Racist or a Product of Survival?

How does racism affect you?—A story of my wife.

Am I a racist? For as long as I can remember I have just kept quiet when people vented their hatred of my skin color at me. Being quiet meant being safe in the sense that I’m not allowing the situation to escalate further.

Being spat on and having the people spit on the floor and tell me to eat their mucus as they called me a spic, beaner, wetback amongst other names. Called a dog and chased down hallways at high school, bullied for having brown skin, eyes and hair. Enduring the hate in the eyes of extremists as I help them at the local emergency room. Being overlooked and when noticed, looked down on and dismissed at my local church for being the “Latina” by my “sisters in Christ”. Being spoken down to, spoken over and dismissed while presenting new ideas as I Co-chair a local coalition that is completely Caucasian. I feel like the brown speck in the white chicken crap. Should I shoulder on and stand my ground—or just accept the invitation to join my brothers and sisters at the local Reservation?

I did not understand what my offense was. When I walk out the door at home I don’t check my skin color. I just am—soy yo.

Now I’m older, still have my skin color and ethnicity. Those insults that I endured all my life may have affected me.

I chose to marry and have children with Caucasian men. Divorced by 22, widowed by 36 and finally at peace with final husband. My question is why did/do the men I chose have green eyes, fair skin and light hair? Was I hiding my DNA or an unknowing product of my evolution? Did I want to spare any potential children from enduring what I have lived with?

I’m glad to be who I am. An Asian/Latina with many talents and gifts. I will no longer hold my civil tongue as those who chose to throw venom at me continue their ways.

Author: jim-

Alternatives to big box religions and dogmas

96 thoughts on “Racist or a Product of Survival?”

  1. I had a notion a while ago as I was cooking supper. (made from scratch biscuits and sausage gravy, and yes we sometimes have b-fast for supper) It occurred to me that someone could read what I have said here and wonder if I am a racist.

    I believe after 18 years of marriage to my gal, I can say such things and it not be racist. Especially since my wife knows good and well there isn’t an ounce of malice in my words. I could not and would not ever say such a thing to anyone I did not know very well. I think that would be racist.

    I have made jokes in good fun with a Mexican friend of my son, but we have known each other for very many years, he is almost family, and I have defended him from real racism before. I made it clear I wasn’t going to tolerate it, and that was the end of the matter.

    Maybe I’m digging myself a hole here, but I think malice is the key, but I also understand that many a racist remark is made “as a joke.” There has to be a line somewhere, where that is true. But there is also a comfort zone, where people of different races can be good friends/lovers/ or married with kids… that relationship can tolerate a joke here and there, in good clean fun, and be ok… can’t it?

    I’m curious Jim, you and your wife are biracial, as are we, where would you stand on this matter? This is what I get for thinking…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think celebrating differences, humor between yourselves, being able to laugh with, and laugh at yourself and your differences like today isn’t racist at all. If you want to know if you are a racist… what do you say about them in private when they leave?
      I remember debating Mel and he would be cordial (initially) to me directly, then amongst the other apologists types they would stab you in the back, talk about how stupid I was, like i was not even there reading. Cara dobles, mayores hipócritas de todos los tiempos.
      But, only you know the answer for sure. Personally I treasure the differences. Makes life grand!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are correct when you say malice is the key. I love to joke around about our differences. I approach people from different cultures and try to find a bridge. Maybe I have been super lucky that they are receptive and appreciate the gesture. My inner sense of fight or flight kicks in when I am dealing with people who don’t care for my race. I know if they mean well or not. Good natured joking is great.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for your perspective, that’s pretty much how I feel about it,

        What got me wondering is I have seen places, well conversations on the net, by people who would label us both as racist for exactly the sort of thing we are discussing, so it got me to wondering.

        The far left I think can be as bad as the far right… Anyway thanks for the indulgence.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for posting latinagem. It really grinds my gears hearing a story like yours. I raised our kids to appreciate people for who they are, and base our likes/dislikes upon the actions of those we know. Color of skin or nation of origin should have nothing to do with our judgement of others. We are all human, and born equals.

    With all of that said… My wife is Puerto Rican, she scares me 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for your comments Shelldigger! What a great world we would live in if everyone raised their kids that way. You are a brave man by the way. Puertorriqueñas have crazy amounts of fire in the blood and hearts that are full of love for their families.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂

        I should come clean, I do jest in good fun, I can’t help myself. My wife is a pretty good gal and to date hasn’t thrown anything at me but the comments I probably had coming 😉 Except for a few “viejo’s”, and I probably had those coming too 😉

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Same. I think the chancla is one of those things famous for being famous, but rarely falls outside of urban legend in actual use any more.

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        2. I have a great sense of humor. Laughing at myself and my stereotypical behavior is never an issue. I put on my salsa, merengue and samba music while I sweep and mop. The chancleta comes out if anyone dares to walk across my Fabuloso soaked floors before they dry. 😂 I think we can all learn about one another with good fun.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Then we will get along quite well I think 🙂

            I pick on my wife in good fun sometimes, and she knows darn well it is in good fun. And she treats me the same, Wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

            “She’s a Puerto Rican from New York, she has a knife!” 😉

            Liked by 3 people

  3. True Story:
    I met my(future) wife in Johannesburg while here on contract. At the end of my term, I was due to take up a seven month contract aboard ship cruising around Scandinavia.
    She wanted to come ”home” (England) with me and I agreed, believing she could always get a job in the UK while I fulfilled my contact. Aaah, isn’t young love grand? Naive and idealistic and often very stupid!
    Anyhow, I phoned home, announced I was bringing ”my girlfriend home for a holiday” . Take a guess the very first question I was asked?
    ”Is she black, dear?”
    ”What the hell sort of question is that to ask me?”
    After I had blown my top at the blatant racism and calmed down a bit, and informed those on the other end that she was Portuguese, I later received a further call subtly mentioning that … ”aren’t Portuguese somewhat like the Arabs, dear?”

    That little episode took some time to get over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Racism is a slippery slope for those who look down on other from their perches on Mount Olympus. Are they clueless? I have no words, really. What if you had been on contract in S.Korea, Japan, or Thailand…Would anything have been good enough? The family shock of the century if she is of Moorish decent. I sorta hope she is just to break that spell. Kids are great at deflating racism with the dreams of love.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Traditional Portuguese are blond and blue eyed so somewhere along the line one of my wife’s ancestors was bonked by a Moor, as she is dark haired and dark eyed. And her Maiden name suggests a Jewish heritage in there somewhere as well.
        Fortunately my True Blue English blood (sic) ensured the kids turned out a normal colour.
        (Not withstanding Homo Erectus, Habilis,Neanderthal and that bloody great hairy Gorilla character from 1 million years back on my mother’s side.)
        Sheesh!

        Liked by 1 person

            1. Me racist? Good grief if I can tolerate my daughter once going out with a Manchester United supporter the last thing I am going to worry about is a bit of melanin for goodness sake!

              Liked by 1 person

            2. You can tell an MU fan, but you can’t tell em much! Where is that on the scale compared to a Cowboys fan? Cousins, twins? At least the MU fan is watching the right sport. There’s at least a grain of sense—maybe?

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            1. I didn’t think you needed any help…My comment was a sort of Rorschach test answer—it just popped into my head.

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            2. I did one of those tests, once upon a time, while I was doing a teachers course and we were studying Piaget and Maslow.
              After twenty five ink blots all I ever saw was Mary Magdalene naked . Most odd, don’t you think?

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  4. Great post. I find pigmentation… basically how we developed protection from ultra violent radiation… the strangest of the strangest things we could have chosen to differentiate ourselves from each other…. and then ascribe characteristics of superiority or inferiority based on that pigmentation. Crazy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. And historically as it turned out, the more effective ones pigmentation, the greater the chance of oppression. Makes perfect sense 😳

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            1. Oh yes, and we’ve discussed this before. It’s supposedly a little better than it used to be with some legal protections, but is it better for real, or just the way people work around it?

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            2. It’s not bigger than it used to be, it has just become worse. I’m happy to see some inter caste marriages these days but people still think primitive.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. Humans are all born a sickly lot, coughs and colds and diseases till the day we die. You’d think we’d watch out for each other even more.

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    2. Bharath, the bad traditions must be broken and forgotten. Caste systems, dowries, hate brought on by religion, etc. I rebel against these things as well. I have no issues standing up for others. When people are jerks to me I feel sorry for them. I think that I’m not helping them if I do not let them know they are being offensive.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know caste system is bad, I belong to an upper caste myself. People have changed, sure, dowry is a social evil but you know what, many women only look for men who earn well or who earn twice their pay. This has to change, we are giving more importance to money than relationships and love. And I know how it feels like to face jerks because I was constantly bullied even in my adulthood.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I can’t like the comment because of the fact that you are bullied even as an adult. Stand your ground. I know that the social norms are different for you than they are in the USA. Little by little you can chip away at the things that you do not accept. That is what I am doing.
          Do you think that the women want a partner who earns a lot of money just because they want some sort of stability and protection? I know that in Panama the women will only go with a partner who can provide. These women often lack an education and live under the yoke of machismo. There are gold diggers in all parts of the world.
          But that is a whole other topic.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. These are educated women. Well those things aside, yeah, I was. I’m okay now as my horizons are expanding and I’m leaning what to remember and ignore. When I see only what I wanna see, the world is changing for me.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. ❤️ Thank you. I honestly love cultural diversity, traditions and languages. From the palest shade of skin to the darkest! Everyone is unique and has a beauty to them.
      My experiences have made me stronger and a better person.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thanks John. I think it takes a lot of courage, especially in the very small community of 300. I’d be super curious to hear what’s said in private…or furious.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sad people are so petty and can’t get past obsessing about race! We’re not in a post racial society, because people of all colors won’t let go of obsessing over human phenotypic variation…

        Liked by 1 person

            1. I want to be clear in saying that I am not a victim. I give no one power over me. Things happen, bad things sometimes. It is good to shed light on the fact that racism is alive and well.
              I am lucky to have the will, stubbornness and grit of a battle axe. I would not stand quietly as I watched a Policía National try to shake down a Caucasian American couple during a point check in Panama. I shamed him as he stood there with his M16 on his back. I am equal opportunity in my quest for what is correct.

              Liked by 3 people

            2. I remember. You told him his mother would be ashamed of him. FYI, in Panama you can drive three months with a US license and a passport. He was trying to take her money with some BS fine. LG verbally kicked ass. It was so good I told the lady myself she could just go now…we got this.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. This area is a weird spot of earth. It’s Uber religious with a lot of Mennonite, JW, SDA, and LDS but used to house some of the extreme hate groups. They were run out in the 90s, but it makes ya wonder if there’s still remnants of the past. We’re not too far from a church that is on the SPLC watch list. Those things can make one weary of voicing out too much.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “My question is why did/do the men I chose have green eyes, fair skin and light hair?”

    My question is, how does the turkey in the gravatar fit into all of this? And how would anyone know Jim’s hair colour? oooooh, I see 😀

    I can relate. My grandparents were born in three different countries, so my parents have different nationalities, and I’ve spent my life being an outsider. In North East Brazil I was too white. In the US people would say they’d never seen hair as black as mine. In France they thought I was Spanish and in Spain they were sure I was French 🙂 And all of that was really exhausting. Then when I was 22, I met someone whose grandparents were from three different countries, and his parents had different nationalities. And then life became a little bit easier.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Keeping up on that must have been interesting. You are your own melting pot. My wife is Panamanian, Filipino, Irish, and she can blend like no other. She’s had several offers from Arabic men to be a second wife. She’s too independent for that. I pretty sure she’d be flogged…then killed in that culture.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Panamanian Irish – that’s like John McCain 🙂

        I could never keep up with anything because it was just a factual reality that I didn’t have a personal cultural identity. Everyone else in the family had a sense of nationality; not me.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. An Irishman born in the Canal Zone has a different look than that a Panamanian mother and a Filipino/Irish father, but I get your point. Nothing ever gets past you does it?

          Liked by 2 people

  6. I wrote this poem on my other site a while back. I think it applies today.

    Beautifully born-
Of passions unrestrained love-
Help me hold not hate-
My eyes will I see-
Your hope and zeal unfeigned-
Or blanket disdain-
Choose wisely your words
For though quiet I observe-
Each utter you make-

    Liked by 3 people

  7. My daughter was asked if she was a Mexican by a Caucasian boy. She said she wasn’t. The young man told her that he knew she was because he had seen me and I was definitely a Mexican. He went and got an adult to verify that I was indeed a Mexican. My daughter explained that we are Latinas from Panama. They concluded that there was no difference. We are Mexicans. I am going to have to lay most of the blame as to this ignorance on the school systems and the rest on their upbringing.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I think world travel should be a mandatory activity. It just goes to show how ignorance plays a role here. Racism and religion are very similarly passed down. You can stop it in a generation…if you care to

      Liked by 5 people

      1. These people who I have suffered have been amongst the most pious, religious flock. They believe themselves to have the moral superiority and be the superior race. I have been lucky to have one boss who is religious and a decent human. She lives what she believes and celebrates the uniqueness in each person. She has been a great support system.

        Liked by 3 people

  8. Bravo, to your wife. No one should have to endure such hostility and ignorance. We must all stand up to it. It’s also very distressing that people feel the need to conceal their ethnicity and conform to a racist culture. What a shame!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The topic came up last night whether Trump has emboldened racism at all in her opinion. We didn’t really have an answer to that on a personal level, but at the coalition a second lady there started piggybacking of the comments and behavior of another. My wife had related well with this gal initially, but the two of them ping off each other (security in numbers?) and just talk right over the top of her. A month ago she got a key to the building and holy shit, you should’ve seen them scramble to lock their cabinets and take stuff home from their areas. Watch out! The brown lady has key!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. They are trying to be more inclusive. Some people are not reacting well. Saying and doing are two different things. One wants to work with me as long as I obey her. Stand, sit and do as she tells me. I let her know that would not be acceptable and I would do things my way. My jobs are all done and done well.

        Liked by 4 people

    2. Thank you for your comments. I know I’m not alone here. Recently I had helped at a community event. I saw a woman and had a feeling she was from Guatemala. I asked her if she spoke Spanish. She replied with a heavy accent that she spoke very little. I spoke to her in Spanish to remind her of our native tongue. Her eyes teared up. I know what she is going through. It made me sad and also angry. I stay on because changes are needed.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Nan. I feel lucky! She and I are the perfect opposites. I wouldn’t imagine why anyone would frown on that variety of life. I have learned so much from her side of the world and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Just to throw out a tidbit — I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, but I was adopted. My adoptive parents never told me anything about my birth parents and by law, I was unable to get any records.

        Fortunately, about 15 or so years ago, certain circumstances came about and I was able to learn about my birth family. As it turns out, my birth mother was Mexican. (I never got to meet her as she had already passed.) Anyway, I mention this because one of my half-brothers looks very definitely Mexican … and in the climate we live in, I sometimes wonder how my life would have been had those same genes been obvious in me as well. As it turned out, I am more “white” than “brown” (most likely because my birth father was German).

        I find it a truly sad commentary of the human race when we define others by the color of their skin.

        Liked by 6 people

        1. That’s an interesting heritage. You got the smarts from both sides too!! Thanks Nan. I have German heritage too. We are at a party in Panama during the World Cup—Argentina vs Germany, and when Germany scored the only goal late in the game I jumped up Gooooaaal!! The entire room turned and stared. You could’ve heard a pin drop. Oops. Forgot where I was for a minute. You don’t mess with SA fútbol 🥅

          Liked by 3 people

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