White People Ain’t Shit

Something I don’t understand is who the hell white people think they are sometimes. One summer, I had the privilege of spending three weeks studying Spanish in Oaxaca, Mexico. Although I had travelled the 2400 miles to learn about the Spanish language and Mexican culture, I ended up learning more about the ignorance of white people.  

As expected, every student in the program was white, except for another student and me. It was my first night there. Due to flight complications, I arrived a day later than everyone else. The students took me to see the famous Santo Domingo. The festive lights hanging around the towering church lit up the black night while little children ran around playing with whatever toy they had. It didn’t take long for something ignorant to be said. “These Mexican kids are so cute”….. I know the comment was meant to be a compliment but… “Mexican kids”? Really? I couldn’t understand why I was so hung up on what they said, but I also couldn’t understand why they felt the need to call them Mexican kids as if they weren’t just kids. We’re in Mexico, all the kids are Mexican kids. But in an effort to not be extra, I let it go. Then, it happened again a few days later. “Where were you? We haven’t seen you all afternoon.” “Oh I was at the park playing basketball with some Mexican guys.” Mexican guys? Or just guys? Then I realized what was going on, these white kids seemed to view themselves as the social norm. When referring to people of a different race or ethnicity, they felt compelled to specify their race or ethnicity, as if they weren’t just regular people like them. All I heard was “Mexican people this” and “Mexican babies that”, like they couldn’t leave out the fact that they were Mexican. WE ARE IN MEXICO EVERYBODY IS MEXICAN! But, these white kids were conditioned to believe that they couldn’t be a minority.

It was our second to last day in Oaxaca, and the girls and I decided to walk to the Zócalo in an effort to buy last minute gifts. It was an extremely sunny day and many women had their sun umbrellas out. As we walked by one woman in particular, one of the girls ran into her. “Fucking Mexicans and their stupid fucking umbrellas. Do they not understand that they could actually hit someone of actual normal stature?” I was shook. Did this bitch really spend thousands of dollars to come study in Mexico just to be racist? That’s when I learned the epitome of white people: they will come to your country, want to learn about your culture, but they still won’t have respect for you.  

Damitu, born in Minneapolis and raised in Madison, is a current freshman double majoring in International Studies and Political Science with a certificate in African Studies. Her passions include social justice, the African diaspora, writing, and Beyoncé. Damitu believes that through unity, black students can overcome any barrier.

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