First of all, I really hate that term.Â It’s like when I first found a box of my mom’s old Crayolas and noticed that what I was used to being “peach” was labelled “flesh”.Â My white friends have colour too, it’s just a lighter shade.Â Unfortunately, there’s not really another good term that encompasses everyone from Asians to African-Americans to Native Americans to Latinos so it’s what I use.
Second…it’s not a huge part of my identity.Â I’m Latino.Â Mexi-Rican to be more specific.Â I have an olive complexion, horrible wavy hair that frizzes up like you wouldn’t believe, but isn’t curly enough to be fun, and dark eyes.Â However, this isn’t something that I ever considered important.Â I grew up in an area where there were a wide variety of ethnicities and we all got along fine so I didn’t consider it to be important until well into my 20s.
What’s more, I didn’t start being visibly Latino to anyone outside California until two or three years ago.Â Other Latinos can always tell, rather like having gaydar, but very few others could.Â Most non-Latino, non-Californians assumed I was Jewish, if they assumed anything at all.Â There’s this image of all Latinos (particularly Mexicans) as being short, square, dark skinned, black haired people.Â I’m short, but not square by any means, I have a skintone no one knows what to do with, and hair that turns almost blond in the summer.Â It’s only now that I’m starting to develop more Latin features (yay T!) that people are starting to notice.
So I don’t have a ton of experience with being a man of colour.Â Even what little I have I have nothing to compare to.Â I was never considered a woman of colour in an area where it would have mattered.Â Sure, everyone in my home town knows my ethnicity.Â However, it was an area where the only thing that might get you discriminated against was being Republican.
I can’t talk about it because I honestly couldn’t come up with anything to say.Â I know racism still exists now (that honestly was a revelation to me at 20), but because I wasn’t raised experiencing it I don’t know what discrimination is based on race and what’s based on gender or sexuality or religion or whatever else.Â I’m not exactly a fountain of privilege here, about the only thing I’ve got going for me is being a dude.Â It can be hard to tell sometimes.