By CAROLINA TRUJILLO
Am I a bigot? Maybe. In all honesty, I think we all are, and as we gently move through life, we release our bigotry every step of the way. Sometimes by finely mumbling in between our teeth and sometimes harshly with a putdown or an insult, or by making simple assumptions in the form of a question or a “well intended” comment.
On a personal note, I’ve experienced bigotry multiple times. I am a Latino woman, with a perceivable accent and fair skin, born in Colombia. Out of all my descriptive characteristics, my place of birth has probably gotten me in more stereotypical situations of bigotry than anything else. Apparently here in the United States, being a Colombian automatically makes a me a close relative of the well-known, and thankfully, now dead, Pablo Escobar.
As a Colombian, I have carried this “drug dealing” legacy everywhere I go. To me, being associated with Pablo Escobar is the biggest sign of bigotry that I’ve ever had to face. It doesn’t really matter that I’m an educated woman, have two Master’s degrees, and honestly it doesn’t really matter how much I perfect my English, because every time I open my mouth and say “I’m from Colombia,” somebody inevitably will reply with “Oh the land of drug lord Pablo Escobar” to which I respond, “Yeah, no ties to him.” Some people have the nerve to follow up and say, “Really, you don’t have a cocaine route?” At that point I just walk away.
I’m daily consumed with the mental debate of becoming a more verbal bigot myself in the name of righting people’s wrongs. I run these mental images where I act poorly justified in others acting poorly. Should I just unleash my hatred and say what I think? Maybe? Maybe not? What I am certain of is that we all have the bigotry demon inside of us, we just choose when to let it out to play.