When I was little I had only black baby dolls.
When I was little I’d sing songs in Spanish about small chickens and my abuela would clap along.
All growing up, I took Spanish in school but rarely spoke it at home.
I am half-Mexican but somehow 100% white.
When I was little I’d sleepover at my abuela’s a lot. Addicted to her company, to the womb-warmth of her house. We’d make tortillas in the morning. Can’t eat eggs and beans with a fork. I had a special mini rolling pin, proportional to my niña hands. The smell of dough. Fold me into it.
If so much as the word “taco” escapes my mouth with a twinge of accent, I second guess it. Because I don’t have an accent. It feels like wearing someone else’s clothes.
I want to mejorar mi español I want to get better to expand my vocabulary to know all of my verb tenses but only so long as I never have to practice speaking in public because what if a real Mexican hears me and thinks ha ha -
I mean ja ja -
One time at a cafe in San Diego I overheard two little white ladies speaking the most American-accented Spanish. Flattening, stretching the language. Practicing. Chopped unseasoned tomatoes supposed to be salsa. I respect I envy I want their ability to readily openly unashamedly try.
El coche es rojo.
At Chipotle I say “barbacoa” with rounded vowels, blunt-edged consonants. The R doesn’t roll.
I have green eyes. My dad’s eyes.
Right after college, I moved into a newly refurbished apartment in San Francisco’s Mission District. A gentrificationally-confused, shuffled neighborhood of Mexicans and tech-hipsters. Walking down the street, I am the latter. I am one-of-these-things-that’s-not-like-the-gente.
Real talk, tbh - I didn’t like the Mission. One time I saw a bunch of drunk Hispanic dudes beat down some guy right across the street from my apartment. Everyday walking to my morning coffee, cat-called by men who look like my grampa.
I consider myself a salsa connoisseur.
I am prouder of my Mexican heritage than I am of my white heritage even though I disagree with the misogyny that stains the history of my Latino family. Domestic abuse tucked under covers and smoothed out.
But, like. White people used to sell their wives for tobacco. So. Also, slavery. They did that. Everyone has their faults, is what I’m saying -
At least being Mexican means belonging to a collective, flavored something. An identity with a salted rim.
People say you look totally white. I say my lips look they are not white I say look at my mom. I have her lips. My mom’s name is Lupe.
Sometimes it frustrates me that I look 100% white and then I immediately feel stupid for feeling frustrated about something that’s socioeconomically proven to be an advantage buzzword buzzword -
I learned warmth from my mom.
My last name is Griffen. Like a Harry Potter house.
I really like that song Formation.
The Harvard Implicit Association Test (a.k.a. *cough cough* the are-you-a-racist-quiz that circulated around the interwebs for a hot second) determined that I have a preference for AngloSaxon individuals. I.e. a.k.a *cough cough* that I’m racist. But the multiple choice true/false whatevers of the test only included white people vs. black people, so. What about brown people. Does that change my score.
Am I a brown people.
I grew up in a really white suburb.
I have brown friends.
I don’t know what all of this sums up to.