Let’s face it, white people can be really embarrassing. When one race runs the world (or at least has until us Hispanics outbirthed them the last few years), they attempt to co-opt any and all fun activities from other walks of life and call it their own. Let’s run through a very short list of things that weren’t white people’s stuff that now kinda are:
- Do you Zumba? That’s actually just a lot of Latin dancing that you now think you can do, but let’s face it, no. No, you cannot do the salsa.
- Do you enjoy twerking, like Miley Cyrus? Nope, you can’t do it right, so please stop uploading Vine and Instagram videos of you attempting to booty shake (as it was once known as, back in my day).
- Do you try to say ‘cool’ words like homes (short for homie) or lyrics to any current pop/rap song like “What rhymes with hug me?” in a non-ironic sort of way? HAHAHAHANO.
First of all, I titled this post “White People Silliness” because I like to make fun of white people. I assure you this is not racism, or reverse racism, or any other -ism that advanced degreed minds who work in cross-cultural, post-apocalyptic, marginalized intersectional feminism preach. This is plain and simple fun. Because if you can’t laugh at yourself and the human condition sometimes, then really what is there to look forward to in life?
In a world full of Paula Deens, think of me as Shaula Zeen (that sounds Latin, right?).
Let me start at the beginning. I was born and raised in the South, a true Atlanta native. I was raised in Buckhead, a very affluent community right in the heart of Atlanta. So when I say I’m from Atlanta, I mean Atlanta, not Lawrenceville, not Marietta, not Fairburn. My mother is Spanish and my dad is Panamanian, so I like to refer to myself as Spam. And in every sense of that meat-like mashup product, I am a mix of so many different identities: American, European white, Spanish, Native American, Panamanian, Colombian, Southern, woman, feminist, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, etc. My older sister and I are first generation Americans.
Growing up in the South was pretty challenging for us. Everyone I grew up with was a blond-haired, blue-eyed, American, English-speaking Southerner with grandparents who lived down the road, and an extended family within driving/plane distance. Everyone spoke the same language, and everyone bled red, white, and blue. They listened to Bruce Springsteen and loved them some hot dogs and fried chicken.
Then there’s me. Olive skinned. Dark haired. Dark eyed. My family no habla inglés. Out of our entire family, only the four of us celebrate Thanksgiving, and every New Year’s Eve, we eat 12 grapes in the last 12 seconds of the year. We listened to the Gipsy Kings, and ate paella and a Mediterranean diet (although we did love us some hot dogs and fried chicken too). Everyone always thought I was Mexican because that’s the only Spanish-speaking culture they were aware of in Georgia. Ignorance ran rampant, and I never knew exactly where I fit in.
Timmy’s never ever had that problem. Obvs. 1) He’s a dude. 2) He’s Whitey McWhiterson. 3) He’s a true Southern boy with deep roots in the region. 4) He has a beard. (a real one, not in the way that I am his beard because he’s gay and needs me to cover for him…wait, forget I said that part).
Timmy went to Auburn University, in good ole Auburn, Alabama. What would possess anyone to move from Stone Mountain, GA, which ain’t that bad of a town, to Auburn, AL, I have no idea. He loves that town, with its two downtown streets, its football/any collegiate sport and drinking culture, the shouts of “Roll Tide Roll” (wrong school? I kid, I know it’s “GOOOOOOOOO DAWGS! SICK ‘EM! RUFF RUFF RUFF RUFF!” Wrong again?). He loves when Auburn peeps see each other anywhere in the world and acknowledge each other with a simple, “War Eagle.” It’s his happiness.
I am big city ALL THE WAY. I went to NYU because I couldn’t stand the idea of living in a small college town. My dad is from Panama City, Panama, and my mom is from Barcelona, both majorly large cities. I love the idea of getting lost in a big city, having to make my own way and contributions and always being reminded of being significantly insignificant. This is one of the main reasons why I hate Lakeland so much. I got my Master’s degree from Emory; there’s a reason I went to two schools in a row with no football team.
Timmy and I are different in a number of ways, but we did have a lot in common growing up. Going to Woodward together for middle and high school, we knew all the same people, we did the same after-school activities, we were both athletes, and very social people. We both like being the center of attention, public speaking, and being true to who we are. We’ve both lost very loved people in our lives, and we both made our lives exactly what we want them to be.
But Timmy and I are different mainly because of our cultural differences. I grew up with a natural rhythm in my body. It’s something that Latin people can’t describe; it’s just something we have inside that allows us to always find the beat in a song, to dance well, and look coordinated in our movements. I have no idea where I got it because it’s not like I took Latin dance lessons when I was little. But my whole family has it, and we always find ourselves fighting the urge to just get up and dance. We just feel the music.
This is Timmy dancing:
Ok, obviously this is not Timmy. This is Kevin James dancing in the movie, Hitch. But I promise you, they are more alike than you will ever know. Case in point, when Timmy and his friends get together at weddings, they do what they lovingly refer to as the “Invisible Jump Rope” on the dance floor. It looks something like this:
Looks like fun, no? Regardless, it’s not dancing. Bless Timmy’s heart. At least he has a big butt. That will come in handy if we ever have a daughter, who will then look legit Latina.
In high school, I used to perform what I called the “White Girl Dance” for my friends after basketball games and really anywhere. It’s really specific, and I’m sure you all have your own mental images going on of what the “White Girl Dance” entails. We’ve all seen it, we know what it means. Let’s not forget, when I was growing up, The Grind on MTV was a huge thing, and everyone wanted to be on that show. During spring break, the Grind would make me laugh so hard because of all the white girl dancing going on. It was distracting for not only me as a t.v. viewer but probably for the really good dancers on stage who were actually trying to dance well.
What does the “White Girl Dance” look like, you ask? The “White Girl Dance” is a mixture of a little stomach crunching:
Breast heaving and sexy looks:
A little side punching and running man:
Attempting the cabbage patch, but only in a group:
Totally unnecessary and badly timed arm movements:
Breast and hip thrusting:
And choreographed movements with their girls:
Everytime I go out, this is exactly how I feel:
The older I get, I realize my own privilege as a white-looking, Hispanic woman. I’ve never been discriminated against because of my Latin background simply because I have always looked white. I’ve been around every race imaginable, and I don’t question what race they belong to or identify with. Yet, people fight me when I say I’m Spam. This isn’t a joke, people tell me to my face, “You’re not Hispanic. There’s no way you’re Hispanic.” To which I always respond, “Because I don’t look and/or sound like this?”
I laugh at white people because I was always an outsider with a real inside track. I’m not racist and I never will be. People are funny, whether you’re black, white, Asian, Indian, or unlabeled. Everyone wants to shout out racism for anything and everything these days. Sensitivity to anything that points out our differences is at an all-time high. Real racism doesn’t start with commenting on the fact that there absolutely are differences between ethnicities, races, and cultures. It starts with the simple act of not accepting that people look, act, and sound different from each other. Somehow, we forget that simple fact as we grow up.
But don’t ever forget that white people dancing is funny. Because that shit is hilarious.
P.S. Thanks for all the love on my last post!! So excited and pumped for all the new peeps on the blog! 🙂
I was always jealous of other that could dance. It’s fun to do, but painful to watch.
I’m neither blond-haired, nor blue-eyed, and I’ll be damned if you’re gonna tell me that I couldn’t dance when you knew me back in the day! 🙂
This was a great post VB!
And that, my dear child (and I do consider you my child) is why you have never and never will see Mr. Fred and I dance!
Loved the post, by the way. Ms. Pat
haha! I think your styles of dancing are acceptable 🙂