Cultural Appropriation & Other Nonsense

Traditianl Mexican dress

Traditional Mexican Costume. Not what Mexicans wear to work or school everyday. FYI

 

When did it become a crime to wear a certain style of dress or costume?

As kids for Halloween we always used to spend months and weeks dreaming up the coolest or scariest costume. Once my mom made me Carmen Miranda out of sheets and fake fruit on my head. (Think the Chiquita Banana logo).

Another time my mom ,step dad and her best friend went as the Fruit of The Loom Gang (A banana, apple and my mom as bunch of grapes). I guarantee the party they attend these costumes drew laughs and jokes NOT outrage and offense.

Recently a young girl wore a gorgeous traditional Chinese style dress to Prom and the internet melted down about “Cultural Appropriation”. For the record China (the country) chimed in said they approved of her look. But it’s a dress people, bigger fish to fry this is a NON-Issue.

For the record I asked my friend Heather (because she is of Chinese decent) if she was offended? She said “Not at all, I loved it.Reminded me of Ginny in Pretty In Pink”

Heather also has told me about a cousin who ran a Mexican Food cart in Oregon. Which served delicious authentic (as in she learned from her travels through Mexico)Mexican food. This woman and her partner had to shut down after repeated death threats, hate mail, etc. all because they weren’t Mexican. The Unmitigated NERVE!

For the record, these women are atheist lesbians running their business in Oregon. So even in an ultra liberal town, a lesbian couple can’t catch a break trying to sell BURRITOS! Seriously?

Listen I give you my permission as a Mexican (by my country of origin, apparently my peeps migrated from Spain) to sell ALL the delicious carnitas and pollo filled burritos of LOVE you can make. You get my stomachs Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

Why in the world should a persons nationality PROHIBIT them from wearing certain clothes, hairstyles, cooking food, creating art, you name it?

Why because we have become of a Nation of Tolerance but only if you believe what the Masses tell you is en vogue at this time. Other wise “they” will turn on you at the slightest provocation.

Who are these masses to tell someone else that they can’t wear a dress? Cook up some delicious Mexican food? I don’t see any “disrespect” happening over a burrito do you?

I understand comedians and cultural stereo types. Have you ever watched Margaret Cho? Her bits about her mom are so funny, I’m doubled over laughing. Or Eddie Murphy in Raw? About his Uncle and the backyard BBQ? Now that’s a FIRE!

Everyone has those crazy relatives in your family tree who were some type of stereotype be it Archie Bunker, Cracker or Redneck. Those stories are funny around the table gathered with relatives.

Like George Lopez and his bit about being raised by his Mexican grandma?She throws a chunkla (Mexican sandal)  like a boomerang. He tells of having a pitiful stray dog as a pet and it gets sick, but they were so poor that not even the family could see the doctor, so a vet was out of the question. So the Mexican grandmas cure-all is 7UP “Just give him some “seben” up”

Unlike with the case of Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who tanned, used a bronzer and had her hair regularly permed so that she could pass herself off as a “black woman”. She was a Branch President for the NAACP (National Association Of Colored People), a chair for the Spokane ombudsman commission, a professor at Eastern Washington university. For years she pretended to be black woman and was heavily involved in civil-rights activism.

When her employers and peers learned of her deception and “cultural appropriation” she was dropped like the hottest of all hot potatoes. The outrage and scorn were real and ran deep. This woman just decided one day to change from a blonde freckled caucasian to a light-skinned black woman, stealing the struggles of African-American women as her own back story.

Now this is something to get worked up about, not a dress or a burrito.

One of my silliest pet peeves is suburban white kids “throwing” gang signs in ALL their selfies. I have to laugh having grown up outside of Los Angeles.

These gangs are not what you see on tv shows. These are hard-core bad ass individuals that literally live and die by the color of their bandanas.If you see them on an episode of COPS these are sociopaths that will kill you for walking down their street! That’s not pretend, these guys are hardened criminals that kill innocent people and sell drugs as a way of capitalism.

So to all the suburban kids that have never met a gang member, stop with the gang signs!(Eyes rolling). I guarantee I will not take to social media with OUTRAGE and bully you into submission. But if I know you and your parents I will subject you to some good-natured teasing.

Looking back as a child of the 70’s I see that The Village People and Sonny & Cher may have pushed the envelope of decorum but it was for entertainment, NOT mean spiritedness. I’m not talking about vaudeville comediennes doing shows in “black face” which today is beyond the pale of rude.

I’m talking about clothes and food, people! Would I be offended if I saw some hippy girl walking down the street in an embroidered Mexican blouse and Huaraches (Mexican sandals)? Ahhh NO, I would probably tell her it was super cute and You GO Girl with your fabulous style.

If an Indian family started making my favorite tamales and guacamole in downtown Bellbrook? HELLO I would be the first in line, if they were delicious I would be raving about it ALL over Facebook and leaving AWESOME Yelp! reviews.

What difference does it make if they are Indian, Chinese or Jamaican, if those tamales ROCK I’m gonna be a regular customer. I like to support small businesses and fill my belly at the same time.

As an aside here, my “Irish” husband recently took the Ancestory.com DNA test and found out (drum roll) he is less than 12% Irish. In fact I am more Irish than he is. He was absolutely  certain based on family lore that he was almost entirely Irish.

Needless to say he’s suffering a little crisis of identity at this time, he’ll get over it, but he was shocked!

Meanwhile all this recent DNA and science to the masses has reinforced what I’ve said for YEARS about Neo Nazi’s and White Supremacist. There is NO such thing as a “pure” race. We are ALL of us are mixed up with ancient tribes that migrated across the Bering Straights thousands of years in our past.

Now maybe people in deep parts of the Amazon may not have much contact with outside tribes, but somewhere in their lineage I predict they co-mingled with other tribes and genetics could prove this theory.

I guess everyone has a point of outrage or a threshold of moral decency, but I personally don’t think it should be a red silk dress or a burrito made by a white atheist lesbian.

Mexican Costume

Eat More Burritos!

Your friend,

The Papist Squirrel

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What Happens When You’re Someone Else? Dabbling with DNA

SilouetteFor Christmas this year I asked my family for a DNA kit. Let me just state that my mother-in-law could NOT fathom why I would want to know my DNA background. According to her what’s the  point.

Pilar kindergarten 3

Me,1974?

Well, I guess if I had been adopted this would perhaps be a burning question at some point in my life.

Or if like me you were raised with no contact with your dad’s side of the family. So I was left with my mom’s vague recollections and family folklore. As I’ve mentioned in the past, we moved A LOT!

Add to this the fact that my grandma (The Head of Chaos (GET SMART) as I call her) is the matriarch of the family and is rather sketchy even when she had a good memory. Sketchy in a kind “Witness Relocation” kind of way!

We are a family that doesn’t seem to keep roots down for long. So for me who we are and where we’re from has been a nagging question most of my adult life.

It became more of a question when I had children and they started  writing ancestry type reports in school.

My husbands family has an Uncle George the family genealogist, they have photo’s going back nearly 120 years. Like my friend Barb that can name all the family members in her old family pictures, going back several generations. #Treasure

We have some photos of my grandma as a child, grandpa with my mom, aunts, a few of my own baby photos. I say a few since after the divorce my mother cut my dad out of most of the pictures, which makes it difficult to grasp at memories if he ever held me and loved me?

I have one single photo of my dads family with all my aunts, uncles and grandparents.

Anaya Family

The Anaya Family

My mother can’t seem to remember if my dad is the littlest boy in front or the baby on my grandma’s knee? Or which are my Aunts Marina and Aurora?

But I see a striking resemblance in my youngest daughter to my Aunts, who look like Spanish film stars. The ears are another family trait I inherited, like my brother, who also got the red head gene from my Grandpa Anaya and the Cason side of our family. Or the weird mole on the back of my neck like my brother and my dad, which means I can’t continue to claim my brother was a troll we found under a bridge!

Growing up I was a clone of my father, even mannerisms and personalty according to my mom. She used to say he never met a stranger, which is what my husband says about me.

But when you have unresolved issues with an absent parent and they die before you can grill them about their motives, it leaves a huge empty spot in your life. Not to mention the whole medical history side of family history.

This is not to say I don’t picture this side of the family when I pray during mass for the faithfully departed, but I can’t pray for them by name like I should be able too.

 When you don’t know who or where you come from, pictures and DNA help you like an ancient map.

Silouette

So I finally received the results of my DNA from Ancestory.com and I find out (drum roll) I’m 87% European.

Hun? I thought that would have been spilt a little differently, not what I was expecting at all, maybe 56% but 87%?

Let me be clear that 24% of the “Anaya” DNA comes from the Iberian Peninsula. Spain and Portugal, which I had heard we were Spanish, but most Mexicans claim this and it’s probably not correct. I also expected Ireland( more red hair genes), England, Scotland, France (hello France boarders Spain, who knew!)

But what made me laugh, is the 8% Native American!

Have you ever watched those ancestry shows on PBS? You know where the people are certain, beyond a reasonable doubt that they have a Native American great grandma, and the results are always NO. Zero, Zilch, Do not Pass Go or Collect $200.

But nearly every person of Jewish decent is related to Barbara Walters! (Now that’s just odd). I was holding out hope that I may be a little Jewish, which would have been so awesome to be one of God’s chosen people! No Luck.

People have asked me what if the test is wrong? My answer is this , they have suggested my brother as a nearly 99.9% match (with different last names) and the region of Mexico that they predict I share DNA (Colima & Western Michocián) are within a 100 mile radius (give or take) where I was born and my fathers family lived and probably still do.

So I’m fairly certain that even with my families sketchy lack of history that the test is reasonably accurate.

Which leads me to this question, if I’m not half Mexican like I always assumed then what am I?

I have a joke I tell  “Between myself (1/2) and my 2 (1/4 & 1/4) daughters we make one whole Mexican!” People either laugh or they look really confused. #ItsAJoke

Rats! This means I need a whole new schtick! I can’t call myself the Mexican Vampire that can’t go in the sun. Or claim that alarms sound in every house in Oakwood when I enter the city limits (another joke).

I feel like I may have opened up a Pandora’s box full of questions. But by nature of my birth and birth certificate I am a Mexican, if you count the country of my origin? Why is this so weird now?

Ultimately, I would say I identify as a Catholic foremost, a Mom, a wife and an American, in that order.

Looking at my DNA now I can see a heavy Catholic influence, which my mother discovered when she paid a genealogist to research our family history. My mother said we had been Catholic going back 500 years, then came to America and rebelled against the Church becoming Protestants. #Rebels

I have yet to see this report, my mom is not good with the follow through.

So what about you friends, have you dipped your toe in the DNA testing pool? Let me tell you from my experience, you may be SURPRISED with the outcome.

Your friend,

Pilar the Papist Squirrel

Formerly known as “The Mexican Vampire”