The entrance to Blackhawk, one of the wealthiest gated communities
in the Bay Area, is just a few blocks away from my home. As a first-generation Chicana, this means that where I live,I am a little brown pebble stuck in a massive pile of white sand.
My family moved from Antioch, a town with dirty streets and gang-related shootings, to uptown Danville seven years ago. We would joke about how making Latino friends in this place would mean striking up conversations with gardeners and construction workers.
Latinos only made up 5 percent
of my middle school’s population.
I heard my classmates call Mexicans illegal aliens, sluts, and gang members. My takeaway: Mexicans weren’t people to them.
My parents worked their butts off to put my brothers and me into this blue-ribbon school system. My brothers and I, in turn, worked our butts off to distance ourselves from the pervasive stereotypes about Latinos.
Living in a place like Danville is the American Dream, something that people of color are supposed to aspire to. But once they achieve it, they need to be ready to be the only black or brown face in a conservative, white place.