In real life, I have an accent.
My family speaks two or three languages at home (they all meld together into one sentence and I don’t know which is which).
We don’t eat “American” style food (i.e., steak and potatoes or recipes out of a magazine).
When I go to the South I do feel very out of place, and my darker cousins (who consider themselves white… which I think is weird) have been victims of racism right before my eyes.
I am white. I’m paler than a xerox sheet of paper. And I have blonde hair and hazel eyes. I do understand white priviledge and I’m not going to go into a long debate with you on the difference between the Anthony Rodriquez from Puetro Rico who looks white and the Anthony Rodriquez from Puetro Rico who looks “traditionally” Pueto Rican and the Anthony Rodriquez whose family is from Spain- thus European. I have no issues with anyone who is for or against the whole white privildege movement that’s talked about on college campuses more so than incidents of rape on campus.
I am here to discuss the class divisions I’m feeling as a result of my at-home ethnic lifestyle. And my personal feelings with friends now dating out of our mixed culture/family style circle.
Recently, my friend started dating a guy that is so white and ethnic-less his profile pic is him on a fucking yacht in a plaid pink shirt holding a huge ass fish he just caught with his family. They were listening to classical music (I can just tell). They had 2.3 children who share a last name that sounds like it belongs in Wuthering Heights. And he annunciates everything so perfectly and went to a private prep school. We all know he is going to be one fuck of a monster corporate lawyer and live in Greenwich, Connecticut with a house in the Hamptons, just like his father and his father before him.
And now I think my friend is turning into Taylor Swift! Hair changes. Preppy clothes. Suppressed accent.
Quite frankly, it freaked me out. The whole thing freaked me out. The class division is also strong. Maybe she’s hiding. I feel very intimidated and I’m not even around his family.
I know I shouldn’t be. I probably look like the rest of his family. I can suppress my accent. And since my friend is dating him, I’m sure he is a great person and wouldn’t give two shits about anything irrational thought that is bothering me.
Point is- I actually “fit in” with people who I don’t feel I fit in with.
I’m the problem.
I think it started when I saw one of my cousins be the victim of a racist comment. We were in Georgia. I’ll never forget it. She didn’t say anything back. I don’t think she heard the man. But I did. And it stuck with me because I was a little kid and I saw myself in her. I didn’t see the difference in our skin tones or hair color. Kids don’t see color like adults do.
I need to get over it now. Appreciate I can dance in different cultures. Still, I worry. And I worry she will lose a big part of herself too by becoming Taylor Swift incarnate. I’ve seen it before. I’m all for assimilation. But I think it is important to remember traditions- especially when it comes to food and language.