I know what you see when you look at me, with my fair skin and hazel eyes. And I know my voice betrays who I am; my southern drawl makes you feel like maybe I'm one of you.
But I'm not.
And that's why you get comfortable around me, why you loose sight of who I am... and you forget to watch the things you say around me.
You know my heritage is Puerto Rican & southern white gal, because I'm proud of who I am... but you don't really understand what that means because I just look and sound like another southern white girl to you.
As far as you're concerned that Latin side of me doesn't count because you can't physically see it. So even though you've heard me say it, over time it stops existing to you.
You get comfortable with the lily-white skin you see.
And eventually you let your true thoughts slip around me.
But you need to understand that when you say things around me, such as "those black people are acting like animals and savages" or mock "them" being "so oppressed" you need to know that my Latin heritage includes African people... and Native people... and Hispanic people. And yes, Caucasian people as well.
You need to know that my mothers family members, MY family members, run the gamut from vanilla to dark chocolate... and everything in between.
You've got to realize that the blood and DNA that lives in me also resides in the bodies of my black family members... and that I'm connected to them and they're connected to me... and in my family blood is a super glue strength bond, regardless of the color of your skin.
You need to understand that some of my oldest and dearest friends have black or brown skin. And that one of those people is a beautiful little girl my daughters age who I would quite literally kill for, because I love her as if she were my own child.
And you really need to know that when you say those things around me, you are talking about people I love immensely... and the only reason I continue to sit quietly is because if I were to move or open my mouth there would a stream of profanity in your ears and a riot on your face with my fists.
And I'm not protecting you. Please don't think that... I'm simply protecting myself from jail time.
You need to understand that not all white people think like you... That my fathers southern, white as snow family were raised very unconventionally by a single mother at a time when that simply wasn't acceptable... and as such weren't raised to be idiotic racists... and as such didn't raise me to be one either.
You need to get it though your thick skull that when you say things to me like, "you don't really look like one of them" (when you find out my heritage), you're insulting me. Because what do you think THEY look like?
THEY IS ME.
And you only show your ignorance when you don't know the difference between a Puerto Rican AMERICAN citizen and an illegal Mexican, who, by the way, is probably only here to try and better their circumstances... not to take away your job... or rape, plunder, and pillage your village.
You need to keep all of that in mind.
Not only around me, but around every light/white skinned person you meet... because you never know who really lives inside of that white skin.
You need to remember that old saying: "Never judge a book by it's cover."
Because the cover of my life's story may be white, but the inside of my book is filled with color.
Don't ever forget that.
How, exactly, do you perceive me... and why does your perception even matter? Put it away. We're all human.