Sunday, January 03, 2010

Could it be Segregation?.........

And now, a controversial post:

  • enforced separation of groups: the practice of keeping ethnic, racial, religious, or gender groups separate, especially by enforcing the use of separate schools, transportation, housing, and other facilities, and usually discriminating against a minority group
  • segregated state: the state or position of somebody or something kept separate from others
  • act of segregating: the separating of one person, group, or thing from others, or the dividing of people or things into separate groups kept apart from each other

I've always maintained that Arizona is a segregated state, and they are open about it, everybody actually seems okay with it - you stay on your side and I stay on mine, their unspoken pact. Coming from the East I forget about this until I realize that I'm the only Hispanic in a restaurant and people are looking at me funny. Don't believe me? Try it out yourself - go to a restaurant in Scottsdale and tell me how many Hispanics you see - not counting those actually cleaning or cooking your food. Drive north of Thunderbird Road and do the same, let me know what you find.

I got a haircut this morning and decided to stop at a restaurant for breakfast because I was too early for my next appointment of the day. They were actually very nice and as I sat on the table to wait for my order I decided to engage in my favorite pastime, people watching. First I checked the wait staff, all young and able but none Hispanic or American Indian, which I found strange since I would venture to say that these two groups represent 50% of Arizona. The only Hispanic people I saw where the one cleaning the tables and the cooks......this made me sad, specially for the girl cleaning the tables and busting her ass just as hard, if not harder than the other ones, but who would probably get very little money for her efforts. Then I decided to scan the crowd and realized that I was the only Hispanic in the restaurant - not that anybody was giving me evil looks, which has happened before, but it made me wonder why "my people" don't venture this far North. Is there an unwritten pact? is it non-visible, but palpable intimidation? somebody?

Then I started wondering, what is it that makes people think that they are better than others because of the color of their skin? is it the fact that we have always, since God knows when, associated white with good and black with evil? As I scanned the crowd I saw people who would definitely make it to the "People of Walmart" website, yet I knew these people thought they were better than me and any other Latin speaking person.....not because of their intellect and education, but because of their skin color.

I wonder how Obama really feels about his accomplishment as the first black president of the US - is he really, innocently enjoying it, or does he look at the crowds around him and wonders if they guy without the law degree and the missing teeth thinks he's better just because he's white?

My father is white, and I never saw skin color until I moved to the US and somebody told me I was not white, as if it was a crime not to be. I hope for the sake of humanity that we change soon, for the better.

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