Sunday, February 8, 2009

"Yes, I'm Sure!"

The people that ask the following questions probably don't read my blog, but it is definitely something that ticks me a bit after a while. Probably several times a week I get questions about my hair or race, most of which are very predictable. Most of the time I'm polite and just try to get through the conversation as quickly as possible. It typically goes something like this:

"Oh your hair is nice, kinda different"
"Thanks"
"Are you mixed?"
"No"
"Are you sure?"

WHAT KIND OF QUESTION IS THAT?! Am I unsure of my race? Of course not. Continuing...

"Yeah, I'm sure"
"Well what are you then? There is no way you can be just black with hair like that!"
"Um...yeah"
"Where are your parents from?"
"They were born here in the US, and so were their parents"
"Oh, so you're just regular black? Are you sure?"

Actually, I was lying before and I was unsure. Now I'll actually tell you the truth since I see you're so interested in a complete stranger's life. NOT.

"Regular black? Yeah I guess."
"Oh."

If this didn't happen so often, I wouldn't be so disturbed by it, but WHY?! I've only gotten this from other black people that assume I'm this weird exotic being because my hair is of a different color and texture. My skin isn't extremely light or dark by any means, just brown. You can't tell what part of the country I'm from by the way I speak. There are really no indicators that point to another race except for my hair. Why such great inquisition about my ancestry? I guess because this is South Florida, someone that is just "regular black" is hard to come by. Speaking of which, that term bothers me. Regular black? As opposed to irregular black? I'm not completely denying any other backgrounds since I think we all understand that everyone has a bit of a jumbled background, its just that they are not as relevant since I'm not going to rattle off an entire family tree to explain my hair color and texture.

Another similar situation is when people assume that I'm hispanic, or just because I live in South Florida I speak Spanish. No! Being bilingual is not a requirement for just living in S. Florida. This happens at work more than anywhere else where I think a majority of our customers are South American tourists. (Heh, I wrote this before I quit)

"You speak Spanish?"
"No"
"You sure?"

There's that "are you sure?" question again! Another common situation features the common are-you-in-denial-of-your-heritage:

"You speak Spanish?"
"No"
"Are you sure? It's ok, you don't have to hide it, you can speak in Spanish with me"
"I don't speak any Spanish"
"Okay" ::look of disapproval, continues to speak in Spanish::
"I'm sorry, I don't understand" ::walks away::

Recently, I've decided to have a bit of fun with the people that are just oh-so interested in my heritage. Now the conversation goes something like this:

"Oh your hair is nice, kinda different"
"Thanks"
"Are you mixed?"
"Yeah, I'm actually half Puerto Rican and Egyptian" [or insert some other exotic blend]
"Really?!"
"Yeah..."
"That's interesting! I knew you couldn't just be regular black!"

I let it marinate with them for a few minutes.

"I was lying a few minutes ago, I'm not really mixed"
"Nu-uh!" ::feels stupid:: "So what are you then?"
"What do you think?"
"So...you're just regular black?"
::sigh::

I wonder if this will change if/when I move up north? My faith in mankind decreases as the days progress. Maybe Idiocracy was right...

5 comments:

Pamela said...

No, it doesn't matter where we live, people will continue to question your heritage. You should tell people that you are a blend of former slaves, Dutch, British and unknown Caucasian, which makes you about 1/4 white. People are just plain ignorant.

NTP

dominique said...

oh dear lord..
I get that a lot when I tell people I'm mixed and then when they laugh saying "No you're not"
like they know me...

we're rocking in the same boat! And in Boston, no one cares what race you are! :D

miss you & ignore the idiots of south fl.
:]

dominique said...

um that site that it linked me to, is not really my site lol

i made it up and then i realized it really was a web site when i clicked on it..
HA!

Josue said...

hah...... I always get...


"YOO BRAZILLAIN???"

Noelle said...

heh Dom your comment reminds me of that Rock Band video we made in Orlando:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_yP2qUB_LY&feature=channel_page

"I'M BLACK STILL!"