Not That I’m Bitter or Anything

First, thanks to Profe for his supportive comments on my last post. Second, thanks to my old friend, the Bitca (!), for springing up on the blog and reminding me why I love her. But for the record, Ms. Bitca, I don’t drink screwdrivers. I find them a bit girly.

Nevertheless, drinking heavily is well within my right. As I wrote in that post, I was recently laid off from my job of six years. It’s disgruntling to go from analyzing the plight of unemployed Latinos to becoming part of the story.

Again, I’m not worried about the future or in dire financial straits, for which I’m grateful. But naturally, I want to get the unemployment monkey off my back, if for no other reason than I would like to continue affording luxuries like, say, food and shelter. But as you might expect with an overly analytical blogger with lots more free time, I’ve pinpointed an additional frustration with this mess.

As a first-generation Latino, I feel an irrational need to get back on the payroll quickly so I can resume being a role model for my community. In some sectors of Hispanic society, I can achieve this lofty status, whether I want it or not, simply by getting a good-paying job and staying out of jail. I am aware of the hopes of my brethren urging me on, pushing me toward success as defined by the majority culture. For lack of any other goal, I want to be an outstanding, nonsterotypical member of society, an upper-middle-class big deal.

This is just the latest example of how ethnic minorities perceive the world in subtly different ways than white people do. I’ve written about this before. We tend to pinpoint clichés (e.g., being unemployed) and recoil from them like vampires catching a glimpse of sunlight. White people, in contrast, likely have the freedom to obsess exclusively on their individual problems, taking the occasional break to get angry that they didn’t invent YouTube (actually, I share that annoyance).

It’s a tricky balancing act, however. Because once I get that respectable white-collar job, I still have to be careful not to morph into The Man. But that’s the subject of another post, and in any case, it certainly is not an immediate danger.

That’s because the road to prosperity is closed for repairs, at least temporarily. But, of course, I will eventually get back on it.


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April 2009
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