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.

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