Monday, April 5, 2010

Basketball Players, Racism and I'm a Square

*************lil disclaimer - this is a post where I spout off about culture and race stuff that I don't really know what I'm talking about but it's 3:00a.m. and so I think I do*****************

We had the Washington Wizards (a basketball team) stay with us here at the Hoe-tell-all this week. I've got to say after experiencing hockey teams, football, soccer and now basketball, that basketball players are by far the coolest.

It's crazy but hockey players are the worst - spoiled rude brats and the soccer guys not far behind. The football guys are pretty laid back but about 25% of them are a tad over-hyped on the roids and can get a bit mean. But the basketball players - decent guys. Hors, yes, but nice to me and that's all I care about.

One of them made a comment tonight that really made me think. We were hanging around waiting for their cab, shooting the shit and got on the subject of the Valley were I live. One of they guys was decked out in nice jeans and a rosary - no shirt and was (nice view btw - wow) trying to explain his half nekkid-ness through the fact that he's from the north and when he goes back home it'll be cold so he was just soaking up the nice weather. I explained that he wouldn't like it here so much when it's 110 degrees for 4 months and he replied that he'd be happy to put up with it just to be around the people here.

I asked what he meant and he said "The people in this area are really cool, no offense, but minorities are just nicer."

It cracked me up because this is a black man telling a white girl - living amidst a 90% (literally) Mexican population - that minorities are just so great. He's from a different place and has no idea that south Texas is basically an extension of Mexico, so when I said "But I'M the minority here," he just gave me a goofy look and started talking to someone else.

It got my hackles up though because the people here really are NOT that nice. I don't mean this in a race way by the way, more of a geographical thing. You see, for many of the Latinos that live here right ON the Mexican/Texas border it's a huge deal to separate themselves somehow from "real" Mexicans. (omg this is hard to explain) A lot of the people here are only one or two generations removed from being Mexican and for some reason feel a strong need to prove their American-ism.

I understand it, but they seem to go about it in all the wrong ways. (And good lord, I'm not saying everyone is like that here, so no hate mail ok?) They tend to go to extremes - sometimes in a good way like excelling in education and what not, while the others throw everything they have in them into being. . . "better." Everyone has the latest I-touch what not phone and if they see someone with last years version they'll make sure to mention it. Ed Hardy clothing is a MUST and other brands that I don't really know the names of - and if you don't have them, you're just too lame to be spoken to. LOL "blonds" in abundance as well.

It's not all commercialism, some - many - are going so far as to abandon speaking Spanish - refusing to, so that they'll seem more American. How sad when I would give my left leg to speak it fluently.

Then, where it gets nasty, the racism. If you're too "Mexican" too "Ranch" you're bound to be scorned. Then there's me. White people are the majority in this country and it seems that for what ever sad reason that the Latinos here desperately need to prove that they are as good as whites, and better. I never experienced having someone be racist to me until I moved here and it was - and still is - shocking. Honestly I think it's less of a racist thing than more of a . . . defense mechanism? They just want SO badly to be excepted and feel . . . I don't know, how could I know?

The result for me though is dirty looks, people that flat out won't speak to me if I ask them a question or try to spark up a conversation, whispers, laughs and giggles and outright rude statements and behavior. My least favorite? LOL I don't know why this one pisses me off but I swear I can't go shopping without being cut in line. It happens ALL the time, I'll be standing in line and someone will come up, push me aside and get in front of me. Some pretend they don't know they're doing it while others will give me a dirty look and all but challenge me to say something. The really sucky thing? The store clerks see it every time and I've only had one guy in a year and a half SAY something in my defense. The others just avert their eyes or give me a dirty look as well.

There's one cashier chick at a store I need to shop at for our flea market once or twice a week that screws with me every time I go there. She'll wait on the 2 or 3 three people in front of me - plus the one or two that inevitably will cut in front of me (some that she encourages!) and EVERY SINGLE TIME when it comes to my turn to check out - she'll find something terribly pressing to do. Or at least try to appear that way so that she can make me wait. Sometimes she walks away and pretends that she doesn't see me, sometimes she'll turn around and stare at the wall and rearrange some merchandise and other times she'll just fiddle with something on the cash register.

I always smile at her, tell her to have a good day - try and show her I'm a good person - but for what ever reason she just hates my guts. I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt.

The Mexicans though? The real ones that live in Mexico? They're so welcoming, so kind, helpful and accepting and just. . . wonderful to me. (LOL I've only been cut in line once over there) But truthfully it's like a different planet just driving across that bridge and I'm incredibly thankful. I can deal with rude customers, store workers and even doctors, but it would be too much to deal with having neighbors or in-laws that hate me.

Ah well, I'm fine, it's just different - it's funny what one lil comment by a basketball player can set off!

And the square thing? I was walking one of them up to his room to open his door and he was talking about the previous nights bar activities when he felt the need to say "Oh, but you don't drink do you." Not a question, just a statement really. I guess after being around them for a few days I gave the impression that I'm quite the square. Or maybe churchy or just . . . you know - not "the drankin type."

I guess I should be proud I don't give off a hor-ee, drunk vibe? Funny.


Theresa in Mèrida said...

Maybe those line cutters are Yucatecan because if you leave an inch between you and the person in front of you, forget it! they squeeze in, I just hand my stuff over their heads (cuz I am soooo tall, yup 158 cm or 5'2" is tall here).
They drive that way too.
The funny part is that the people here are as polite as can be except when it comes to standing line or driving.


Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Theresa - Hilarious! And lol I love that you cut back! :)

Upstate Broad said...

Awww, you're givin' off that Mom-vibe these days aren't you?!

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Wow--this was a real eye opener. I love your writing and think your blog is fabulous. Damn, I wish I had time to read your stuff more often. Maybe this is just the incentive I need to quit my day job...

Keep up the good work. You're fabulous! XOXO

P.S. LOVE your last line.

Steve Asbell said...

I just discovered your blog and think its great!
I know what you're saying about the racism thing because i lived in Kansas in high school, freestyle rapped, breakdanced and played basketball. Then I moved to a small town in Georgia where I was shunned for being one of the few white people there, and was constantly looked down upon for what my ancestors may or may not have done.
And by the way, I think the rudeness is just a defensive instinct... i can only imagine constantly having to prove myself in America, especially Texas with all its stereotypes and prejudices against Mexicans.
BTW totally with you on the football players on the 'roids.

Anonymous said...

Hey Luv, personally I think some of the looks and wispering are because you are a natural Blonde. I've gotten a lot of that here in hillbillyville Michigan. When I was in California The Mexican males used to follow me around the store, no matter what store it was, and just stare at me. My husband said it was because I was a natural Blonde. You're a tuff ducky you can handle it. As for the kind of vibe you give off....I hate to tell you but for someone who doesnnt know you all you need is a skirt and bonnet and you would pass for Omish. You are so kind and lovely to people that those who don't know you just couldn't beleive that you can be, well, the way you can be. Personally I was shocked, in a good way, when I first started to read your blog. I thought you have got to be kidding me, she really is related to me!!!! Ha Ha so funny. God I love ya lady.

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Upstate - :) lol right? HA!

Vegas - You're so nice, and coming from YOU it's really quite a compliment, thank you so much. :D And lol what ever you do - KEEP your night job! :)

Steve - THank You :) And dude, holy cow what a transition THAT must have been!

Corey - OH my GAWD - OMISH ! - That's freaking hilarious!!! AAAHHHHHAHAHAHAAHHAHH lol, must have been those teen years I spent going to church. LOL, but the real reason is that I was just so damn shy for so many years - and not really because I wanted to be. I'm a tad chemicaly imbalanced and it makes me pretty much freaked out all the time to draw any sort of attention to myself - UNLESS I'm on a wonderful pill my doctor prescribed about 5 years ago. Ever since then I've been able to come out! But you know.... I don't think you and I have ever been together when I was on it! When I was pregnant I had to go off of it - lol that baby shower family reunion that you came to when I was home last was a real workout for me not being on my brave-pills! Omish. . . that's hilariously cool. I think this will be one of the most favorite comments I've ever got! :)

Upstate Broad said...

I have to say I know what you're talking about though. I lived in NYC for about 5 years, where there are tons of Puerto Ricans, and tons of pretty much every other Spanish-speaking ethnicity there is. And they all hate the Puerto Ricans. Why? Because the Puerto Ricans hate them and consider themselves inherently superior, for no other reason than the fact that they are born with American citizenship and are automatically "legal,' like an accident of birth is some big accomplishment that gives them the right to look down on others - ESPECIALLY the Dominicans.

Funny thing is, where I grew up, we referred to ALL Hispanics, including Mexicans as "Puerto Ricans." I wasn't really aware that Hispanics came in different varieties until I moved to the NYC area. I hope times have changed in small-town America by this time. And I hope that eventually I can get my 79-yr-old Mom to stop referring to my husband of 24 years as "colored."

Alice said...

A Puerto Rican American guy commented on my blog a few weeks ago about he gets treated differently here because he speaks Puerto Rican Spanish. And he feels like foreigners, except him, get treated better. Not sure about that, but anyway...

People will find any way they can to distinguish themselves from something or someone they perceive as a threat. Like being identified as a Spanish speaker -- what's that about?

Gail said...

They cut in line ALL the time here in Michoacan! There is like NO personal boundary space here. But it's not the case over in Guanajuato, they are so polite in that state, so go figure. I guess it's like comparing states in the US or something, right?

I was in the airport in Panama last winter and there was a looong line in the girl's bathroom--3 toilets only--and our next flight was boarding. In comes this fancy dressed up high class woman and she begins to cut in front of me in the toilet line! I straight up told her in the best Spanish I could muster: "I got here first and you are not going to get in front of me!" But get this---I had to KEEP telling her this all the way to the toilet bc she KEPT trying to cut in front of me the whole time! And she 100% pretended that I didn't exist. She totally ignored me. And like I really needed to pee really really bad--we had just got off another flight, you see, and we had only a 20 minute layover, barely enough time to get off one plane and get on the next one.

My husband is afraid I'm going to get in a fight one day and get punched out, but this line cutting stuff really gets me going, you know? Especially if it involves my bladder! Arrrr!

Anonymous said...

I was raised in The Valley and when I went to school it was 85% mexican 15% gringo. I'm really confused that someone thinks Texans are prejudiced against Mexicans. They are Mexican or someone in their family is nowdays. The prejudice back then was against us non spanish speakers.


Gail said...

Donna, I think the point here is that the Tex/Mex folks tend to be prejudiced against the "real Mexicans," which I second that opinion going from my own experience there in the Texas border area, and going on the experience of of my "real Mexican" husband there, as well as in California. Mexican-Americans are notorious for their attitude toward "real Mexicans." Now don't go and get all worked up on me here---I'm not saying that ALL of them are that way, but enough of them most definitely are for it to be quite obvious.

PuertoVallartaGirl said...

I used to get prejudice treatment in Michoacan, Puerto vallarta, and I get it here in the US from the Mexicans.

The most predjudice I experience is in small town michoacan. Puerto vallarta not as much because they assume all americans are rich and maybe they will tip. But they do overcharge all americans then a mexican will walk up and they will give a hugely different price.

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Dag gum stoopid blogger, I just replied to you gals and it deleted them and now I've lost the gumption. GAHHHH - but -

Gail - lol I love that you kept cutting back - go you!

Anon - read the post a little better and you'll get it

Gail - thank you

P.V.G. - lol C. and I tested it a few times - if he goes in and askes for a price and then I go in by myself and ask for the same thing the price is always tripled :D Needless to say he does the bargaining :)

Gail said...

Oh yeah, no way I was gonna let that woman get to the toilet ahead of me. I was literally going to pee on the floor if I didn't get there on time.

My husband tells me all the time "hide your white face while I go inside and negotiate for the real price"--it could be the price of an X-Ray (honestly, he has haggled over the price of an X-Ray), the price of a new set of tires, the price for a pair of shoes, fill in the blank, you know what I'm talking about!

Ha ha ha, then they see my white face coming around the corner and they're like "aww, dang it--the customer is white!"