You may not know this from reading my blog, but I’m Hispanic. Not super Hispanic, like speaks Spanish at the house and reads Gabo in the original (although that is a life goal of mine…) Hispanic, but more like “grandma is racist against Mexicans because she’s Spanish enough to know the difference even if I don’t” Hispanic.
The thing is, though: I don’t look Hispanic. I’m not exactly pale and pasty, but I’m lighter than most, and I’m not really that hairy either. I guess what I’m saying is that I could pass–and for the most part I do–as I a whitey. It would be one thing if I had a moustache–then my heritage wouldn’t really be in question–but without that 10%+ bonus I fall in between the lines that finely define “Anglo” and “Chicano”. I guess you could say I’m the Michael Jackson of Hispanics.
Naturally, when I try to tell people I’m Hispanic they’re all like, “No, way, Shelby! You’re too white to be Hispanic. You don’t even listen to Mexican-people music” and it makes me feel really bad, like I’m a race traitor or something. Guys, for real–it makes me feel like Benedict Arnold, but for beaners.*
Of course, while I don’t look or dance like the dirty Mexican I wish I was deep down, I do have some peculiarly Latino traits. My nose, for instance, is large enough to build a WWII memorial on, and I enjoy the music of Morrissey more than is humanly possible for white people (they did studies on the subject at Cornell). And isn’t that what truly unites us all, we various people of Hispanic descent–our love of a sixty-three year old Irish-English singer-poet?
That was a rhetorical question.
*It’s okay for me to call myself a beaner, but if you do it I might punch you.