So, you recently realized you are a white passing latinx and have no idea what to do with that information?
Look, being born light skinned is not inherently bad, it doesn’t automatically convert you into this evil person, but it does allow you to have people around perceive you differently, and almost always, that perception is skewed in our favor. You will see people like you on TV, you will feel represented, you will have people praising your tone, your eyes, your hair, your looks, you WILL HAVE MORE PEOPLE THINKING YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL BASED JUST ON YOUR SKIN COLOR, you will automatically be assumed to be in a higher power position/upper class, you will be assumed to be educated, people will be nicer to you. These are a few basic things, that you KNOW are true, every White Passing Latinx has been through at least one of those, every single one has seen the contrast of perceptions and interactions of someone light skinned and someone dark skinned. Don’t lie, you’ve seen it, you’ve lived it.
Now, being a WPL does not make you immune to racism or colorism within your own culture or in others. Your experiences as a WPL won’t ever be erased nor have lesser meaning, they will still be very valid, because even though you might look ‘white’, you aren’t, you’re just passing as one. Now, I’m talking about the experiences that you get for being as a POC, not those experiences that stem from the benefits you gain as a privileged person. It is very important to understand that while you can occasionally be a victim of discriminating circumstances, they aren’t as common and as bad as our dark skinned counterparts. We will never experience the whole discriminating force as them.
Also important to know that, yes, your experiences as a WPL are part of the Latin American narrative regarding racism and colorism, we are part of our own country’s history and culture. BUT, said narrative shouldn’t revolve around our experiences. We are not the ones in imminent need of any rectifying actions. We are not the vulnerable ones here. In fact, we are the ones still perpetuating problematic behaviors. THIS IS IMPORTANT, WHITE PASSING LATINXS ARE PIECES OF SHIT. I say this as a white passing Mexican, I’ve seen very fucked up shit from WPL (I was one of those until very recently, but I’m trying). WE are the ones who should be using our privilege to call out other people who continue to oppress others and benefit from a system that’s really unbalanced.
Hearing this for the first time SUCKS, it’s annoying, it’s hard, but it’s a selfish reaction. Because, let’s be honest, we’re so used to being catered to in our cultures, Latin American cultures are very colorist and anti-black, so the more light skinned you are, the better the race is, the better you are treated, the more important your needs and feelings are. It’s not a coincidence that ‘mejorar la raza’ is a very common phrase people use, meaning you HAVE to find a partner who’s whiter than you, so long you don’t have dark skinned kids. WPL have to get over themselves.
And last but not least important, actually this is immensely important: intent never justifies impact. You will encounter many WPL, maybe even yourself who will say ‘but I didn’t mean it like that’, but guess what? It will still have consequences. It will still make an impact and normalize problematic behaviors. Never forget that if you are a white passing latinx, you have a fucking moral duty to understand how you are benefitting from society and how to deconstruct it, first on yourself, and then on the rest. Think about it, for every benefit a WPL gains, a dark skinned person will be paying for that. I don’t think that’s fair at all.
courage the cowardly dog eustaces mask looking motherfucker
"and you’re half cambodian, that’s like SO COOL"
she says this, and i can’t help but being puzzled. what do you mean by “it’s so cool ?”
oh. oh, it’s the first time she meets a mixed race asian person. and she says it’s so “cool”. she keeps repeating that word and i feel like i told her i’m half fairy or something. but i’m just me and i don’t know what she means when she’s using that word over and over again.
that’s what they think, i think, that people of color are “cool”. they call us “ethnic” and they call us “exotic” and they call us “a beacon of diversity”.
i try hard, and harder, and harder and the compliment she thinks she’s making, i fail to hear it.
because. because let me tell you how “cool” it is to be me.
i’m a first generation cambodian born after the genocide that took place between 1975 and 1979. my father is a survivor. my father is a refugee.
from a refugee camp in thailand to another, he eventually ended up here in Paris after declining an offer to be sent to America.
let me tell you how “cool” it was, when during his first years here, he used to wake up, multiple times a night, every single night, sweating and out of breath, jaw and fists clenched, ready to fight back against the invisible attackers that remained in his nightmares.
let me tell you how “cool” it was, when he arrived here alone without the slightest idea of whether his family had survived or not. how “cool” it was when he, a former journalist, now had to carry bags of rice sixteen hours a day for the asian stores in china town to make a living. and the sleepless nights. and the clenched fists to fight back, just in case of.
let me tell you about how “cool” it was, when he drowned his sorrow and trauma in alcohol and opium because then, refugees had been offered no psychological support. and how the tight refugee community was his only family. when those that survived hell with you are the only brothers you have left.
let me tell you how “cool” it was. for him to be dropped off in this country he had only seen in pictures. where the cold was new, and the loneliness was new, and the hate of these people towards him was real.
and me. let me tell you how “cool” it felt, when at a young age, i would hear my little friends talk about going on vacation at their grandparents’. how “cool” it was when i asked where my father’s brothers and sisters and parents were. everyone has brothers and sisters and parents, i thought.
let me tell you how “cool” it was, when i first greeted my grand parents when i was 9. on their tomb.
this grand father, beaten to death by the khmer rouges. my two oldest uncles, gone missing and never found again. this grandmother whom i love, that died of sorrow after she had lost every thing and every one she loved.
let me tell you how “cool” it is, to love ghosts with all you heart because there is no one left to love. because even the memories are scarce.
let me tell you how “cool” it is when all you have left is four or five partly burned pictures that my father managed to hide from the khmer rouges in the crack of a wall in a house, and how they are all i can cherish.
let me tell you how “cool” it is, when i wear the portrait of my grandfather on a pure gold chain around my neck, next to my buddha, according to the cambodian tradition, and white people laugh and make jokes.
"is that kim jong-il ?" they cackle, "is that jacky chan ?". and every time they laugh and laugh, it comes like flashes in my head, and i see, from a distance, men dressed in black, beating this man i love and never knew, until they have broken everything there is to break with their riffles. i clench my jaw, like my father years before me, and i think to myself, "this is so cool".