Monday, April 24, 2006

You're So Articulate (for a spic)

I thank the cosmos daily that I am no longer in the corporate world so that I don't have to hear the "You're so articulate" line only to then be called into the Managing Director's office so I can give his Latina housekeeper instructions in Spanish since I was the only Spanish speaking (and Latina) person on the floor. But now that I work at home , that doesn't mean I've escaped people's surprise that as a single Rican mami I can put words together to create sentences that say something. At la MapucheRican's school, I attended a workshop and the Vice-Principal said "You're so articulate" and expected me to be grateful for her compliment.

8 Comments:

Blogger jack (aka angrybrownbutch) said...

When I was in high school, this white classmate of mine was completely shocked when I said I was Puerto Rican. She explained, "You don't sound like a Puerto Rican!" and she really thought it was a compliment. It was basically the less-subtle teenage equivalent of the "You're so articulate"s that I, too, continue to get as a Latina who was lucky enough to get a sound, sustained education.

The saddest thing was, though, when I heard basically the same thing a few years later when I was in college, from a Black woman with whom I was working at McDonalds. Hearing it from a white girl, that was one thing, but from another person of color - that really stings in an entirely different way.

4/25/2006 02:21:00 AM  
Blogger brownfemipower said...

grrr. i hate that shit. don't get it so much where i'm living now, cuz there arn't a lot of mexicans so i'm defacto white until i tell people otherwise, but when i was in holland, there was a heavy population of mexicans/latinas/os and got it all the time for both mexicans and white folks--so white folks were impressed that i could speak english, but Mexicans saw my light skin and expected me to *prove* myself by speaking spanish. which i have my father's (and my communities) accent, so i *sound* like i should speak spanish, but I can't. does that make sense?

sigh. life sucks living on fringes.

4/25/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Ms.Maegan said...

Oh dios yes!!! My accent is all over the place because of learning spanish nuyorican (read broken) and then living in Chile. So when I open my mouth they have to figure out what box to stick me into. And then when I speak Spanish they always come and correct my fucked up grammer and give me that look, like awww por non spanish speaking latina.

4/25/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger fiercelyfab said...

I got you're not like other Mexicans quite a bit when I was a waitress at an English pub. From other Latinas I've also been told that I don't look Mexican beats me how Mexicans are supposed to look like.

Yeah...and repeatedly many first generation immigrants from Mexico think I was born in Mexico because they deem my Spanish is not pocho Spanish.

4/25/2006 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger brownfemipower said...

gloria anzaldua is so right on when she says the chicanas (and Latinas) use language to judge, accept, reject, hurt, silence other latinas...

4/25/2006 02:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Angel said...

It doesn't just happen to Latinas. I as a man go through that as well. At first it used to bother me, but I have come to realize that it is just the person showing their ignorance. I chalk it up to that and usually let it go unless they harp on it. I will usually then call them on it.

However I especially hate the comments about how I do not have an accent. What the hell am I supposed to sound like?

4/25/2006 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger skyscraper said...

i'm totally with you on this, just like all of the women of color that commented before me. i don't even wanna get into the fucked-up stories of people getting surprised of my 'wit', 'articulation' and 'skills' every fucking step of the way.

or people telling me, 'but you're not brown,' or 'you're NOT a person of color', or 'but you don't look muslim' (whatever that's supposed to mean...) also as a compliment, mind you.! as if being asian or foreign automatically excuses me from being attacked by racism and closed-mindedness.

thanks for sharing! ;)

4/26/2006 04:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what you mean. Many white people seem shocked that I (a Mexican-American) can speak good enlish. I think they're under the impression that every Hispanic is am immigrant who speaks broken english.
And then, unfortunatley, fellow Hispanics have accused me of "acting white" just becuase I pursue an education and speak properly.
I just can't win.

12/09/2006 10:33:00 PM  

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