Self-Hater,Back in the Day

This might piss some people off. But fuck it. Anyone who thinks I’m saying this shit just to be a dick is not someone I give a shit about pissing off. Sure I am partially being a dick. I am a self-professed asshole after all. But I’m just trying to give an honest opinion of one aspect of my ethnic group’s long-standing stereotypical characteristics.

Notes: hr person had to come in and tell everyone to quiet down. Like a teacher would at a fucking high school. Jesus ducking Christ. Are you Assholes all so unprofessional that you don’t get that having a loud joking and shouting match in an area where people are trying to concentrate isn’t cool? Maybe Donald Trump is right. Maybe we Hispanics are bad for the country.

Easy now. It was just a joke.

And I get why white racists hate Hispanic culture and point to the States’ elite economic position and relative domestic tranquillity (the US is just better at silencing its marginalized voices) when compared to the often tumultuous economic and domestic histories of most Latin American countries (nevermind that the USA bears a significant portion of the responsibility for said tumult). It’s an easy and simplistic attack on a very complicated situation. You know, the Republican special.

See I was raised Republican and in a predominantly white middle-class neighborhood and went to predominantly white schools. I didn’t even have a Hispanic friend until I graduated from college. Normally we Latinos pal up with cousins our age as we are legion but my family settled in an area where there were no cousins nearby. And there sure as fuck weren’t any Latinos at my schools. Well, there was like one other kid in elementary school but he was one of the bullies so he didn’t really wanna be buddies with me. My high school actually had 30% minority enrollment but by that time I was fully self-identifying as “white”. I wasn’t looking to hang out with Hispanic kids now they actually were enrolled in the same high school as me and as a member of the untouchables caste of high school society, no Hispanic kid in their right mind was really looking to hang out with me. That would have been social suicide and they had friends already and they were all way cooler than me. Not that being cooler than me was a high bar.

I guess I was trans-racial before it was even a thing! I hated Hispanic culture because I hated the stereotypes associated with it (some of the big ones: loud, boisterous, physically affectionate, dramatic, Catholic, and the list goes on). I made a concerted although mostly subconscious (at the time) effort to mimic all the white stereotypes (good with money, punctual, reserved, speaks at a reasonable volume, and so on). I think I believed I was bullied from age 7 to 17 because I was Hispanic initially but then just because I was awkward, unathletic and uncool. Those things I didn’t mind so much. For some reason I guess I thought being uncool was sort of a choice. I never made any effort to do the things the cool kids did. I didn’t try to dress like them or go to parties or sneak out or drink underage. I was a tame geek whose idea of a wild Friday night was a midnight movie.

But being born Hispanic and having your family move to a decidedly non-Hispanic place was not something I chose. So I was pissed about it and I saw my best avenue to minimize the bullying was to think, act, talk and dress like a stereotypical white suburban kid.

Now before you get on your soapbox, I understand these are just stereotypes. I get that there are quiet, nerdy Hispanics. I get that there are loud, dramatic whites. I understand. But I’m speaking in stereotypes here and in generalities and having been raised in a large Hispanic family and having been educated in largely white schools, I think I can be allowed to generalize a little when it comes to those two populations. And if you don’t think I should – well – opinions are like assholes – everyone’s got one.

So it really wasn’t probably till my mid 20’s that I finally figured out I no longer could blame being unpopular with the ladies and uncool on being Hispanic. I was out of college for half a decade by then but it became readily apparent that I was not the “cool” friend or life of the party in any way shape or form. But it wasn’t because I was Hispanic. It was and simply is because I’m a huge fucking dork. I used to hate that but now I’m good with it.

There’s also some deep dark family shit I don’t want to get into that also made me really hate being Hispanic but I’m not ready to go live with that shitshow.

But there are times, like this morning at work, where the old hatred, and by logical extension self-hatred, wakes up from its slumber and floods my brain and fires up all those angry feelings.

I work in a place that is 99% Hispanic. We are in tight quarters (think of 2-3 people in the space equivalent to one cubicle). There are about 45 of us and about 20 in the room where I sit. We perform a job that requires concentration and attention to detail. You can’t chat with your friend and do this work at the same time. I had my headphones on as usual because I like to listen to my hippie chill music mix in the early morning because I’m still waking up. I get in early to the office because I like it when it is sparsely populated. Like with any ethnic group, white included, the fewer people the less noise.

But this morning a bunch more folks than usual came in early and then something incredibly funny happened in my room. I have no idea what it was because I didn’t look away from my screen and I turned up the volume on my music as soon as I heard the telltale sign of Latino group noise explosion. When 2 or more of my people get together and get excited about talking with each other and then start getting louder and louder. I experienced this first hand growing up in a Latin family all the time. I would literally get up from the dinner table and go eat at my room when the crescendo hit a certain level.

The person seated at the desk next to me started laughing loudly and began having an animated conversation with someone 20 feet away. Peals of laughter filled the room and more cross room conversations began to bloom. By this point I had switched to my hair metal band played list and had my volume cranked way up so it was loud in my little asshole world but at least I wasn’t listening to stupid office crap. But their laughter increased and made it through the sonic wall of my 80’s rock. I found myself wishing severe mauling on all of these people.

The HR director came in and barked a few sentences and everyone (except me and my friend A.B. who also hates these occurrences because we were already quiet) got silent and returned to their work.

Nowadays, despite that anecdote, I actually find the stereotypical Hispanic characteristic to be endearing (with some people being eternal exceptions). I’m cool with it now. I guess.

I don’t think I made much of a coherent point there. Maybe that I grew as a person or something. I don’t know if that’s true. I guess maybe it was just a little background history for y’all to enjoy. And when they make the movie about my life I’m sure their diligent researches will mine the early days of this seminal blog.

I just hope they get a white actor to play my part.

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