Last night I smiled amusedly, sipping my cosmo while listening to a boy of Mexican origin recount how he’s often confused for being Spanish or Portugese and then not believed when he admits he’s Mexican.
Sounds like a real problem, right? I mean, why would he be upset about that when there are so many more discriminatory things someone could do, right?
Well, no. He’s very proud of his heritage. He’s very proud of his city and his family. He’s happy he’s here, of course (I believe he’s a student), but don’t confuse his olive-colored skin for something he’s not. He’s a man from Mexico.
All this is fine and good and it occurred to me that I experience some of the same things and, in fact, had been quite down about it and myself for the past few days. So I asked him, “Don’t you ever feel bad that people misunderstand you?”
His answer surprised me. He said at first it did but then he took the time to educate the people he was talking with. He said it got to the point where he was so assured of himself and cared so little for what people thought that he grew tired of educating people.
Wait … educating people? This implies not only freely and proudly admitting what and whom you are but taking it a step further and taking the time to tell people a little about it so when they confront it in the future they’ll look less like a n00b.
This has opened up some new ideas for me, things which I hadn’t considered, things which previously got me very down on myself, and it came from a form of discrimination to which I’m not subject (being Caucasian) but is no less present or meaningful.