Brown Approval: DENIED!

“I know how it feels, been there”, as I wait for the two to finish and say, “done that”. Being oppressed by the oppressed, its real y’all. At first I thought these two different women, one Black and one Latina, each from a different phase in my life at the same university, were just trying to be empathetic but I was wrong. I guess they were trying to justify their justification of what they went through and by allowing someone else go through it, would give validity to their point.

Reporting sexual harassment or professional bullying is stigmatized as complaining . It happened once and I was mocked. The second time was with our Director of institutional Diversity and Title IX Coordinator. I went to her because I was no longer able to bear the weight of Latinx initiatives, without compensation and without the emotional labor. Enough was enough!

I live in a world where I am constantly pulled from one side to another. I now have to live with the idea that those same people who were oppressed years ago, and still are, are passing that same sentiment onto me. You would think that me telling the Vice President of Student Engagement, who is also white, would be frustrated with losing another Latina pillar in the school but it didn’t. It was the Director of Institutional Diversity, who supposedly stands for equality and fairness, that guilt tripped me into staying, even after I told her the reason why I had to step down! What does she want a death certificate of my sick relative or proof that I am spread thing with the demands of my sick family?

Here’s the story. For the last 4.5 years I have worked for this institution. At this same institution, I established several multicultural student programs, started two organizations, one social and one academic, increased Latino recruitment and since graduation, have advised the Latino honor society on campus and brought many undocumented student resources, all while trying to engage administration and faculty in the process. I intended to include everyone because it is everyone’s responsibility to make all students feel welcomed. In the wake of receiving news that one of my aunts was in the process of dying, my dad having diabetes and getting older, and my mom just recently released from the hospital, I decided to step down. I would never think that a person who I consider strong and who I thought, stood for justice would push me to something I no longer could do and believed that I was using my students for my own agenda. It only proved the point I had been trying to disprove, that she was standing aside letting me do all the programming, threw in her commentary when she saw fit about certain Latino initiatives and when shit hit the fan, stepped in only to save her name.

Fast forward a week and the president of the university, a trustee and a vice president step into my office with full intention to address the issue of undocumented students (well after I stepped down from being advisor). In this past week I learned that many thought It was using my students to get ahead, those same opinions went as high as the cabinet of the university to the point where the Director of Diversity’s boss came into my office to disdainfully state, “thank you for being there for our dreamers (as I internally cringe because I hate the word). As I had stated to Veronica (a pillar in the Latino community), if she had spoken to the Director she would have known that everyone here is an ally to all students”. Was this white lady proving to herself that shes capable of helping undocumented students or that her subordinate is able to do all good things? Did she want the brown stamp of approval?

I think so.

Y’all im only an admissions counselor who has obviously stepped on people’s toes but what do you do when you have students mortified about Trumps policies and our universities lack of attention who are crying in your office? I didn’t add fuel to the students fire, I just acknowledged it.

Since then I have stepped down from all activities but still remain as an advocate to student. So now what?

#tokenized #latina #highereducation #latinainhighereducation #undocumented #whiteprivilege #papelesprivileged

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Another day, otro dolar

On the issue of feeling alone I have come to realize that I’m not the first one to feel this way in a primarily white institution, nor will I be the last.

We live in a time where everyone is scurrying to their people of color to figure out how to tackle issues of racism, self-hate, colorism, anti-semitism and any other things white people, here, don’t want to directly work on. As a result, they pawn on the few people of color that work in their institution. It’s happening to all of us and it will happen over, and over again until we become compassionate individuals.

When shit hits the fan, as in now during the Trump Era where DACA has ended, we (people of color, the brown one’s specifically), are forced to drop everything for anyone that is going through emotional distress, and left with a dump of emotions. I am then alone again figuring out how to approach the situation. Wouldn’t it be nice just to say, “its no my job” or “let our Diversity Director take care of it”, when it is those same people that come running to us when students reach out to them because they have no idea how to handle the situation. Its a never ending cycle.

We instantly become tokenized and its something I never grew up knowing about until I went to college. This was mainly because I grew up in a predominantly Mexican neighborhood. In college I was the spokes person for my people and now as an administrator, I am again pigeonholed into a position I never wanted in the first place. Do I like seeing people not get help? No, but does that mean that we always have to be the ones reaching out and making sure our students of color are okay or that we have adequate programming for our students? I thought this would never happen but it keeps happening, time after time- with no compensation might I add.

I am caught between administration that is stuck in their ways, wants to help but becomes instantly paralyzed as soon as something is thrown their way. Then we have those students who want instant change and gratification, and end up throwing people under the bus; the wrong people. I am 1 of 5 Latina pillars on this campus, when will it be okay for me to reach out for help?  Another day, but no dollar….

Its not normal to carry around everyone else’s baggage. Make sure to take care of you.

Shoutout to The Wellness Center Blog on Latino Mental Wellness

One of the few

Its lunch time, well late lunch time. I’m sitting here in a lonely lobby. I always knew I was independent and loner but when did it become okay to default to being lonely all the time? I work for a small religious based university- in Illinois. We preach solidarity and community but as much as I try and become part of a community, I always end up sitting by myself somewhere and mentally preparing myself to be alone. Is that right?

And so I turn to what my parents and family taught me, “mejor sola que mal acompañada”. As I look around I am again the lonely Latina, who from the outside of a glass window is looking inside to a world I could never belong to. The white world.

The archetype of my fucking life. Everyone wants to not feel alone and I’m over here the 27 year old Latina who had to grow up being okay with being alone.

I did it in my childhood being one of the few to be studious, one of the few to go to college, one of the few to finish grad school and one of the few Latinas to work in this god forsaken place that is the farthest from what it teaches.

Chuy, visit this catholic school already. ..we need you