Sunday, December 12, 2010

Freewrite on idea of borderlands ala Anzaldua

Choose one:
White (Non-Hispanic)

These are my borderlands.
Choose one.
And the mind whirls with what I will choose this time.
I cannot tell you when, where or how old I was the first time I stared at whatever form it was asking me this question and decided “fuck it” and checked both applicable boxes.
But I remember that moment. That is a moment that has been repeated many times over, but I swear I remember the very first one somehow.
I remember it in my bones, I remember how I felt, I remember my conviction, and my defiance.
And I remember when my conviction wavered. “Choose one. Multiple answers will not be counted.”
I remember choosing White. I remember, less often, choosing “Hispanic.” Once or twice Other or “Mixed.”
I have filled out this form so many times in my life and every time is a re-run of the first; anxiety, annoyance, anger, amusement. 
Amusement that these form writers cannot conceive of me. Anger that they demand I choose between what their small minds can fathom. Anxiety that I will simply be left uncounted. Annoyance that I have to think through so much just to check a box truthfully.
I remember the first time I saw a form that didn’t ask me to choose one. Eyes widening. Small smile. Surprise. FINALLY.
Such a little thing. Always so aware of the people around me who flew through this portion that stops me dead in my tracks. Such a little thing, to cause such turmoil. Such a small thing to think about all these years.
Such a little thing, but these are my borderlands. Those forms confront my difference. Those forms demand an answer. Those forms divide me, cut me up into parts.
How much for the one quarter of Mexican blood and bones? How much for the Spanish? How much for la india?
How much for the-who-knows-how-much Irish?
How much for the over fifty percent German?
How much for the English? The Scottish? The Norwegian?
Hell, there are Smiths everywhere, who knows for sure just where I came from?
Always an image in my mind’s eye of my body with that black pen plastic surgeons use to show people where and how they will be cutting them; black ink dividing me into my respective pieces or at least the ones I know. Reappearing with little warning anytime I overhear the Spanish I don’t speak; or when I overhear insults it is imagined won’t offend another white person.
Colonizer and colonized. I feel those divisions glaring warily at each other within my very body.