Every day, in every town I’ve been ever since leaving Argentina, whiteness lets me know that people who have its color only see me as a servant and free Spanish teacher.
People will literally see me walk in with my heavy backpack and hiking boots and STILL think I’m an expert on Chile and Bolivia or whatever. I’m from El Salvador. I lived in Argentina.
And I am kind of an expert, but I want to finish writing, drink my coffee, and eat my olives in peace. Ignorance, as they say, is bliss.
But right now I’m really angry that I’m trying to finish my work and a group of white people just agreed—WITHOUT FLINCHING—that Alanis Morisette sings Lisa Loeb’s “Stay.” There are seven of them and not one person knew the difference.
Alanis Morisette and Lisa Loeb, for those who don’t understand white history, were two female singers from the 90s.
They both have great voices, but Alanis Morisette is known for forthright philosophizing of “Irony” and for creating a cool song that still uses exaggerated metaphors and got a bunch of 90s kids a B minus in English literature.
Lisa Loeb wrote a few folky songs, uses cute glasses, and is known for playing an acoustic guitar. She deserves more recognition as a 90s icon than she gets because “Stay” was on the OST for Reality Bites.
Both singers of the white persuasion have influenced people of various backgrounds. I wouldn’t mind hiking up a trail with any of these musicians.
My inner 8-year-old itches to scream that it’s Lisa Loeb. My current self recognizes that I spent the entire day convincing white tourists that I am not their servant, so I didn’t help them, but I also now understand that I can’t expect people who don’t know their own history to understand why it’s not okay to colonize my time.
Don’t get me wrong. If you see me with a heavy backpack, or on a trail up to a salt flat I’ll still get pissed if you ask me to take out trash, but I now have a better understanding of why you think this is acceptable.
The moral of the story here is:
Know your history, folks. Know your history.