I’m finding I am curious about something, though.
When I drove through the tiny ghost towns of New Mexico, the derelict structures both horrified and haunted me.
Here, the similar negligence in the buildings has a vibrant life that is hard to explain. Most of these houses would appear abandoned in the states, but none of them are. And I am drawn to them.
I’m cautious to take at face value that I simply identify more with the culture and life style and enjoy seeing and experiencing it in person.
It’s odd to be thinking about digging around for unconscious racism when I’m actively enjoying and appreciating this place out of a sense of gratitude and respect, but even though I feel no contempt or even irritation toward this place (except for the mosquitos, and that doesn’t count.) I’m urked.
When I drove through those deserted American towns that looked like these places, I was bereft. I was horrified that the industries that once fueled the town were toppled and buried. But here, I’m not doing that, even though in many ways I am looking at the same thing.
Is there something to the difference in seeing derelict American towns vs. Mexican? Something other than the difference between a dead town and one that is living and breathing despite having so very little?
Is it that I simply see this place as poorer, that I’ve been raised to expect this place to be impoverished and dirty and violent (I have experienced/seen absolutely zero violence since entering Mexico) and so see the quality of life here unemotionally?
Or is it the flip side, maybe — that my antiracism work over the last two years has rid me of the supremacist mindset that these poor dirty broken brown people would need my help, somehow, or my pity? That they would ever need to rise to the level of capitalist ‘comfort’ I was accustomed to in order to be valid people? Is my lack of a sense of disturbance indication of my growth, rather than a callous indifference?
Maybe I’m looking at how two cultures manage poverty — one deserts in the constant rat race search of riches elsewhere within an inflated view of what constitutes a good life, while the other makes a simple relaxed one with their families? Maybe I’m not sad because they’re not sad?
So, I’m curious if I have more antiracism work to do because of what I’ve uncovered of myself in my reactions here. And I am really thankful to Previous Me for blowing the lid off of my corrosive, unconscious (and sometimes not) biases that were rooted in the white supremacy I formed among, and caused me to question myself in this way.