Saturday, August 26, 2017

Dear People Who Hate Us

Last night, I spent the evening laughing and talking with a group of women writers I'm proud to call friends. At the table, our conversation bounced around in English and Spanish about books and shows and general gossip. As we laughed, the music, a combination of cumbias and current pop Spanish hits, at times drowned us out, so we talked louder. We ate our nachos, enchiladas, and chimichanga. I felt safe. I got to forget just for a moment about the rest of the world. As soon as I got home, my phone overflowed with notification of the president's latest blunder. The warmth I had just felt faded just a little. The reality of the hatred many feel for people of color burst my bubble. I feel the weight of it on my body. I feel it chipping away at my usual hopeful demeanor.

I want to say,

'Dear People who Hate Us, 

What have we done to you? Where did you learn to hate so hard? What have I done to you? Do you even know my family has probably been here longer than yours? Do you know that the United States of America was never white? Do you know that you are probably not as white as you think you are?

Do you know when you tell African Americans to go back to Africa that it might have been your ancestors who forcibly brought their ancestors? Do you see the irony in this? Do you know that the world is laughing at ashamed of us right now?

Do you know that this country was built on immigrants and unless you're Native American you are the product of immigrants? Do you know that there is already a giant metal fence on the border? Do you know that instead of blaming brown people for your problems you should probably look in the mirror first? Do you even know why produce is so cheap? Do you know that crops are rotting because no one wants those jobs you were complaining were being taken? 

Do you know that you spend hours in the sun just to be my color? 

Do you know that knowing two languages makes us smarter? Do you know that everywhere else this is celebrated and the United States of America is one of the only countries who snub their nose at it? 
Do you know that there's power in being able to call someone a fucker and an hijo de puta without a blink of an eye? Do you know that I think you are hijos de putas for hating us just for being brown? 

Do you know how petty it is to hate someone for that reason? Do you know that while you're busy hating us, we are working harder to be creative and love and be positive? Do you know that even though sometimes I cry because of how you feel, treat, act out on fellow people of color, I still get up the next day and ready myself for a new fight? Do you know that I am educating your children on diversity? Do you know there is an army of educators fighting right now? 

Do you know that even though I want to hate you, I can't? 

And to you, yes you, the person reading this who doesn't hate but is silent in the wake of this chaos, what will you do when they come for you?'