Too many white people protest against the ‘race card’…only when it suits them.
I’m not one who tends to hold onto something for too long. But under the right circumstances, I can be a champion grudge-holder.
So, here’s a completely justifiable story of one such occasion:
My partner and I were at a friend’s place. It was a low-key housewarming party. We got into a conversation with another partygoer.
Let’s call her “Susan Smith” — no, that’s not her real name, but I promise it’s just as Anglo sounding — and to clarify, Susan is white, and she didn’t seem to know that I’m Latinx.
Exchanging a few niceties, we learned that Susan worked in broadcasting. But until then, she hadn’t had much on-screen time.
“You can do it,” we encouraged.
“Actually, I’m thinking of changing my name to Susana Martínez or something ethnic-sounding like that. I’m sure to get screen time then. You gotta hit your ‘diversity quota!’”
Then she laughed innocently as I struggled to pick my angry, exhausted, embarrassed, why-does-this-still-surprise-me jaw off the linoleum floor.
I don’t know if Susan is still “Susan” or if she’s using that more “ethnic sounding” name.
Nonetheless, she revealed an all-too-common (and an all-too-problematic) misunderstanding of race in the U.S.: that people of color supposedly get privileges at white folks’ expense.
How ironic, that so many white people complain about people of color bringing up race — about “playing the race card” — but use it when they experience hardship!
Clearly, many have a serious disconnect between the impact of racialized oppression and just experiencing competitiveness in a career.
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