July 13th, 2011
I’m Tired Of Talking About Race — Aren’t You?

I’m tired of talking about race. The topic makes me want to concurrently take a nap and scream. Though I’ve been talking about it for a long time now, ever since I was a feisty communist teenager with unfortunate haircuts. Now, I’m bored of it.

However, never having been passive, whenever I see or hear something racist, I feel the need to talk about it. (Unfortunately, sometimes I become finger-in-your-face kind of angry, my neck jerking back-and-forth in a ghetto-like fashion.)

People often seem to believe that racism is something that I imagine, as if I’m some sort of conspiracy theorist. After all, many naïve folks want to believe that we live in a “post-racial” society. Perhaps this post racial society is a place I’m not familiar with, a land filled with gnomes, Smurfs, and fairies made of chocolate. Here is a list of ignorant comments that have been directed at me over the years:

  • I didn’t think you were Latina because you don’t have an accent. (You must also be confused because I forgot to wear my apron today. Please hold while I make you some delicious taquitos and take care of your children.)
  • You speak like a white person. (I’m not sure who exactly you think I’m supposed to sound like, but I can assure you that my English is better than yours, which is not “white.”)
  • You don’t look Mexican. (Please be aware that Mexicans are comprised of all sorts of people. There are sizable, black, Arab, and Asian communities in Mexico. Mexicans also come in all colors thanks to the rape of the indigenous people. In my family there are blondes along with very dark-skinned, dark-haired people. The Menonitas (the Amish of Mexico) also look downright Aryan. I may look Indian or Arab or whatever because of the amalgamation of Spanish, Arab (they ruled Spain for hundreds of years, sillies), and indigenous blood. But perhaps I should cultivate the India Maria look (pictured above) to assuage your anxieties.)
  • You were academically successful because you are a minority. (In addition, everything you have ever worked for is a result of your ethnicity, you moron. Oh! I forgot that everybody loves Mexicans and that the whole country is just dying to lavish us with undeserved success. Allow me a few minutes to prostrate to the benevolent gods of this so-called “affirmative action.”)

It’s always astounding to me that people really think in these binaries. This is something I simply can’t get used to no matter how many ignorant things I hear. I can’t even count how many times people have been so utterly confused about who or what I am. To them I say, this is America, dumb dumbs— people are composed of dizzying amalgams, nuances, and even contradictions.

I don’t know what is so hard to understand about a well-educated Mexican American woman. I’m tired of talking about race and I’m tired of explaining myself.

Oh Hells Nah is a small and sassy Mexican woman exploring the relationships between poetry, culture, and food. She lives in Chicago, you can check out her blog — like hot dogs for your brain — or follow her on Facebook or Twitter @OhHellsNah.

[Photo By Valerie Quintero Castro]

6 thoughts on “I’m Tired Of Talking About Race — Aren’t You?

  1. I thought the adjective “Mexican” referred to a nationality of people, not a race of people. Your article, where you speak of being tired of speaking of race, appears internally contradictory in that respect. Ignorant people everywhere will insult each other by asking questions born of their lack of knowledge and sensitivity, so perhaps it is better to grow accustomed to it rather than living in a state of poorly suppressed anger. I am occasionally insulted by individuals of Hispanic heritage by being called a “gringo,” rather than being judged on an individual basis, but such is the world. It is hurtful when it occurs, hurtful because the speaker aims to hurt, but life is like that, and life is sweeter when one refuses to allow such slights and insults to color ones outlook.

  2. I was drawn to this via a google search– after being told about a
    controversial post by this author on marrying a euro-american (which
    I’ve yet to find). But anyhow, and I say this will all due respect, not
    as a shot. My first reaction to this piece was something I saw a
    tweeter (redhostdesi if not mistaken) post in regards to a similar
    topic: Check your privilege at the door.

    If this is why we are “tired of talking about race” I could only one
    day hope it gets that easy for nuestra Gente. That means we would be
    getting access to quality education and becoming truly bilingual (or in
    some cases tri/multi-lingual).

    Now, I get the annoyance – I understand, but frankly we have far
    bigger concerns to use precious blog/tweet/social network space on,
    especially when we have the access to communicate as the author
    apparently does. Then again it is her space to do as she wishes, but on a
    deeper level if we are committed to social change and changing
    attitudes our analytical content needs to be much stronger and less

    (PS if someone can link the other article that would be great! I’d like to read it myself before forming a full opinion)

    Te Cuidas,


  3. Does the world exist beyond your own INDIVIDUAL reality?  I am just curious because for the rest of us – especially the majority brown ones- race is not talked about enough.  And the word “Mexican” is a derivate of MEXICA (aka Aztec for the colonially minded) – the national identity of MEXICAN was co-opted by the above listed groups. if you’re going to speak about something be informed.  

  4. We haven’t talked about race enough, that’s the problem.  If Latinos with Indigenous blood would simply say that they are also Native Americans that would take care of the race problem.  If we recognized and embraced this part of us and then emphasized it then others wouldn’t be so confused about what we are.  Also, others would be more accepting of us and not see us as foreigners, strangers, outsiders, immigrants, illegal aliens, etc.

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