Don’t Put Me In A Box…

“Labels are for cans, not people.”
~ Anthony Rapp
I’ve spent a good portion of my life being labelled: I am Hispanic, not white; gay, not straight; short, not tall… and with these labels came what I could or could not do, what was expected of me and what wasn’t.

It was being told what I could not do that drove my ambition. I tried so desperately to prove everyone wrong and I can say, with confidence, that I did. I did pursue film, I did leave home, I did survive two degrees and living abroad. No one could ever take that away from me.

With that said I spent too many years of my life learning to be proud of what I wasn’t and what I was. I bring this up because apparently in this country (The UK) I am considered white. I understand that as far as the Europeans are concerned I am no different than a Spaniard, an Italian or any other Mediterranean individual. Where I come from, however, I am reminded daily that I am different from those around me.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with my family in Amsterdam last year. In the US I am deemed Dominican, it is where my family is from but I was born in the US so I am American. The American’s see me as an outsider: a Dominican, the Dominican’s see me as an outsider: an American. What am I? According my mother I am a New Yorker. I think she’s right.

The other night a group of friends of mine had a little dinner and drinks event. It was nice and the food was amazing… I had three servings of the main and three of the dessert… I love food… so fat… and I like it.

Anyway, at said event, the topic of me being white was brought up. I don’t even remember how. I stated “I’m not white” and the room stared at me like I just detonated a bomb. Our gracious host challenged my statement and I replied: “I am not White.”

The conversation quickly died and I’m sure I came off as a major ass. I guess if you’re going to apply a label, apply one the person identifies with, not what YOU identify them with. I wish we could all just be individuals but I recognise that I live in a world where that just isn’t the case. I am neither White, Hispanic or Black; I am neither gay or straight; neither capable nor incapable; I am Me.
Don’t Put Me In A Box… Don’t Put Me In A Box… Reviewed by Christópher Abreu Rosario on 07:00 Rating: 5

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