So I was talking to a sort of semi-friend, R, about his new job. Because we worked together in a really shitty place, I told him that I hoped the people at his new workplace would be nice.
He texted back, “It’s full of black people :/” and when I pressed him to define what that means, he clarified, “They’re not the classy kind of black people…They’re the ghetto lazy kind.”
And I was surprised by the anti-blackness in his comments, especially since he is a man of color. I pointed out that laziness and “ghetto-ness” has nothing to do with blackness—anyone could be a lazy or a bad co-worker. But more importantly, I was dismayed at the dichotomy of the “good” kind of black people versus the “bad” kind.
In respectability politics, you learn that there are certain ways to behave so you can be considered “good” aka “white”. Black women are told to straighten their hair, black men are told to pull up their pants, Latin women are told to not get pregnant out of wedlock, and Latin men are told to stay away from gangs. Why? Because we have to be respectable. For whom? For white people and by an extension, anyone else who buys into white supremacy.
I must confess that when I was younger, I divided my fellow Latin@s into “good” and “bad”. “Good” ones were people like me: other Hispanics who got grades in school and stayed out of trouble and dressed in a non-offensive “preppy” way. “Bad” ones were the ones who did poorly in school, mouthed off to teachers, and dressed in baggy shirts and pants. “You make us look bad!” I fumed internally any time I saw a “bad” one walking down the hall. “They won’t take us seriously if you keeping doing that!”
But I was being selfish. My line of thinking wasn’t that if that cholo boy put on a belt and stayed quiet in class, then racism and prejudice against Latin@s as a group would be over. My line of thinking was that this cholo was reflecting badly on me and a white person would look at him and think we were the same, thus diminishing my chances of breaking into “whiteness” and becoming “white” and all of the privileges it enjoyed.
It wasn’t until I got older that I realized this was unfair and I understood the resentments towards nacos and fresas, Latin@s who ascribe to act “white”. Why do we always end up pitting ourselves against each other in order to please a racist society that will never accept us? If my acceptance into whiteness was so dependent on how my other Latin@s dressed, talked, or acted, then it was a very precarious acceptance, indeed.
It’s funny how white people are never under the scrutiny of respectability. No one bats an eye at the white boy wearing a snap back and baggy jeans but you hear a lot of tsks when a black boy does the same thing. You never hear a Latin@ person complain about their new workplace, saying, “It’s a bunch of white people. And not the good kind.”
White people are assumed to be inherently good and therefore they are the standard we should all ascribe to. Otherwise, we are “bad”. We are lazy. We are ghetto. But what does respectability politics get us if it’s supposed to be so good?
Statistics show that there is a rise in the Hispanic middle class and a new Hispanic “yuppie” is emerging. A Neilson study predicts that these “upscale” Hispanics will make up 40% of the Hispanic spending power by the end of 2013. They’re even predicted to help heal the economy and increase the size of the middle class again. See? We’re being good. We’re getting richer, we’re buying houses, we’re going to college and we’re helping the U.S. economy.
But if we’re being so “good”, why did the University of Texas have to shut down a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day”? What is even more shocking about this disgustingly racist event, was that a Latino man, Lorenzo Garcia, was in charge of organizing it.
He defended himself, claiming that he wanted to spark a discussion about “illegal immigration in general and how much they put into the system and much they take”. He ignored criticism from fellow Latin@s, saying, “They think if you are their race and don’t agree with them you’re an Uncle Tom, you’re a racist…At least I stand up for my beliefs. I quote one of the founders, I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.”
Garcia did not realize the irony of quoting Emilio Zapata, a Mexican revolutionist who championed for poor farmers and other disenfranchised groups, to excuse his racist event.
Garcia’s anti-immigration stance most likely comes from his belief in the “good” ones and the “bad” ones. Garcia doesn’t care about opening up a discussion on immigration reform because it hurts undocumented citizens and their family members—he cares because their “bad” actions make him look bad to the white supremacists he is desperately trying to impress.
White people still think I am “good”. After all, I am in school on scholarship for my outstanding academic records, I speak English clearly, and I dress inoffensively. I am quiet and polite, yes, but let me be clear:
I am not one your “good” ones.
I will never be one of the “good” ones again.
And not a single one of us should try to be.
Anonymous asked: what is the definiton of cis phobia ?
anti-cis people :D
This is why I love him, and why I will always love him.
The fact that people complain about sex, while never complaining about violence is so very revealing about our society.
IF YOU ARE COMFORTABLE EXPLAINING “COUNTRYCIDE” AND “CHILDREN OF EARTH” BUT NOT SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS TO YOUR CHILDREN
GET THE ACTUAL FUCK OUT.