“So you’re black and what else?”

IMG_20160703_2326121Dawnae Maldonado,
Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

All my life I have experienced some type of racist comments and questions. It was always, “what ethnicity are you?” “Where are you from?” “You’re black and what else?” “You’re Latina?! Do you speak Spanish?” “Oh, you’re black.” “Are you Asian?” “Are you Indian?” and the list literally goes on forever. It didn’t really bother me too badly when I was younger, which is weird thinking back on it, but for some reason it bothers me more now that I am older. Why does it matter what race I am? Especially in this day, why are people still asking that when so many of us are mixed, but not just that, why does it matter period? Why can’t we just wipe that word completely out of our vocabularies by now? Why are people of certain races still getting treated differently than others? I just automatically expect the questions everywhere I go now. No matter what, and no matter how long I have known a person, whether we just met, or have been friends for years, I know eventually someone is going to ask me what race I am. I hate it. As I get older it just bothers me more, and I know it shouldn’t…but it does. I am still the same person you met before you asked that question. I am a person, just like you. We are all the same. A lot of times when I do say what I am, I get treated differently by every race. When I get asked the questions now, sometimes I ask questions back at the person like, “why, what did you think I am?” “Why did you think I am that race?” Most of the time I mostly get asked, “what ethnicity are you?” and “so you’re black and what else?” Now I ask people a lot, “why did you automatically say that I am black?” It stumps a lot of people when I ask that. I ask them because I am very fair skin, and I have long hair and small features and speak very “proper” which all of these qualities a lot of people would (ignorantly) say is not “black.” So why did you think I am black? People suddenly get thrown off when I ask questions like that. I am trying to get people to re-evaluate their stereotypes and assumptions and let them see that it all makes absolutely no sense. Race is a lie. We are all the human race and that is it. But for those of you who can’t get past it, I am Mexican, Puerto Rican, Black, Pacific Islander, and White and no, I don’t speak Spanish.

Shoutout to CBU: CBU HIS311


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