Representing Pocho.com, I was a panelist along with a table full of young, savvy Latino digital media types as part of last week’s Digital LA Latino Content event.
Afterwards, I finished up networking and headed outside to leave. As I waited to get my car in front of the host restaurant in Beverly Hills, you’ll never guess what happened: A white lady tried to give me her car valet ticket. Twice.
You’ve heard this story a thousand times before; it’s a Latino cliché. Or is it a tradition?
Anglo person assumes brown person is a worker, there to serve them.
An old Chicano chestnut goes something like this:
I’m a Mexican-American, am married to a white woman, and I was mowing our lawn in front of our nice, big home. A white lady pulled up in a car and asked, “How much do you charge to mow a lawn?” My answer: Nothing. The lady of the house lets me sleep with her.
One of my own family members, a brown-skinned attorney, was approached demandingly by a white office worker in their high-rise parking garage. “Where’s my car? Where’s my car!?” she shouted at him. He answered, “Hey lady, I’m an attorney!” I guess she took that as a legal threat, because she ran off in fear.
This story does not surprise me at all. I honestly believe if you’re a PoC, this has happened to you at least once in your life. Before I had my son, I could not walk into a store without someone assuming I worked there. While it doesn’t seem like a “big deal” to some, it is infuriating when it happens on a daily basis.
I’ve had this happen so often it’s not even cute.
I was 9 months pregnant, grocery shopping while wearing a Punisher t-shirt & sweats when some guy tried to report me to a manager in Walmart for my poor customer service skills. The look on the manager’s face was classic. I’m not sure some white people realize that POC have lives beyond the stereotypes they like so much.