So, remember when this happened?
- Racist Party Picture Lands Penn State Chi Omega Sorority In Hot Water - huffingtonpost.com
Me too. Crazy right?
Considering that Sandy Hook happened around the same time, it is insane that we remember a blip, like this, in the news. I was going to write something about it at the time, but inevitably life, the holidays and a horrifically demoralizing school shooting happened. All I know is that at some point, I went to the movies and saw Django. After the movie, upon exiting the theater, I thought, “I should revisit that racism post idea.”
That was a while ago and today I started typing…
Clearly I’m a fan of the Django. If you need evidence of this, please see my review of the Quentin Tarantino Film: Django Unchained . With that said, I read all the news reports I’d previously bookmarked about this Penn State sorority that held a ‘Mexican themed’ party during which they took photos of themselves posing with handmade signs that read:
Will mow lawn for weed + beer
I don’t cut grass I smoke it
Now, to be clear: that is some pretty blatantly racist bullshit. Coincidentally, I am a Mexican-American, first generation, American-born child of parents, both born in the motherland that is La República de Los Estados Unidos Mexicanos (i.e. Mexico). As such, I cannot tell you how disheartening it is to see a room full of idiots wearing costumes like that, mocking my people.
Displays of racism, like this one at Penn state, make me wince and shake my head in disbelief and ire. Ultimately when I encounter such demonstrations, I end up shaking my head and thinking to myself:
Granted, I’m doing more than just thinking right now, but for my own sanity as a Mexican-American woman, I have to put it out into the universe that:
- Yes, those costumes and jokes come off as racist to us Mexican people.
- Yes, we understand the humor.
- Yes, we still think it’s pretty racist.
The world is replete with racism, but that's no excuse to just give into it, because that kind of response results in a messed up culture. If you don't believe me then how come stuff like this is true?
- Mexicans - We’ll always be one sombrero away from a racist joke.
- White people - The shit you do, will always seem more racist when you do it, simply because you’re white.
- Asians - If you make the tiniest mistake wile out driving, someone’s bound to convey that they think your people are the worst drivers, ever.
- Black folks - When one of your you guys is irritatingly loud in a crowd, there will always be some jerk that is uttering something racist nearby.
I say this because I’ve been witness to moments like these repeatedly, nay consistently.
White people, I will totally admit to the fact that I believe that shit just seems more racist when it comes from you. I have had generous exposure to the accidental Mexican joke made in my presence and unknowingly at my expense. Understand that I make this generalization about your people based on my own experiences. I’d say, “Deal with it,” but to what end? I’ll just keep making my observations and you are free, of course, to continue making yours.
Worse shit has happened to me in my life than hearing an illegal alien joke or seeing an offensive t-shirt. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/09/how-to-catch-an-illegal-immigrant-taco-cid_n_2439294.html) Additionally, (I would say unfortunately, except that I love humor and I honestly think a good laugh will heal your life) sometimes that racist shit is just funny.
We’re human and we like to put things and people in categories. Because of this, racism has root in logic—the linear, so it’s easy to see why people make these simplistic connections. With that knowledge, I actively choose to not let racist labels make me feel less human, less American or less of a tax-paying citizen. Fuck that noise; I’ll just be sure to stay informed, spend my power wisely and spread the word.
Watching a movie didn’t just remind me to write a post I’d been meaning to pen, but it reminded me of my own stance on racism. It reminded me to desensitize myself to the right things. I hear and see trivial racism floating around like a fog, encircling all of us, the way Cypher sees a blonde or a brunette when he looks at the Matrix code. It’s everywhere and it’s inconsequential. What other people think about us, our race and all other races, means nothing. Ultimately, they’re just opinions. I choose to laugh at the funny, shake my head at the stupid and fight the good fight when something really important is at stake. Simple isn’t always easy, but I suppose that’s what why life can be such a bitch.