I love crime drama. I’m not a big fan of the news these days. ( Today it is June 9, 2020 so if anything survives this is a point of reference.) Every single day for the last four years I have stuck to a routine: Wake up. Drink Water. See what horrifying thing is happening today. This has been since November 9, 2020. At the time, my SO was living with me so he got to witness me falling to my knees, weeping, actually weeping in fear. This is the kind of fear that you get when you are a person of color. (As a Mexican-American, that color is beige, but that’s still a color.) At the time I was teaching at school that was in a sketchy part of an equally sketchy county. I fully expected some kind of riot or protest or some other stance. I did have an incident at that school when a parent mumbled about his child being taught by a dumb beaner. I responded with a smile through gritted teeth and, “But sir, this beaner is quite bright and very educated.”
I am slightly less afraid these days. I love the district I am currently in. It is in a large district that has a small town feel. I like my colleagues and most of the parents I have encountered have been supportive. The kids are great. I miss them every day. I have had a few minor incidents involving racism towards my particular ethnic group.
On September 11, I took a few minutes to give my students a little information (Brain Pop for the younger students, Jon Stewart’s monologue for the older ones.) I took the time to tell them that on September 12, 2001, no one was black or white we were all American. In one class, a student piped:”What about the Mexicans? “ I just looked at her and said, “Yes, Ms. Rodriguez, what about the Mexicans?” I then told her it wasn’t an issue on that day.
Later in the year I was checking on group work when I overheard a student talking about the necessity of building a border wall. The other group members saw me approach and started telling him to stop talking. The embarrassed student turned to me and said, “It’s for protection.” I said, “Yes, we need a wall to protect us from the scary Mexicans.” He said, “But you’re not dangerous.” I said, “Not that you’re aware of.”
These are the only specific incidences that happened to me and I documented them and sent the info to Admin. While I am not litigious, I’m not taking any chances.
All of this seems so long ago. And it seems a whole lot less important. I think that almost four years of impending terror have desensitized to me. I still check the news every morning, but it’s filtered through comedians. (John Oliver, Trevor Noah, Seth Meyer and Stephen Colbert)
We are still in a pandemic. We, as a country, are suffering from generations of racism. I am personally trying to deal with the general anxiety about all of the above and doing a deep dive into my psyche to improve my mental health. Writing helps. I am trying to shake the mindset that everything has to be perfect. If you looked at my living room, you wouldn’t think that this was an issue.