Posted: August 15, 2012 in Mexico, poetry
Tags: , ,

A prominent theme in my blog is racism, bigotry and ignorance.  I was talking to my mother yesterday and this subject came up. She stated that I always related to people on a global scale.

Firstly, let me point out that my mother was a former bigot herself. She grew up in a world of only Hispanics. Continuity was the key. Stepping out of the racial circle wasn’t even an option.  My grandmother was the key factor in this mindset.

My grandmother’s first encounter with a black man was in Tijuana in the 60’s.  According to my abuelita, he had an afro, smelled awful and was as black as tar.  I tend to wonder what her opinion of black people would be if she had met someone like Barack Obama, Will Smith or Bill Cosby.

That said, my abuelita got over her prejudices when I told her I was living with a black man years later.  She was visiting the family in the L.A. area and I had a spare bedroom.  I recall calling her in tears, explaining my living situation.

Her response, “Do I get my own room”.  I said yes and she said “I’ll see you soon”.  When she arrived, she was kind and friendly to my former boyfriend.  I had no idea she was capable of this transformation.

My mother’s evolution of racial views was because of me.  When we moved from the 98% Chicano world of East L.A. to the racial potpourri of Pasadena, the daily analysis of my multiracial world was the agenda.

If a black girl abused me (and they did) in any form my heart had KKK all over it.  Still, some were friendly to me and it was enough to turn my heart around.  Soon, I saw biracial children as the most beautiful and exotic looking creatures on earth.

So, as a teenage I dated black guys more than any other race.  This didn’t bode well with my mother. Then I hit her with the ultimate argument. If she wanted me to date only Hispanics, why didn’t she raise me in Mexico ?

No answer. She was beaten. From that point on, she was going to open her heart.  She befriended black women at work. When I brought my black girlfriend home after school, Pam threw her arms around my mother and called her Mom.

My mother, happily, hugged back. Pam was good at getting people to love her. Through heartaches, break-ups, laughter and my wedding, Pam was there. She was my girl for 15 years, until I lost her to a life-stealing seizure.

She died after caring for her cancer-ridden grandfather. He died 2 days prior to her. I was in New York at the time and spoke to her the day before she died.  I told her that I loved her and ordered her to rest.

Pam was good at calling people out. She and I had heated arguments about race. This is a good thing. In the end, we both learned and grew.  I told her that I hated it when the word ‘Nigger’ was used by anyone.

Pam thought I wanted to use it in the same innocuous way she did. She told me to mind my own business. I never heard her say it again.  Then she cut down on the gangsta rap and took to R&B a bit more.

In the end, I loved her family and she loved mine.  Today, my best friend is an Iraqi Muslim. For the past 10 years we have been there for each other. I have watched her children grow and go off to college.  Through Sahar, I have come to know and love other Muslim women.

When I was a very young girl, I would often stare at a picture of a meadow with a brook, a bridge and pastoral hills in the background. I always wanted to know what was behind those hills. Hence, I wanted to look beyond the obvious.

I was a collector of stories from anyone who had been outside of my Southern California world.  This is how you begin to think on a global scale. This is why I love history, museums and Olympic multi-racial athletes embracing before the world.

  1. Doris says:

    I love this!


  2. coconutspeak says:

    I’m glad you do.


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