“La interpretación de nuestra realidad con esquemas ajenos sólo contribuye a hacernos cada vez más desconocidos, cada vez menos libres, cada vez más solitarios” Gabriel Garcia Marquez , La Soledad de Latino America.
There was a point in my life when I truly hated white people. To be exact it was seven years. I hated everything about them. From the way in which back in highschool my classmate’s parents paid for their SAT classes, while my crew and I were stuck using them outdated SAT public library books that were due in three weeks. I hated to see white families praise their white children for half-assed white performances, supporting every single white sneeze they took. While my family perpetually demanded for me to finish the cleaning of our house, and only gave me looks of approval whenever I peeled and boiled platanos for my brothers. The fuck is an A in an AP course to an immigrant family? The fuck is being the only brown girl with broken english to win an election in a white student government to an immigrant family? The fuck is growing balls to get on a stage and recite Shakespeare lines to rows of whites after two years of ESL to an immigrant family? As long as I wasn’t scrubbing our toilet down, the fuck was always nothing for my immigrant family. Nothing at all.
I hated white people the most senior year of high school. I hated how in AP microeconomics my teacher and classmate thought it was acceptable to ask me if I was in this country illegally, and remind me that if I wasn’t that I should certainly never return to class. So I stopped going to that class, as well as to every other class I was taking. I fucking hated white people. I hated hearing the word spic and not knowing what it meant. I hated the most how for too long my broken English silenced me. I hated the way in which I could physically sense my tongue stumbling, trembling, tangling those beautifully cohesive and articulate ideas that my brain painted in Spanish. I hated that feeling of inadequacy that came from knowing that no matter how high I held my head, or how hard I tried, their privilege would always walk all over my pride.
I hated how on my high school graduation, the only parent cheering for me and giving presents was my white’s friend mother, Ginger, because my Dominican mother was occupied sleeping. A weekend ritual that could never be interrupted after her 50 hours at the factory. I hated how much I cried that day. How I never told anyone. How I promised myself to never ask, let alone expect anything from my family. I hate how seven years later, I have kept that promise. I hated Ginger’s puzzled sight full of pity; I too wondered why no one from my family showed up to my graduation. I hated seeing those with lower SAT scores than mine go away to college. While my wetback and spick self with a 1800 score was stuck living at home, attending the white’s men community college the way they always told me it was going to be for my kind.
I hated how I got to a “real” college on my own. Literally. I packed my bags, and called a taxi. Unlike white folk I didn’t have the comfort of making my parents proud by the college I was attending nor by the scholarships I was awarded. I hated feeling guilty for my accomplishments. I hated the sight of families unloading belongings, and saying goodbye within tears of real emotional angst at the sight of their loved ones gone. Of their loved ones grown. Tears I never saw. Tears that I never I felt my cheeks absorb because I was too damn happy for finally getting away from my family. I saw that lonely unloading of my bags as a blessing. The true privilege was parting ways from my family, a tribe so unlike the white folk, that it made me hate the latter so much more. In my mind I was finally at the same level, in the same place of those I resented and envied so much. I hated how wrong I was.
College was my chance to make all inequities, equal – a place to let my spirit, and voice run rampant. A place to let my accent and broken English soar unmasked, and still be considered competent. I had to be the best, the brightest, the most thoughtful. I had to be unbreakable. But four years of dealing with white folk as classmates, as professors, as an institution, as lovers, did break me. And it broke me over and over again.
I hated how I had to keep myself from smacking liberal bitches on their face daily. I hated to hear white folk call my people backwards from the comfort of their own bubbles. Them bitch-ass armchair philosophers offering arrogant commentary about problems they’ll never experience. I hated the smell of their entitlement, the sound of their solutions to our problems, the sight of their hairy armpits coupled with broken thrifted clothes when I knew they could afford better.
How could you know what they’ve been through abroad? You have no idea white person, be silent. I was alway silent when I had no idea, when I had too many ideas – why couldn’t they do the same? But no, white folk can never be silent. In college, anger instead of broken English was the one to silenced me. Whenever I wasn’t skipping class, I sat at the front of the class and rolled my eyes at their gated community/never been outside of mommie’s and daddie’s blanket of proctection/ I want to save the world with facebook profile picture next to colored children selves assume what’s best for continents packed with souls who will never own the white folk’s agency.
I hated to see my own beauty, my intelligence, my anger and hatred towards whites be exoticized and praised by them. They praised all of this anger, they commended this shit. I hated to see my island flair, my accent, my big unruly hair and outlandish statements of anti-whiteness be considered sexy. It was a passionate anger that the whites invited themselves to sample without my permission, that they wanted to hear in order to have something new to intellectualize. The superficial aspects of who I am were the only thing the whites ever praised me about, and I was expected to accept such praise. The culprit of my hatred towards the whites took place after he broke my heart. A white. The motherfucking whitest of them all. The fuck.
At first I didn’t notice him. What was to notice? He was one more artsy white kid at a New England liberal arts college. The kind of fellow that looks the same, sounds the same, does the same as everyone else. He was so commonplace that his averageness made it easy to disregard him. Until he added me on facebook, commenting on my broken hearted facebook status, saying that he was also struggling to let go of a relationship that only caused him pain. I hated how at 21, I was unable to discern people's self-serving bullshit from reality.
But at the moment, he made me forget. He made me forget about the heartache a brown boy with whom I had the world in common had caused. His deep kisses on my forehead made me forget about the many intimacy lacking encounters I had prior to him. The ways that his own anger and pain overshadowed mine made me forget about the mountains of frustrations burried deep within me. The way he listened to me, silently, always telling me that he liked how strong I was, made me forget about how weak and defeated I often felt. His punching of walls whenever I was cold to him, his eagerness to introduce me to his parents, his thoughtfulness made me forget about how irrelevant I often felt. The stuffed animals, the drawings, the “Habia una vez” pet stories he invented in broken Spanish, and whispered to me each night before we fell asleep made me forget about my need to always be rough, to be closed up, to be guarded.
The times he would sit at the front row whenever I performed on a stage, made me forget about all the times I had no one seating in an audience for me. The times he renounced his own whiteness, and placed my lack of it in a pedestal, made me forget about those classroom instances in which being the only brown girl meant swallowing white people's ignorant cruelty. The time he said I love you, made me forget about my inability to, in 21 years, ever utter those words towards a man. Towards a white person. So I said I love you too. I said to the whitest man I've ever met, I love you, over and over again, even when he no longer wanted to hear it. Each time I said it, I felt it in my every core. Each time I felt that he chose me over other whites, over his own worldview and privilege, I felt that I no longer hated the whites. The fuck I was wrong. For two more years, I continued hating white people.