And then my brain takes me back just two weeks ago when I was shopping at Trader Joe's with Sabine. We were in the produce section and a group of teenagers were looking at the tomatoes, deciding which ones to buy. One of the girls picked up a tomato and asked the others, "How about these?" Her friend took the tomato from her, read the sticker, threw it back into the bin and said, "Ew, no it's Mexican!" I've no idea what she meant exactly or why her aversion, but I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. My mind felt weary at the time so I decided to stop thinking about it and headed to the next aisle.
A few months ago, a new family moved into our building. They, like the six-year-old girl's family, are one hundred percent Mexican. The eldest daughter, who is nine years old, has the lightest brown hair and blue eyes. She, with her mother and her little brother, stopped by our place recently and when it was time for them to go, the mother said, "Come on, you guys, we're going to grandma's house and she's waiting for us." The girl looked at me, rolled her eyes, put her hand to the side of her mouth and said my grandma's Mexican."
I told her I was Mexican and that meant that Sabine was Mexican, too. She just looked at me and said, "Oh."
I hate that too many young girls, including myself and maybe even my mother, feel and felt shame about who they are. I hate to think about how other people in the world are helping to create that shame and negative perception.
And I hate that those of us who don't look Mexican are all-too privy to that negative perception, those negative words, that hatred. Maybe if we were more brown, we wouldn't have to hear what they really think.