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Tuesday, January 27, 2009Bombao
As a rule Hispanics and Latinos (no, they are not one and the same. I’ll break it down for you another time.) are very proud of their heritage but occasionally you will come across a self-hater. I have no patience for these people.
I’ve met a few “Becky’s” at school women whose facial features, surnames, and vocal syntax scream “I am spic here me roar!” yet they persist in denying their roots. They act as if they don’t know Spanish despite the glimmer of recognition in their eyes when they hear the mother tongue. I call these women “Beckys”, Latinas who try to pass for white.
There is one “Becky” in particular at school that’s been plucking away at my nerves for the past couple of semesters. She’s from an upper class suburb and has an entire shitload of biases and shame when it comes to anything Latino or Hispanic, especially urban Hispanics/Latinos and is damn vocal about it. Hand to God I’m going to end up ramming my size 4 ½ sneaker up her butt one day. I see it coming.
The funky smell in the school elevator hit us at once. I wrinkled my nose and slipped into Spanglish, “Ay fo, it smells bombao (putrid) in here.” I said. “What’s bum-ba-oh” the Becky asked. I rolled my eyes at her. Despite her best efforts her Spanglish accent betrayed her.
Oh come on bitch you know damn you’re one of us. Don’t act like you don’t have anyone named Carmen, Jose, or Maria in your family. Tu mama (your mother) is probably at home watching a novela (Spanish soap opera) on Telemundo right now.
Our fellow Hispanic classmates ignored her question. They know bullsnot when they hear it. “Yeah man it does smell bombao. Maybe the janitor mopped with dirty mop water.” One of my classmates replied.
As the elevator made its way up to our floor “Becky” turned her attention on me.
“Mia you’re from The Bronx aren’t you?”
“Yes, I am. Why? ” I replied just as the elevator stopped on our floor.
“So then this smell is familiar to you.”
“Duhh the projects girl!”
I stepped in front of her, “ I don’t live in the projects, but now that you do mention it the smell is familiar. It does remind me of something.” I said and stared at her.
“What?” she asked.
“Your breath.” I said and inclined my head to her as I walked out of the elevator.
“Baya Boricua ! (right on Puerto Rican) the classmate that stepped out from behind her said as she gave me a high five.
I glanced over my shoulder, the “Becky” was livid but she had no comeback for me.So much for my New Year's resolution of being a kinder and gentler Mia.
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