My work place is where pop-culture goes for lunch everyday at 2pm. Okay maybe not that bad, but if there is a fad we have a person that is that fad, except for me, because I’m non-white and vegan and that just makes me weird.

We have 5 women, and three of them claim to be bisexual but are all hooked up with men and have either had no femalexfemale relationships or they’ve had a maximum of two as compared to more than 4 past male lovers. Also every single one of them thinks oral sex is “weird”, but somehow they expect other people to think they’re bi. I’m so not going to get into my own sex life and the fact that I have no problems whatsoever with anything to do with the human body, because I’m sure that would bring along a slew of puto comments about me, and I’m not interested. But needless to say these women are hyper fucking critical of other non-pornified women.

The worst is my manager though.

She’s a 30-something bisexual married women in a polyamorous relationship, though at the moment her husband is the one that’s dating because she’s kinda busy pining for someone who isn’t interested. She adores Glee, Twilight and Harry Potter1, and she hates public transit and libraries because they’re really just too low class for her; i.e. not white enough.

Now her and I were talking about our sex lives because it was 7 at night and we had no customers for the past 2 hours so our conversation devolved into what’s going on in our respective lives, and from there into who was doing who, when and where. Her husband was on a date that night with a nurse from a local hospital who had found him cute, if not a bit socially awkward2, this of course lead to her husband’s taste in women which was different than hers.

“Yeah he just has horrible taste in women. His first wife was one of those butch lesbians that was fatter than me, and than like after he married me he dated this other lady who was just ugly. His last girlfriend was black, which I’m still having to get over my own things about black people being ugly, but regardless she wasn’t the best looking person out there.”

That was an actual quote from her.

And the scary thing is that the only other bi girl that watches Glee, Twilight and Harry Potter thinks the same about black people. And the only boy who watches all those same things thinks black people are weird and, until last week, thought all Hispanics were Mexicans and had never heard the word Hispanic until I described myself using the word. My work place is racisttopia really but I just needed to share this.

1 Yes I hate all three of these and it’s not for stupid homophobic reasons okay.

2 which he totally is BTW, I’ve had to interact with him multiple times.

I’m the most colorful and most ghetto person at my work. I’m mostly non-white and I grew up on the streets, while all my co-workers are German, Swedish or Irish. I shit you not, for once in my life, I’m the non-white of the group, which is weird because I’m usually the white fucker that talks the cops out of an aresst. However that’s not really the point here.

I work at a popular sandwich shop, and most things are really customizable and all the employees try to get the lowest price and the best deals because we like our customers and hate our owner. Well there’s one girl I work with whom I particularly dislike, and she’s a horrible racist on top of it. Her favorite thing to say to me is “Emilio don’t think this includes your family, but I really hate how lazy fucking Mexicans and all those people from down there are.” I wish I was shitting you. It’s only made worse by the fact that we have a prominent Hindi and Hispanic customer base from the other local businesses and I work with her at least 3 days out of the week.

However a couple of days ago we had two men of Latin or South American origin came in, and since I wasn’t paid to ask where they were from and I don’t really care so long as I can understand them and they put money in the tip jar I didn’t bother asking, however my detested co-worker decided that they were Mexican. I don’t know how she came to that conclusion, but again I don’t like her, so I’m not going to ask.

They asked if they could put whatever they wanted on their sandwich, and I said yes so long as we had it, they laughed, I joked and they ordered a ham and roast beef sandwich. Usually everyone rings that kind of sandwich up as a much cheaper Turkey and Ham sandwich because the production coasts are the same. Now being a militant vegan I don’t really care for having to sell animal products, but people are going to eat animal products one way or the other and if they have change to spare then I’m getting a tip and that means I can pay rent for one more month, win-win really. However my co-worker (we’ll call her Kesha from now on) charged them for the most expensive sandwich we had which was a club sandwich, I told her how to charge it and her response was “There’s no turkey on that!”

Kesha was the one who taught me how to charge for this particular sandwich because it made the customer happier. She only charged for a more expensive sandwich because she knew she could get away with it. She told me later that they probably wouldn’t be able to figure out what she had charged them anyway because they spoke Spanish to each other, so it didn’t matter to her.

Again I’m not exactly fond of her.

So you may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while. That’s not because I don’t have stories, I get a new one everyday after all, but my computer is Broke, capital B and all.

My computer was a gift, because I am and always have been to poor to get one of my own, I wouldn’t be able to afford internet if it weren’t for my bestfriend/roommate having a job that pays slightly more than mine. So yeah I’m kinda screwed here, and I’m probably not going to have a lot of posts going up for a while for obvious reasons.

Though just to give you a tidbit of subtle racism for the day.

I have yarn braids because they are the only way to braid my hair, and even than we have to modify them because of how my hair is thin, curly, frizzy and flat, all at the same time. My best friends mother, who is so white that she can’t track back the time in which her family came to America, pointed them out by grabbing hold of them and saying something along the lines of this:

“Why aren’t you doing a peasant braid? You would look pretty with them.”

I didn’t even know how to handle that, so I just told her that my hair wouldn’t be up to the job, and that I didn’t like the style. Seriously, how do you handle your best friends mom saying that kind of shit straight to your face?! I still don’t know.

If you don’t get the titles reference it means that basically herbivores are loud fuckers, especially compared to those that think they’re nomable. On another note, I’ve been wanting to switch this blog over to stories of more subtle racism, so that last post is probably going to be the last of a dieing breed of posts here on Coloring outside the lines.

So I used to know this white guy who was about 15 years older than me. I was 14 when I met him and we got along fine, mostly because I used him to get out of walking while spic, and he was one of those white boys that wanted to look “thug”. Not the best arrangement, but it worked for us at the time. We’ll call him Ben.

At the time I was working as a server at a Vietnamese restaurant in the Little Saigon area of our city, Usually afterwords I would hang out with my actual friends, however a few times I would go out with Ben because everyone else had plans, and for other reasons that aren’t really important to this post. He lived up in the rich part of the city on Whitey McCracker street. Okay not really, but it was the very rich very white part of town and we always went to his part of town if we were hanging out on our own.

Because he was rich he also liked showing it off and would often take me shopping for no reason, though luckily he didn’t really try to buy me anything after the first time where I tossed all the frivolous shit he gave me. If it can’t be practical it gets tossed away, or it satisfies my pyromaniac tendencies and need for bright shiny fires. However that didn’t stop him from shopping for himself and picking up useful things for me.

Usually he didn’t shop in places that were cheap enough for non-whites to shop in, however every rich neighborhood has at least two token non-whites, usually an Asian and a Black. One time he had taken me to some rather trendy and expensive store, claiming he needed a new pair of shoes. Really it was just an excuse for him to get a $200 pair of Nikes to go with the insanly expensive jeans he had that made him look like he had something sagging them down. I still don’t understand how those pants have been in style for almost 15 years now, they’re not useful and they look ugly as sin, but whatever.

On that day there was a Hispanic kid in the store who obviously wasn’t rich, but he wasn’t poor either. He’d probably had to save for a few months, but he could afford to get the shoes legally and there was no doubt about that. Ben picked up the shoes he wanted after about 30 minutes of of staring at the exact same designs just with different brands and price tags. When we went up to the register the Hispanic kid had just pulled out his credit card. it wasn’t signed on the back though and the cashier refused to accept it without an I.D. The kid was obviously embarrassed and mumbled an apology as he went about searching for his I.D.

The whole spectacle was only about a minute in total, and when the kid left the cashier barely told him to have a good day, not something I could get away with at my job. When Ben came up though the cashier apologized for the inconvenience and took his unsigned card without any problems. He wasn’t even asked to sign for it like the Hispanic kid was.

Ben was dressed in “better” clothes than the kid, however Ben also had a very obviously poor tag-along that looked like they could be his male prostitute from Rentboy or some shit like that. Over all Ben looked like one of the guys I often served who I knew wouldn’t tip because they were rich and had hired a girl so as to have the girlfriend experience with, so they felt entitled to not have to pay attention to others or common decency. If it wasn’t for it being too low brow for his type, Ben would be more likely to steal from the store. But the cashier asked the kid instead of Ben, and than we left the store and didn’t say anything about it, because Ben didn’t think it was odd at all and I was just so horribly uncomfortable with what had happened, especially since everyone else seemed to be fine with it and I wasn’t.

And people wonder why I’m paranoid about being caught in the rich part of town.

Okay so I have a friend who’s a normal West coast boy, however his parents are Korean immigrants and he grew up in the Korean and Vietnamese area of our state. He can speak Korean and English, however he has about as much interest in the history of his parents homeland as most kids do nowadays, and he prefers pizza over tofu and vegetables. So yeah he’s not exactly a Korean purist, just of Korean decent. Also his name is Bae.

Anyway my mother was friends with the only black guy in her Mormon church1, this guy was a veteran from the Vietnam war, and was a racist ass mother fucker. My mother excused this by saying that he knew the difference between Vietnamese people and other people of Oriental decent. She was wrong since he often got Japanese and Chinese people confused, and when he didn’t he would still use words like “Jap” and other such things. I however adored his wife, who was always a bit put off by his racism, but since they were very old and Mormon she didn’t say anything.

The guy and his wife, Jack and Lindsey from now on, often babysat me when my older half-brother was at school and my mother was at work. My brother tried not to be busy when I was at home because my mother brought home some really…unsavory people, so it wasn’t often that they came around and when they did it was usually on really short notice when plans had been canceled of something.

So me and Bae were six, my brother was in an after school band class at the time trying to fit in with at least one group in his highschool that wasn’t just labeled “Freshmen”, and we were at my house alone doing things that six year olds do. Mostly we were drawing and coloring in the huge amount of coloring books I had, since these were the days of pay by minute internet here, so a couple of kids weren’t going to be using it for their leisure time, that and I’ve always loved coloring books and they kept my markers away from the walls until I was a teenager. That’s when Jack and Lindsey show up, saying my mother had called them.

Most of the 2 hours went by fine and than my older half-brother came home. Jack pulled my brother in to the kitchen so that they could “talk”. Bae and I were curious children so I distracted Lindsey and Bae went to eavesdrop. However the sneakiness of a six year old is usually overestimated and Bae got caught. My half-brother shooed Bae back towards me and Lindsey and told us to behave. Before he could get back in to the kitchen though Jack started talking loudly about how Bae was a “gook” that “was as sneaky as his buckethead parents”.

My older half-brother who was a pacifist Buddhist told him to leave before he became violent in front of the children and told his wife that she could come over but not her husband. She apologized and they both left.
It wasn’t until the next year when we told Bae’s mother what had happened that we actually found out what all that meant, since my brother could bring himself to say it and explain it. After that I spent my time at Bae’s home, though I had to see Jack every Sunday until I got old enough to skip the whole affair. He stayed a racist even after he died since his eulogy actually mentioned something derogatory about the Vietnamese.

1: True fact, there are very few churches as white as the Mormon churches, and they’re just as much killjoys. The LSD church really needs to get some fucking Brazilians in its organization, maybe it will chill them out a bit.

Yes I do have some West coast pride, leave me ‘lone kay?1

So I’ve mentioned that I’m only half-Mexican right? Well the other half is about 1/6 to 1/4 Cherokee depending on if I believe my grandpa about how my great grandmother had kids with only her 1st and second husbands, of I believe my great aunt about how my great grandmother got around and my great grandpa was a dud, I’m going with 1/6 just to be safe. The rest of me is made of blood so White that it created the race of Cracker.

Now if you know anything about Hispanics at all, we’ve got a prism of colors and we can range from just a touch lighter than black to olive to red to just a touch darker than white. And it don’t matter how dark your papá or your mamá are if even just one of them is even a slightly different shade than the other. So add in a more dominant color gene like white and you’re playing a game of Russian roulette as to whether the baby will look like they’re part Hispanic, or if they’re going to look like the whitest child to ever be born.

I fall in to the second camp when I’m indoors almost all day for a prolonged period of time, however if I get even a hint of sun, it’s up to the interrupter to see if I’m white enough. It doesn’t really help that I have gray-blue eyes. Really the only part of my appearance that really points me out as Hispanic is my hair, which is very curly, dark and has a slightly pushed forward hairline. So yeah I often have a problem with people thinking I’m lieing about either being half-Mexican, or being anything really. I actually had someone threaten me because I was lieing about not being Greek, however that’s not the story I wish to tell now.

Back in 2008 I was working at a rather large local chain grocery store that’s owned by an extremely large national chain. I worked as an overnight stocker and my co-workers were of every race and level of sanity that exists on this good green earth, including the assistant manager of my crew, who claimed to be street wise and have gone to the “roughest high school” in the state. She was about as street wise as a thumb tack, and the school she talked about was actually a middle-class high school that was known for having more Hispanic kids than Wyoming. However she was nice enough so long as she trying to be our manager instead of our friend.

I’ll call her Jenna, and she’s source to probably some of the weirdest racist moments in my life.

One such weird moment happened when my crew and the other night time crew for the store had taken lunch at the same time, and it had turned in to a game of telling what your origins were. Me and the guy who was half-Dominican and half-Ecuadorian were making some in jokes on growing up Dominican in the inner-city – I had a few Dominican friends so I could get what he was saying – when Jenna joined the conversation.

“Wow you grew up in the inner-city? You don’t sound like it, either of you.”

I and the Dominican shrugged it off. Jenna was prone to making an ass of herself.

“I guess. What does inner-city sound like boss?” I asked, trying not to sound as edgy as I actually was. I’m sure it didn’t work, but Jenna didn’t seem to pay it any mind.

“Well you know, not so well educated, or white.” She actually did seem to notice she had said something wrong there though, and corrected herself “not that you’re not white enough or anything Emilio, I mean you’re very well educated.”

I didn’t really know what to say to that, and if I’m to be honest I probably still wouldn’t if put back in that situation again. Instead of saying anything I looked over to the other crews manager who was keeping time to make sure we didn’t spend more than the allotted amount of time for lunch break, and who was also higher on the ladder than Jenna. He was shocked as well, and was just staring at the back of Jenna’s head like he really could not believe she had just said that because oh my fucking god. His cough finally broke the silence, and he muttered something about lunch being over, even though we still had 8 minutes left.

Really I was never so happy to get back to work in my life, especially since Jenna had paperwork for the rest of the night that would keep her off the store floor.

1: If you don’t get this reference, A lighter shade of brown was a California based hip-hop duo in the 90′s that only had one real hit. The now work as DJ’s in California.

So I have a friend, who is half-black and half-Mexican. Really that could only be worse luck if he was half-Mexican and half-Arab instead, he’d be an Americans worse nightmare. We’ll call him Terrance right now, for no other reason than he hates that name and I’m hoping one day he’ll read this when I’m about half a country away.

Now Terrance and I go way back, like further than the East coast West coast beef, which admittedly isn’t that far back, but we both grew up in the late 90′s and the 00′s so I couldn’t really make the joke about Raekwon that I wanted to. We’ve got a lot of stories behind us, and while at the moment we’ve got a couple states and mismatched schedules keeping us apart, I’m still going to be one hell of an uncle for his kids if he can ever find a lady willing to fall for his brand of…charming, let’s leave it at that.

So one of the most memorable racist moments in our adventures, was a nice little story about a white woman and her two adopted kids, one of which was Oriental and the other Black. It was very obvious this woman had not popped those two brats out of her coochie, and it was also rather obvious that she had “my black baby isn’t going to be like those black children” syndrome by the way she acted.

If you don’t know what “not my black baby” syndrome is, it’s a condition that afflicts white women and men who adopted black babies ’cause they think they’re colorblind so of course the rest of the world is and thus it’s okay for them to adopt a black baby without having ever been around black culture, except for that one guy at their office who is black and who every white person at work is friends with. Pretty much these new parents of this black or other non-white baby fear going in to the inner-city for the unknown reason to them of it just not being white enough, however they claim it’s just because it’s a bad neighborhood. So what happens is that they consider their child not to be part of that culture, because the child is theirs and because they are white that means their child is white by proxy. Now usually what this leads to is the kid being a full grade coconut that has a huge chip on their shoulder, and usually they do worse financially than their parents because they are black to everyone else in the world. Sometimes these kids do better than their parents, but they will always be more than a little confused about race relations because of how their parents act towards black people who aren’t token enough.

This lady is pushing her two brats around in a stroller at first, but than the black kid wants out, and being the upper middle-class mom this lady is, she lets the kid out and goes back to doing something she considers more important. This kid, who at other times might have been a perfectly cool person to be around, decided that his life mission was to start knocking shit down. Now this was in the poor part of town where mama’s would beat their kids until they couldn’t cry no more if they started doing stupid shit like this, however because of the recent condo development on the other side of town, we had gotten a lot of rich white mommies who decided that punishing your kid was bad, but so was explaining to them that they affected the world and people around them. So being the fine upstanding citizen I am, I ignore it all and hope the kid stops being so goddamn loud.

Of course the little fucker has to run smack in to Terrance, and instead of apologizing he kicks my friend in the knee. I kick back hard enough to probably leave a bruise and than I tell the kid that he should apologize because what he’s feeling now is what he wanted my friend to feel, and grown ups do a hell of a lot worse than be physically violent with you when you do something that pisses them off. The mother of course freaks out, because hey I just kicked her child regardless of my reasons. Mom’s can’t just stand by and let that happen. Now here’s where things get complicated.

The mother is screaming at us about kicking her darling “Dexter”, and about how we were no better than bullies. I call her an idiot and went to walk away from the fight I knew it was going to turn in to. She called Terrance a “nigger” before we could even walk two steps. Everyone in hearing distance stopped.

Before Terrance or I could even turn around to slap a gavacho, a black woman with a kid of her own spoke.

“Do you think that your baby won’t be called that? Actually with you as his mama people are going to say a lot worst.”

The woman looked like someone had just told her they were going to dissect a live kitten in front of her. Another woman was able to respond before Ms. “not my black baby” was able to though, and told her it was probably best that she left. The white lady said that “it was illegal to threaten [her] with violence”, and everyones response was that they weren’t saying that, but if she did want to get her ass kicked staying around was a good way to do that.

She picked up her black baby and went to leave with both her children. “My son is never going to act like you people.” She said that as she left, and I was surprised no one killed her honestly.

I wish the best to her kids though, gods know it isn’t going to be easy for them to grow up in that type of situation.

I never grew up with my Mexican father, and contrary to what most people think most Hispanic kids are not fluent in Spanish if they were born and raised in America and raised by non-immigrants, which also contrary to popular belief not many Hispanics are immigrants. My mother was also violently opposed to me or my older half-bother (who was the product of her and a white man) speaking or learning Spanish in anyway, to the effect that she grounded my at 3 years of age for learning what bobo and gracias meant. So by the time I was 5 I certainly didn’t know enough Spanish to converse with the grandparents of my friends let alone the immigrant kids that lived in the mostly poor and Hispanic neighborhood I was being raised in.

While I was light skinned for being mostly non-white most of the kids, parents, and police in the area considered me to be Hispanic and often made comments about how my older half-brother and I looked like we were from different families and that it was just oh so surprising that he wasn’t my mama’s newest – and whitest – boyfriend. Outside of these remarks constantly getting on my nerves it often meant people would try to speak to me in Spanish before asking me whether or not I knew the differences between hola and the hulla.

This landed me in the Spanish-to-English kindergarten transition class, when I was finally old enough to attend school. At first I didn’t really notice anything, because my neighborhood was in between the Hispanic and the black parts of town, so the idea of seeing a white kid in my class didn’t really cross my mind, and the absence of black kids could be explained by how few black kids there were in this side of town. I thought they were all just in the older classes. It made sense to my five year old mind, even if it was a bit illogical and ignorant of real life.

The first day of kindergarten is confusing for almost any kid, but none of my friends had been able to attend with me due to living two blocks down the road from me and thus just outside of my schools radius, and my half-brother hadn’t been able to take me further than down the hall from my classroom so I didn’t have even the comfort of being able to take my first glimpse of school life with someone I cared for. I blame this for not noticing that my teacher was speaking in Spanish as she herded us to our desks or our “estaciones de trabajo”.

I actually didn’t learn that the class and the teacher were weird until I was dragged off to the principals office after getting in to a fight with another child in the class. The teacher and kid had been yelling in Spanish and when I was dragged in to see the principal she asked the teacher to “translate” for us since it was only the first day and the principal “doubted I knew enough English just yet”.

This wasn’t the first time I had been confronted with the idea of “oh you’re a spic you must speak Spanish.” with white people completely ignoring the fact that I’m more a pocho than a spic if you’re using racist terminology here. No one ever gets that, even to this day, it makes me doubt humanities good nature.

Anyway when my mother came – because yes they just had to pile the shit on to the fiver year old – they tried to tell her that they needed my mother not an aunt that married in to the family. I had never seen my mother so close to hitting another women in my life. After shouting about how she hadn’t given birth to a “bastard child” and how I wasn’t “some dirty immigrant baby” – never mind that my father was a temp worker from Mexico when she met him, got knocked up and kicked him out – she requested I be moved to the “normal” kindergarten class. She was told there was no room for me, but the teacher would converse with me in English from now on, and I’d be allowed to move to the English class by mid-year when one of the students was slated to move and be withdrawn from the class.

My mother was less than happy with this, but she dealt with it and sent me back to class the next day. I got greeted in Spanish and when I tried to say “yo hablo Inglés”, and than backed it up by saying so in English I got told that it was great that I was “learning so quickly”, by the teacher who had been there when my mother had said I didn’t speak Spanish.

It took three months of this being a daily occurrence before I was pulled out of school for the year, but only because the normal class actually wasn’t going to have anyone dropping out that year. I still don’t know what my teacher was constantly yelling at me about, especially since my English work was always perfect.

On the advice of a white friend (wow that feels weird to say.  Hi I’m Emilio and I have a white friend.  Does that count as reverse racism?)  who’s very much in the middle of rejecting their own racism, I created this blog.  This isn’t to talk about racism and the politics of it, but instead to tell stories about my non-white friends and myself when we are confronted (or alternately smacked upside the head) with racism in our everyday lives.

These stories can range from the obvious of having a cop pull you over for Walking While Black/Hispanic, to the more subtle things of someone saying that they love Japanese anime to someone who’s of Southern Chinese decent as a covert way to say they’re “down” with people of the Orient. They won’t be bugged with political commentary though, because the way I see it the stories themselves are political commentary, even if people take the wrong conclusions from them in the end, the story was told and the truth has been put out there.

This is going to be an ongoing project with probably no chronological order, since it’s from multiple people – I just transcribe events – and stories from daily life that could have happen when the person was six, or if it happened today.

Hopefully someone will at least enjoy reading this…or not and hate me and my own for the rest of our lives. Either way is cool with me as long as I don’t get bombed or something.

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