In Spanish Harlem, they looked at me and asked: ‘What are you?’

I remember the first time I thought I might not be White.

I was about 8 years old, in my elementary school’s cafeteria. We had been learning about heritage in class that day, and everyone in my Michigan hometown, it seemed, had ancestors who came from Denmark or Holland. They were all blonde-haired and blue-eyed. I remember a classmate turned around and looked at me and said, “What are you?” “I’m a kid,” I answered, confused. “Just like you.”

“No,” was the reply. “I mean, what are you? Are you Italian? Indian?”

I was confused. “I’m an American,” I said, proudly. I knew my mom’s family went back in this country a long time, and had fought in the Revolutionary War. Why would I be Italian?

As I grew older, I became hyper-aware of my dark hair and dark eyes. Everyone in town—and in my family, it seemed—was tall, blonde, and blue- or green-eyed. They all had little ski-jump noses. My nose was big, round, and wide.

But my dad was a tall blonde Dutchman, and my mom always checked “White” or “Caucasian” on my school forms, and—why would I question my parents?—so I grew up White.

Except for the many, many times, White people did not accept me.

It gnawed at me, the question I received more and more the older I got: “What are you?”

By high school, I knew I wanted to go someplace where I didn’t stand out because of my features. Someplace where people looked like me. I chose New York City, where I instinctively knew there were people who looked like me, and where, I thought, no one would ask, “What are you?”

Mas…In Spanish Harlem, they looked at me and asked: ‘What are you?’

Kids aren’t born racist. Hate is something they learn (photo)

Nick and I told Sophia that after 1 whole month of going poop on the potty, she could pick out a special prize at Target. She, of course, picked a new doll. The obsession is real. While we were checking out, the cashier asked Sophia if she was going to a birthday party. We both gave her a blank stare. She then pointed to the doll and asked Sophia if she picked her out for a friend. Sophia continued to stare blankly and I let the cashier know that she was a prize for Sophia being fully potty trained. The woman gave me a puzzled look and turned to Sophia and asked, "Are you sure this is the doll you want, honey?" Sophia finally found her voice and said, "Yes, please!" The cashier replied, "But she doesn't look like you. We have lots of other dolls that look more like you." I immediately became angry, but before I could say anything, Sophia responded with, "Yes, she does. She's a doctor like I'm a doctor. And I'm a pretty girl and she's a pretty girl. See her pretty hair? And see her stethoscope?" Thankfully the cashier decided to drop the issue and just answer, "Oh, that's nice." This experience just confirmed my belief that we aren't born with the idea that color matters. Skin comes in different colors just like hair and eyes and every shade is beautiful. #itswhatsontheinsidethatcounts #allskinisbeautiful #teachlove #teachdiversity #thenextgenerationiswatching

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Al Madrigal is a coconut on a quest for identity: ‘Half Like Me’ (video)


alcoconutPOCHO Migrant Editor Al Madrigal’s epic quest for identity — Half Like Me — debuts on FUSION next Thursday.

Coconut Madrigal (white inside, brown outside) knew turning an intensely personal journey into a docu-comedy wouldn’t be one easy trick, but he never anticipated what happened next.

“I set out to dial down my pocho level from a ten to a five,” he told POCHO in a text message Tuesday night, “and ultimately something much greater and unexpected happened. I ended up not giving a shit.”

“I encourage others to try it, feels great.”

Al got some help from three mostly-reliable sources:

Mas…Al Madrigal is a coconut on a quest for identity: ‘Half Like Me’ (video)

Um, excuse me…we prefer to be called ‘white folk’ (photo)

crackersbigWe can’t track the original of this photo to give its creator props, so we’ll just heartily thank all Internet-enabled photographers, wherever they are. And whatever they want to be called, tambien. After all, what’s in a name?

PREVIOUSLY ON WHITE PEOPLE:

Breaking: San Diego firm offers Thailand plastic surgery tours

(PNS reporting from SAN DIEGO) Horton District travel agency Mad Mad World Tours is now offering a new cosmetic surgery/tour package featuring makeovers in beautiful Thailand, the company announced today.

The tours, organized in partnership with the Bod Thai Clinic of Bangkok, Thailand, promise an all-expenses-paid two-week luxury trip to the southeast Asian country and a procedure called a frental nopalectomy. The forehead surgery promotion targets upscale Mexican-Americans.

Mas…Breaking: San Diego firm offers Thailand plastic surgery tours

Caucasian-Americans rally across U.S. to protest racial profiling

cacaprotest(PNS reporting from RANCHO POCHO, CA) With defiant shouts of “Don’t Cauc me, bro!” and “Chechnya? I just metchnya!” dozens of Caucasian-Americans filled the corners of city parks and the edges of town squares across the Nation Sunday to protest what they call “illegal racial profiling” against Caucasians.

The identification of two Caucasian-American suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings has resulted in both nasty words and police harassment, they claim.

Mas…Caucasian-Americans rally across U.S. to protest racial profiling

Dear Abuelita: Oh so liberal, like brown on rice, a Lone Star lament

Dear Abuelita,
I know the pathetic preguntas that give you the opportunity to insult poor suffering souls are the ones you pick to answer, but I really need your ayuda! So put your hearing aids and reading anteojos on and eschuchame!

Some members of mi familia are pinche plain racist, elitist, and sexist! As the elections get closer and closer no se si I can keep my mouth shut yet don’t want to cause family fights.

How am I going to avoid these heated subjects when I come from a family that lets their chonies blow in the wind?
Love, Liberal Mexican-Americans Everywhere

Dear LIMA Beaner,
So not to disappoint you, I am selecting your pathetic pregunta to top off this week’s advice column.

You have no problem being a smarty nalga when it comes to writing me so I don’t see why you have difficulty holding ground with your whacked-out racist, elitist, and sexist familia. What’s family without the occasional pedo anyway?

Mas…Dear Abuelita: Oh so liberal, like brown on rice, a Lone Star lament

New Mexico Tourism Board’s racist want ad: ‘Morenos need not apply’


When your casting call includes skin color, people are going to think one of two things: Either you’re filming a sunblock ad or you’re a stone racist.

The New Mexico Tourism Board’s little gaffe (nicely summed up here from local news clips by the sharp folks at Cuentame) pretty much says it: Arizona Cerebral Fever – which renders bureaucrats completely tone-deaf to their own cluelessness about race – is contagious. You catch it from the pendejos next door in the Hate State of Arizona.

What’s priceless is the third-class backpedaling the spokeswoman offers – about how they’re looking for “a wide range of people” and this spot is “the first of many.”

Mas…New Mexico Tourism Board’s racist want ad: ‘Morenos need not apply’