Recently, my girlfriend and I went to Austin, TX for a fun girls’ trip. On the last night, my friend and I were walking down Sixth Street and noticed someone’s identification lying on the ground. Rather than leave it, my friend and I picked it up with the intent of turning it in since we would want someone to do the same if someone had found ours. We noticed some police officers nearby so I suggested we turn it in to them. We approached one of the police officers and explained the situation. Rather than thank us for the kind citizen act, the situation immediately turned sour. The police officer began to interrogate us like we had committed a crime. After answering the officer’s questions and giving him our names, he let us go. We walked away confused and thinking what the heck happened. Did we do something wrong by picking up the identification card and turning it in? Or was it because the police officer was white and we were Latinas in possession of someone else’s identification being so close to the border? Would we have been treated differently if we were white? It’s these kinds of questions that run through my mind when these situations occur. It’s difficult not to think this way. We didn’t expect a huge parade to be thrown in our honor but we definitely didn’t expect to be treated the way we were.
As a Mexican-American citizen, I have experienced moments in my life where I felt discriminated against or stereotyped. It’s these moments that I am reminded that I am different and the color of my skin may cause others to treat me differently with no cause or blame to myself. The same could be said if I was of different sexual orientation or because I am female. It’s easy for people to find reasons for their behavior but no amount of reasons can justify treating someone differently or badly because they are not the same as you. Based on what I have learned in this class, we need to acknowledge the problem and assist with the change if we want things to be different. I still think back to that night and wonder what kind of things we can do as a society to stop these incidents from happening. Should multiracial training be a requirement in school/work to teach everyone how to treat others or just a requirement where there is a problem of racial tension? What kind of training should we undergo to learn how to treat individuals of different sexual orientation or sex?