When I was younger my cousin and I would play a game when we were bored. We would turn on the television, flip though the channels and say white or black. We would tally up how many white and black people we would see on the screen. Anyone that was not white we would count as black. If the person on the screen was Asian or Hispanic we would yell out Black. Once we were done flipping through the channels we would look at our tally’s and count. Nine out of ten times white had more than 50% of the tallies. Not only was it a social experiment, but as two pre-teen Hispanic girls this was another way in which we felt cheated.
We began to play this game, because growing up we hear that life will be harder for us, growing up we knew that life was harder for us, but growing up in an all Dominican neighborhood we did not actually know how hard it would be. There was one kid in the entire 6th grade class who didn’t know Spanish. That is how Hispanic my neighborhood was. So we wanted to test out what we thought we knew with the outside world. When you are young growing up in a hood the only outside world you have is television. If you ask anyone that has ever watched television with me, you will know that I am very hyper aware when watching and know all the sciences behind every move captured. I became well versed in the language of television. If you can master the lies of the professionals then the novices who lie to your face will be picked out before they even conciser to lie. My cousin is 3 years younger than I. I wanted her to know that she will only be lied to if she allowed it. She learned how to see the truth behind the charade. The truth was that to the outside world, Hispanics or even more so Hispanic women do not matter. Our job was to make them give a fuck about us.
Fast forward ten years and with the rising hipster culture it seems that the world gives a little bit too much of a superficial fuck about us. No, we are not respected more in the workforce or have advanced socially. We, Hispanics are now another source for 5th generation Americans to get some culture. Because we all know that the hipster culture is just a culture making desperate attempts to find culture. Cinco de Mayo-ing all the shit that never belonged to them and taking ownership of places they never grew up in. They will also make fun of the actual white trash, because it makes them feel superior. It makes them feel like they are apart from that when in actuality they are just rednecks with i-phones. Sometimes I think that a big reason why hipsters reminisce so much about the 20’s and 50’s is because back then whites were the only people living the American dream. They miss it soo much, even though they weren’t even born. Did we ruin the dream for them?
When it comes to my culture I am very defensive and I will not have anyone pretend to give a fuck. I’m not racist or anything, but the fact that I had to move 15 blocks into Harlem, because I can’t even afford to live in my own neighborhood makes me want to start a racial riot. So now the rent is higher and homey places where I used to get my Sunday brunch are becoming dull and lifeless you would think that there would be some giving back to the community. The parks are still the same and our school systems are still crappy. I not only know this from family members and neighbors, but I know this , because every morning I see the kings and queens of gentrification taking their children on the train to their private elementary schools, even though there is a school right across the street from their home in the ever so cultured Washington Heights.
I feel as if my neighborhood is dying right before my eyes and there is nothing I can do about it. I’m not racist or anything, but I would give anything to have it go back to the way it was… even if the crime rate was a little up.
When I was younger my cousin and I would walk 30 blocks to sit by the water and notice our surroundings. Now I wish I didn’t notice so much about things I can do nothing about.
“Hipsters,they suck the life out of a neighborhood and move once there’s too many of them there. Because they dislike each other just like everyone else dislikes them. Its really sad. Its low self esteem personalized into a culture. They think they belong in another culture because they hate the culture that’s around them, including themselves So they feel the need to move constantly. Because insecure people are never happy so they keep moving because they blame everyone else around them for the way their life has turned out. And in the process other people pay for their insecurities.“ -E.D & A.U