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He Speaks Spanish?

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I'm one of the most color-blind people you'll ever meet.

I know most people want to think that of themselves.  But I have noticed behavior in myself that actually backs that up.  More than once, after I've gotten to know someone I have literally forgotten that the person wasn't Caucasian.  And occasionally I'll not notice someone's race until long after I know them.

An example of the latter happened to me when I started working at Chili's.  Starting out in a place like that, suddenly I was meeting 40 or 50 new people.  A bunch of other wait staff, and the cooks.

The way most restaurants are arranged, there's a "passout counter" where the food comes from the kitchen to the waiters.  There are shelves at various heights, so often the cook and the waiter can't see each others' faces without craning to look, which we'd do, sometimes.

There were two brothers who were cooks, Chris and Sean, and they happened to work most of the same shifts I did when I started.  So I got to know them a little.  Nice guys, seemed really sharp, cut me some slack because I was new.

Often after a day shift, some of the staff would stay to eat.  (1/2 price discount for wait staff.  Free for cooks.)  One afternoon I heard two of the other cooks talking about the busser and the dishwasher, who were from El Salvador.  During the conversation, they mentioned that the Spanish in El Salvador was a little different than what Chris and Sean spoke.

I thought to myself, "I didn't know they spoke Spanish."

And then I thought about it some more.  And it occurred to me that they were Hispanic.  It turned out, they were from Puerto Rico.

Race is so unimportant to me that I had been working with these guys for six weeks before the subject of their race even brushed across my brain.

A similar thing happens even if I do notice someone's race right away.  For example, if they're Black or Oriental (I'm annoyed with the PC insistence of using African-American and Asian.)  As I said above, after getting to know them I'll often literally forget that they're not Caucasian.  Occasionally a subject like discrimination will come up and I'll have to remind myself that they may have to deal with that.  It comes as a surprise, because I don't think of them in that way at all.

I have trouble fathoming how someone can hate another person based solely on their race.  Or, from the other direction, to look down on all other races, such as those who frown on interracial romances.  Both views are so close-minded as to be moronic.

I know lots of nice people of all races and lots of assholes of all races.  I don't care what race they are, I avoid the assholes and wanna hang with the nice people.

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Last modified: May 19, 2006
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