This country has sadly went to shit in the past weeks as more Black men and women are killed or wrongfully charged for crimes they obviously didn’t commit. As the racial tension blew up into massive proportions, as a woman of color and Hispanic I have everything to lose in this society. I learned that I have to lose my culture, my heritage (if I have some) to become a citizen of the United States. Assimilated in their culture (if there’s any), their language, their identity in order to “get ahead” in society. What I didn’t, and many was we didn’t read the fine print which it could be said, “Whites are allowed to have more privilege than minorities.” That means from getting a job, to get an education, to even the arts, Caucasians runs the show. As I came to this country 13 years it has been nothing but obstacles, setbacks and closed doors, from the moment of getting a job, to try to get to college and some other venues such as my photography business. It has it great moments, but then, reality sets in, people start judging from the moment I get my camera in my hands and do pictures for Imagekind, hearing conversations and whispers like:
“That camera is very expensive” or “That’s a very nice camera you got there” meaning “You can’t afford a $700.00 camera, did you stole it?”
From that moment on, I continued to ignore for years the pointing fingers followed by their grim faces while carrying on with their $600.00 Iphones, Dolce and Gabbana handbags while driving a Camaro or an expensive SUV. Getting a job is never easy, more if you’re a minority. As I filed for employment to work in a car dealership in 2006, I received a call from the “interviewer” telling me that I didn’t get enough experience even thought I had an Associate Degree for that field and has 1 year of experience related to work as receptionist, and I was getting by, working as a housekeeper until I get a better job, and I thought getting this job will be going a forward step in the ladder, but it wasn’t the case. The interviewer did the biggest insult I ever heard in my life that draw me to a great sense of ire. She said “Why don’t you go back home and start cleaning houses?” Excuse me! I didn’t spend 4 years studying in a University to then cleaning houses in United States? I’m not illiterate, I’m a person that I have confidence in what I do no matter if they reward me or not. I do my job, thank you very much! After I said “Because I want a challenge and to gain experience” she just said goodbye and hang up. I was during that time devastated. But it’s not the first or the last that I encounter such secretly racism.
Even in the hotel I used to work as a housekeeper, as soon as I tried to apply to work in Front Desk, the general manager didn’t get me the opportunity to have an interview and he said blatantly that due to my “accent” I can’t get that job. And this is NOT drama or trying to make readers sorry for my circumstances. It just happened. And I can’t change the way I am, no matter how hard I try. They didn’t consider the skills I have to offer, instead it’s just the color and my accent that could hold against my financial future and my career.
Not only that, going out to places like a restaurant or the doctors office really strikes my fear of people as I try to look normal. I try to avoid driving my car at night because perhaps some cop is going to arrest me for no reason. Yes, we’re living in a era of fright, where only Black people seems to be bellow Caucasians and it always been, from Education, to job placement to even the arts, it’s no biggie, I know. It has been for decades and even more with Ferguson. What’s impossible is to get along honestly, settle our differences and move along. It’s complicated. It’s not like a fantasy movie where a fairy use a wand and everybody sings kumbaya near the fire hugging each other. Since Blacks and Whites can’t get along are they ever consider going back to segregation? Because by the sound of it, if both races can’t settle their differences and forgive and forget and move on. But they don’t and in the meantime, minorities who want to break the stereotypes and their obstacles are stuck in a rock and a hard place on getting a better future for themselves and their families.
In the meantime, I won’t be giving up even if I die old. At least, I tried.