Sunday, December 9, 2012

Brown Armor

I am Mexican. I look Mexican. I speak Spanish. I can tell you where in Mexico my parents grew up. I know when people see me they see a Mexican woman. I have brown armor. When you see me you have an image of me, my beliefs, and my experience.

What about people who don't look Mexican? What about people without armor? Until last night I don't think I have really thought about it. My brown skin is protection. People see me and will hold their tongue or rethink their words or purposefully attack. Wen your outside does not match your inside, people think they are among friends and don't realize the enemy in front of them. If you are friend I can be me. If you are foe I must be guarded me.

As advanced as we are we see with our eyes and we judge. Even though Mexicans come in all colors, shades, shapes, sizes, and even races, people see me and think Mexican and see Ravebaby and think Black or maybe Dominican. For better or worse we see and we judge. So my brown armor is protection.

It's funny, not haha funny, that because I am brown it is much easier for people to believe I am the cleaning lady than the boss. People will look at me and tell me to go clean the bathroom and to point them to the librarian. Funny. If I speak Spanish then I must be a wetback and an illegal. If I speak English then I am a traitor. I often describe myself as a Wetback American. People see me and want to see the worst stereotype. Mexicans are nannies not CEOs. Mexicans teach Spanish not History. Mexicans steal the books not run the library. So my brown armor is a curse too.

People cannot easily the soul. I have a friend, actually a few, who have Mexican souls. They don't have brown armor. People are honest with them about their views of Mexican never realizing that they are sharing their truth with the enemy. I am jealous of this superpower. My friends can hide in plain sight. People are honest with them. People struggle to be honest with me. People will tolerate me while thinking that my place is in the kitchen. I am brown so they hide. But they don't hide from my friends. My friends can help move me in the safe circle. My friends can help me change minds. My friends know the truth.

I am rambling. I know I am but my mind is rambling. I don't know how to help someone make their outside reflect their insides. To be honest I have no clue why they would want to. Brown armor is a double edge sword. It helps and it hurts. It is protection but limits mobility. It allows the enemy to hide while forcing me to be in the open. Ramble ramble ramble . . .