Bob Munoz peers through the prism of his brownness.
There are certain things in life that are difficult for me to rationalize and I am sure there are many who feel the same way on this topic. I want to elaborate on the racial identification of Mexican-Americans by their local jurisdictions upon birth. I don’t know if this varies by cities, counties or states. But changes need to be made and they are long overdue.
I was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1942. I have lived in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Herong, California. For the past 29 years I have settled in the Reno, Nevada area and have no plans to uproot from the area.
I’ve always been perplexed as to why my birth certificate has me listed as being “White” in the slot the hospital personnel filled out for “Race.” White!? You have got to be kidding! If I were White, why did I do time in segregated schools, why was I denied employment, why could I not go to certain places and why were all of the rules of segregation applied to me at one time? Besides, White is not a race.
I have and never will, consider myself “White.” You have to understand that being from Mexican descent, I am like the vast majority of my Mexican/Mexican American brothers and sister, a Mestizo, which is the term used to describe people whose lineage is derived from the Spanish/Indigenous people. I contend that there is a reason for this White classification—but I don’t know the reason nor the rationale for this classification. Obviously, someone without a background in anthropology, sociology, or related fields made this up and the rest of the dimwits went along with it. I also believe that there was money attached for White Programs in some states, so the more whites, the more money. That does not mean that the Mexican-American Community benefited or received their share of funds.
And to complicate matters, recently in the George Zimmerman case, he was referred to by the media as a “White Hispanic.” Seriously? What in the world does that term signify? Zimmerman’s mom is of Mexican descent and his father is White. What non-biased agency has the final say so on classifying folks by race at the national or international level? Shouldn’t we be more precise and consistent as to classifying people by race? My grandfather could not attend a White School in Texas, neither could I.
I am just attempting to place my life in perspective. A century ago, what would White America, as the power holders, have in store for me and those like me? Would they send me to a reservation school if I lived in a rural area or if I was one of a few in a small community? Would they even bother?
Don’t get the wrong impression about me. I am not condemning Whites. Most of my friends, including my wife, are White. But even they treat me as a non-White and that is the way it should be. Someone set the record straight. Love me for who I am and respect the fact that I am not and do not pretend to be White.