Wednesday, May 07, 2008

My Man Javier!

I got this from a comment section on Chronicle of Higher Education Posting about an Administrator who was arrested at Ohio State University for possession of meth. The following commentator's name is Javier and when he made his original comment:

"Like grandpa used to say…“if you give me a barn to shoot at, don’t expect me to miss it”. OSU is definitely better than this. News at 11."

he was hit with - "I’m not sure what country you and your grandpa are from, but at least in these here parts we’re innocent until proven guilty." from another commentator.

Oh it gets funnier, because then another commentator thinking they were coming to his defense states: "Can we please stop with the not so subtle racist comments about Javier. The whole, “In the US” and “I am not sure what country you and your grandpa are from” are pretty low and show that you both also jump the gun! '

This is what Javier says that makes my week:

For my enlightened American colleagues…my background is French/Spanish Basque from Cajun country in Louisiana. Sorry to let my “tolerant” and ever-so-informed colleagues down with my total lack of brownness or blackness. Your response to my name with your not-so-cryptic jingoistic slurs are nothing new to me. Nothing like tired old American stereo-types to screw-up an otherwise spirited conversation. But don’t feel bad, when I first met my wife’s family they couldn’t get over how “White” I looked and that I spoke such good English (my only language) and they promised her not to report me to immigration service for good measure. Don’t you just love American provincialism. Having lived abroad in Europe, the Caribbean and in South America, it was such a pleasure to be amidst people whose view of others doesn’t come from old Chico and the Man re-runs or from a ChiChi’s menu. P.S. My dad’s name is Javier also and he is PINK white with red hair and living in New Iberia, LA. Wait til I tell him this one. No, I didn’t name my own son the name of Javier, because I couldn’t do that to him, in a culture that increasing resents ANYTHING and ANYONE with a Spanish name or connection. I was recently on a search committe on my campus and a fellow with a Spanish name interviewed and the tacky conversations about his candidacy of course included comments like…“he’s so White”, “he’s really learned to speak English good” and of course, “but, we shouldn’t offer him the job, because apparently he is such a sell-out”. At that point, not being one to let this level of stupidity pass by, I explained that I had learned that he was born in Puerto Rico of Spanish and Corsican parents, so of course he was White. You should have seen the vacant expressions on these peoples’ faces as the flies flew in and out of their gaping mouths, ‘cause once again, having a Spanish name automatically makes one brown and illegal. Wow, I need to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming this nonsense, in the academy of all places. Thanks guys for the laugh. Oh, and regarding the OSU guy with the drugs, really now, do we need to look much further. Of course we do, but let’s be honest, how many of us keep illegal drugs in our homes? Good try though to defend the obviously indefensible. I have to run, my Andean poncho and tailfeathers are ready at the drycleaners and my bongos have just been re-skinned with cheetah pelts and are waiting for me at the music store…javier

They way he gave it to them is the way they all need it!!! I also love the fact that he addressed it in the context of hiring in higher education. The discrimination in this country seems like it is on the cellular level and sometimes I feel like moving to France - to which some would say go ahead little black girl we don't want you here anyway!

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