So, I work in customer service. I am a carhop, and deal with hundreds of people on a regular basis.
And it’s made me realize just how strong racism is.
I’m Hispanic. But I’ve lived in the US my whole life. My mom is Hispanic. So is her family. We’re just a couple of loud Puerto Ricans. I never thought much of it.
Until I started working.
The first time it happened was only my first week of work. As I brought the food to the car, the customer gave me an odd look. And after I said the word “Jalapenos”, the cut me off from reading their order to ask “Where I’m from”. After I said that I was from a local town near where I work, They looked at me incredulously and asked “How long have you been here?”. I was confused, seeing as I’ve lived here for as long as I’ve been alive.
When I told them that I’ve been here my whole life, they looked at me as if I were lying about my green card. I didn’t think much of it, but it kept happening over and over again. I would get singled out from my coworkers, just because I look different.
I’ve gotten used to it, and that’s what bothers me. That I have to get used to something that shouldn’t happen.
I’ve worked there for almost a year now, and I’ve had people demand that I speak Spanish to them, even tho I speak VERY little Spanish. I’ve had my place of origin questioned so often that I’ve lost track. So here’s a handy little tip.
I’m not Cuban, Dominican, Mexican, Chilean, Brazilian, Peruvian or any other Southern American country. And I’m definitely not British, no matter how much BBC I watch. (Seriously. At least three people thought I was British.)
Just because my skin is slightly more tan than most, and I’m not blonde-haired and blue-eyed doesn’t mean that I’m an immigrant.
I can literally be standing next to my sister, who looks more like my Caucasian father, and have someone walk straight up to me, ask where I’m from, and not bat an eye at my sister.
Here’s a handy guide to interacting with Non-White people:
TREAT US LIKE YOU’D TREAT EVERYONE ELSE.
Don’t treat me like someone that just sneaked over the border JUST to take your order. Don’t ask how many siblings I have, just because you think it’s funny.
Make no mistake, I don’t mind if it’s someone just genuinely curious as to where I’m from, I’ll gladly tell them. But if they’re being a condescending douchecanoe that believes that every slightly tan person is one wrong move away from being deported, than I reserve the right to refuse service, and possibly punch you the crotch.
I’ll use my grandma’s chancla to beat some sense into you if I have to.