and that doesn't mean you're not Latinx. Just like being Latinx doesn't mean you're not white -- across Central and South America there are millions of white residents, millions of Black residents, millions of indigenous residents, millions of Asian-descedent residents, millions pf mixed residents -- all who trace their families back generations in Central & South America, like you & I also do. You are Latinx and you are white and you cannot co-op a non-white experience by saying "I am not white."

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    1. Thank you for prompting this inquiry! I prefer to speak to my "white-passing" identity because I experience the privilege of being light-skinned in all case except where my last name identifies me as *Other*. I am not claiming non-whiteness but rather rejecting the pervasive white American ignorance that so many exist in. It has taken some work and self-actualization to express my identity with everything-but-white first and I am conscious to remind others who may perceive me as white as to how nuanced appearance and identity and racial/ethnic labels are, as well as how ever-expanding whiteness has been – to now include Americans of Polish, Italian, Irish descent, for example.

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