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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.

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.