I’m regularly floored by seemingly innocuous comments that express racism so deep that we’re unaware of it. I’ve been thinking about race lately, especially in terms of my kids, who are both mixed.
To be brief: racism. Note the mention of “preferential treatment”. And I am fully aware that as a gringa, I qualify for a great deal of white privilege, if you go in for that sort of thing.
But this? Scares the beejesus out of me. Granted, the guy was an unsavory character. Granted, my kids may never be working in an area subject to ICE raids.
But it scares me, nonetheless. For them.
I’ve been wondering about this “hierarchy of minorities”. Obviously, my research is rather anecdotal, but it seems that the reaction to Latinos is much more vehement than, say, to Indians or Asians. Asians seem to be perceived as intelligent, studious. Indians? As a family member said, “if I wanted to talk to an Indian I wouldn’t call my credit card company”. And reactions to African-Americans? Don’t get me started.
They are so seemingly innocent: a white friend locking the door to her car as a black guy walks by. A family friend talking about “all those Mexicans with leafblowers” to my husband, though he’s been reminded more than once that R is Colombian. Or how about all those people voting for Obama simply because they “want our first black President”?
I do get scared for my kids. Scared that someone will snatch them away from me. Scared that they may get hurt, or have their spirit bruised. And now this fear that I see all around me, the fear of the unknown, of the stranger in our midst. But my daughter as the stranger? My son, cutting teeth and learning to sit up, as the “foreigner”?