Tuesday, January 08, 2008

That Brown Girl

So this is day 5 of stick to bed illness and I'm frustrated, so I figured I would just write about something thats been bothering me. Cause when you are laid up in bed unable to do more than go from room to living room, you kinda wanna nag about something. Rather than nag the good people that are being so sweet to me, I am going to nag about an actual issue. Maybe this way, I spare us all, haha.

The East Coast is the most "Latina" I've ever felt. I mean, don't get me wrong, I am Latina and proud of it. But when living in CA, I can't say that I totally was aware of my ethnicity, every, single, day. I was aware of it in the way that I am proud of my identity, have very cultural ways of being, speak in Spanish regularly. But not aware in the way that I felt when people looked at me they saw "Latin girl" and I gotta say, I definitely do here in our fair nations capitol.

There are things about DC that are much better in so far as diversity than SF. I love walking into places and being in diverse settings without even trying. I love feeling like there is so much out there to explore. But really guys, every single day, someone reminds me I am brown. It's the "Hola" I get when everyone else gets a hello. It's the habit of anyone in throwing distance coming to tell me whenever they have had ANY kind of Latin food. My favorite was someone coming to me on and telling me they had great Peruvian this weekend, like I should hand out a diversity doggie biscuit. Do you go up to Filipino men or women and say "I had the best Chinese this weekend!" No. You don't. And if you do, stop. Now.

I have even had someone go as far as saying "Ole!" when I accomplished something. Its just gotten to be a little ridiculous. I get confused for other Latin co-workers, though I'm relatively new to the city - I get asked for Latin food recommendations, the amount of men at bars whose opening line when they come up to me is some Spanish phrase they have no idea how to pronounce is staggering.

The East Coast is different. Or maybe its the northeast. Whatever the case, its happened enough times where I know I have an obligation to point out these faux paux's but struggle with how you correct in a way that is clean. Especially when I've let it get to the point where I've heard so many of the comments, every new comment makes me have to pause and breathe. I just know I am about 2 months away from becoming "that brown girl". And don't get me wrong. I'm glad I came out here. Though my initial instinct that this place could never be permanent I feel was right on. It will be interesting navigating being "exotic" to my new community. I'll post something the first time anyone calls me spicy. Oh and please believe, its happened before, so it wouldn't be an out of left field surprise. For now, I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. I'm proud of my heritage, I'll just have to find a way to bridge gaps between it and my new community.

Okay, back to napping. Muah.

No comments: