So on my way home from a Birthday get together tonight (… by “tonight” I mean four days ago) I was (unfortunately) able to witness the following scenario: a very drunken Mexican man being (not so subtly) mocked by about 10 drunk white hipster kids on the L train. There was no overt racism or hate speech – just the sense that, this was an older drunk person on a train at a time when it is generally crowded by drunk (more often than not white) kids. And this older drunk person was the Other. (p.s. I am loving my parentheticals tonight).
So, as I was saying, I witnessed this event. And it was sad, heart breakingly so. Not to say that I identify with this old not-quite-sober man, but my mind made a connection in this idea of not fitting in.
My world is largely white washed. And I know that, and I know that it’s an effect of how I’ve decided to live my life. Which is to say, in college I deliberately chose a largely non-Indian major: English, and career wise … well, we all know how that turned out. Despite Sonny Mehta, it is still a mostly non-brown profession (although this too, is changing). And generally, I’m okay with all of it – my life that is. Even so, there is this lingering thought that never really goes away of: you are not the same.
Not that “you are not the same” means you (or I) can blame being different for any ills or negative experiences that fall your way. Rather, it’s that you’re not going to find people who understand you. (cue the: NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ME).
I don’t pull the race card (in all seriousness) often. It’s usually discussed after I’ve had a few- because as with most Americans, I’m not entirely comfortable discussing the issue of race or ethnicity and what that means as an American citizen.
What does it mean when you’re first generation and you don’t have that common history with your country? I honestly feel connected to the history of America- this is where I grew up. Barring a short 8 – 9 months, I’ve spent my entire life in this country … and yet.
Sometimes, I still feel like a secondary citizen, socially.
(WHINE WHINE WHINE)
… my fingers desperately wanted that to say: SHINE SHINE SHINE.
Not secondary in the sense that “you’re brown, you can’t frequent this establishment” – more like, you’re brown and not really American. … It’s not too far off for me to think that way, is it? The way a frighteningly large number of Americans are reacting to our President?
This race thing largely wasn’t an issue until I got older, of course. I like to blame the last good ole’ Dubya for teaching our country that difference is to be feared and rejected. We joke about being called terrorists and being looked at funny in the airport – but the fact remains: there’s truth behind it. I only started laughing about being called a terrorist after I heard a group of kids in college walk by and say: “Yo, check out that terrorist.”
… Seriously. Least inventive racist remark ever?
I think this post is just a lot of verbal diarrhea, and there’s no real argument or thought process or beginning or end. I’m not even sure I’ll publish it, it’ll probably sit here for a few days while I try and decide if it’s appropriate, or if it’s too “call the whambulance.”
Regardless … for me, whether or not it’s valid or whether it really means anything, there might always be this scratching little thought inside of my brain.
At the same time, I hate for it to sound like race is some decisive factor in my life. It rarely is – it’s more of something I notice, or think about (maybe too much, I don’t know).
… Well, there it is. I don’t know.
Pre-post fun times: I sent this out to two friends to test it out, so to speak, and my favorite half-Asian only had this to say:
“Are you suffering from half-Asian paranoia—i.e. the belief that everything you say/do is wrong or will grab the unwanted attention from weirdos? Because if you are, welcome to the club, ahahaha.”