So, I left Nashville in 2015, for the same reasons I haven’t watched “Get Out.” I left vowing that I would never return to this racist town that disguises its racism through “it is about class not race” conversations, and “you’re taking this way too seriously” and the most used and epic one “not everything is about race” after a racist comment has been said. I’ve come to the realization that Nashville is very similar to a lot of other white towns that love to call themselves liberal but really performance of progressiveness is what’s really important in those spaces. I’ve come to the realization that Nashville isn’t especially racist, I had just been in my bubble provided by my family and got to grow up in a Latinx city that although problematic was nowhere near the baffling ignorance of Nashville.
However, I am back in Nashville. I returned after one year, on June 2016, for love. And I cannot believe I am back to having these “racism isn’t real,” “you’re racist against white people,” “you need to unite not divide,” and “if you fixed your tone maybe more people would listen conversations” because I was done having them. I think all of us who constantly have them cannot believe that these conversations with white people are still a thing and that we still have to respond to them.
Lately I have been having them so much, that I have had nightmares that replicate my real lived experiences with white people. My latest and more reoccurring dream is me sitting in the center of a room, and my old white peers from my graduate program at Vanderbilt University are all accusing me of reverse racism, which doesn’t exist for the record. Some of them accuse me of being too forward, some accuse me of racebaiting, and the list goes on and on and on. I wake up sweating and near tears because while for white people these are conversations that explicitly aim towards the protection of their privileges and power within our society, my words are consistently about the little dignity that is left after actual racism, classism, sexism, colonialism, microaggressions, capitalism where white people benefit and exploit for their gain, etc.
Yet the uproar that my words seems to cause for white people, words that as I said are for the sake of my survival, is beginning to take a toll on me yet again. I left Nashville hoping I wouldn’t have to be in these situations yet again, but here I am.
So as I mentioned, I have not watched “Get Out” because it is triggering. Because while to some people this is a movie – to me, just from reading the summary and overview and various reviews – this movie is about what a lot of black and brown people experience on a daily basis in their regular lives.
I am facing these conversations while I shop for groceries, because inevitably the person in front of me will turn around and say how beautiful I am for a Mexican and I should say something to her in Spanish. I am facing these conversations while I exercise in my neighborhood, because the old man who sits outside his nursing home wears a Trump hat every day since he realized that I was not white. I face these situations even when I hang out or meet new people, who feel a strong need to tell me about their mission trips to my country, with pride, because they feel they know me and somehow have insight to my life by exploiting foreign children’s sadness and poverty which their country has enacted on them.
Lately, being in this skin feels exhausting. And while I realize that this is not new, some days being this aware makes me want to NOT deal with the type of white people that I have to deal with all the time: nice progressive liberals whose intention should ALWAYS be what I consider about them and NOT THE ACTUAL ACTIONS AND WORDS COMING OUT OF THEIR MOUTHS.