Because it is such a touchy subject. I’ll try to proceed with caution. If you’re reading be aware that I did mention that I’ll try to proceed with caution.
I’m human. You’re human. We’re all human and terribly flawed.
Heads Up: My skin tone is white. My heritage, to my knowledge, consists of Native American (Mom’s side) and Irish (Dad’s side). I think with my family leaving Ireland and going to France during The Famin. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some French blood in my DNA. But, that’s purely speculation.
My wife is of Puerto Rican descent. She will protest that she’s American. Not Puerto Rican. Not Puerto Rican American. Just American.
With that little background there was some discussion on our names changing with marriage. We tried to sound out her taking my last name and it just didn’t flow. Like, how parents pick out baby names that flow out loud. We really weren’t into hyphenating our last names. Both of our last names are long. Don’t wanna write that out, don’t wanna say them out loud, don’t want the complications of adding them to bills or whatever. We agreed to my taking her last name. Which is what is what I wanted to do originally but we wanted to explore the other options.
We were pleased. Still pleased with my having her last name. I love hearing and seeing my married name. Still learning to sign my new name. When we told friends about my taking her last name their initial reaction was, “She could pass for Spanish.”
Woa. Wait. What? I could pass for Spanish? I didn’t know that my taking her last name implied that I need to pose as a Spanish woman. I have been mistaken for Hispanic but those moments are rare. Growing up I had to convince some kids that I wasn’t Hispanic. The Native American blood in my veins is only a drop. It’s not that dominate. Then the kids would see my dad and it was like they forgot anything I had told them about my not being Spanish. My tanned father validated their assumptions. Yeah. My dad is mostly Irish American. “He’s so dark, though.” They’d argue. With me. About my heritage. “He’s tanned. He works outside all day, all year round.”
But, I took the friends reaction in jest. Laughed and brought up the fact that It’s been assumed that I’m of Spanish descent. “Oh. Are you?” They’d ask. I did say it was assumed, right? Politely, I said, “No.”
I’ve started a new job where I have my first and last name engraved on a badge and again on a name plate that rests on the counter. There is not a day that goes by without someone asking if I’m Spanish.
“No.” I reply.
Puzzled, “Oh. Is your husband Spanish?”
Shot twice in seconds! Look, I don’t care. I think it’s funny and sad all at the same time. I’m constantly asking myself what year is it? Seriously! With my last name, it’s assumed that I’m Spanish and that I can speak Spanish. Listen, even if I did know Spanish. What conversation are we gonna hold in this language in our few minutes of interaction until you walk out the door? Secondly, you assumed that because I’m of the feminine expression that I married a man. I let it roll on. We’re only interacting for a moment. They, partner, spouse might slip out because I cannot say he, man. I just can’t.
What year is it?
And when this minute introduction continues this guy follows with that his wife is Cuban. I don’t even know what to say to this. Ok. Here’s your cookie for being casually racist while in a fucking bi-racial marriage. No.
“Just wondering because of your last name.” They all say.
What’s in a name? I could have been adopted by a Hispanic family there would be a name change. My step-parent could have had this last name. Fuck. I could be Spanish but not know a bit of the language. I wonder why get this deep into my DNA and personal life in just a few seconds. We might never see each other again. Or we might and I’m not that impressed with our initial meet and greet. In only seconds.
I let these things slide. It’s only for a few seconds. At most a whole minute and these people are gone. My co-workers have assumed the same. That I’m Spanish and when corrected they then assume my husband’s name. I’m going to be working with these people. Getting to know these people. Spending full days with these people. I will correct. No. I’m not Spanish and my wife is Puerto Rican. Thanks. I haven’t experienced any awkwardness from them. A genuine apology for assuming male. Which isn’t followed by ignorant questions. When did I know? How long have I been dating women? Is she my first? What do y’all do? Blah. Blah.
Now, with the people that come up to my desk. I’m seriously thinking I want to fuck with them. Yes, I’m Spanish. No, I don’t speak Spanish. I want to have fun with it, rather than my mind wondering if these are racist experiences. Minimal, but would they be racist? I mean, if I have to ask. It probably is, right?
I told The Grizzly last night that I’m annoyed with her last name. She just threw her hands up, “Wow.” I busted out laughing. “Why are you annoyed with my last name?”
I was coming out on a regular basis as a femme lesbian. Now, I’m coming out as a white woman too. Because I don’t want to pose as a Latin woman. Because I’m not a Latin woman!