**warning I am a horrible writer mostly because I make mistakes I honestly cannot see. That and I cannot spell**
So, I am a Salvadorean American or Latin American. I speak Spanish and have the Guanaco accent to prove it! I grew up on the West side of Oakland, California. Oakland, as many of you all know, is an underserved city plagued with gun violence, police brutality, poverty, low quality public schools and all the other shitty things that come with poor urban areas where people of color live.
Oakland is broken into three sections: West, East, and North. The majority of Oakland’s population are Black, but the Latin barrio or section is found in the middle of West Oakland to East Oakland. Now I grew up and STILL live in the Westside, where I was surrounded by Black culture. While alot of my college and highschool peers where listening to NSYNC and the BackstreetBoys I was sitting on the porch with my gangbanger primos bumpin’ Tupac and 50Cent. My primos and I grew up with black homies and spoke just like everyone else from the streets.
I am a Latina and proud of it, but I didn’t always know that I was Latin. Growing up in the Black community in Oakland with Salvadorean roots was odd! Up untill the 4th or 5th grade I had no idea I was not Black. No lie. I grew up saying “nigga” not knowing the historical meaning of the word nigger and how nigga is used today. I did not realize that it was not cool for me to use the N-word because all my homies, who where all Black, refered to me as their ni**a.
I then went to private highschool with white rich kids in San Francisco with hipster trends becoming fashionable and cool!
All of this informations is only to give you contest to my current conflictions.
Hipsters. What can I say about them. When I hear the word hipster I think of yuppie affluent, well sho’nuff not poor like Oakland natives, white youngsters. They are all about the counter-culture and in my opinios glorify the struggle! They go thrifting to find cheap shit, while the rest of the struggling poor and of color have since the begining of time shoped at GoodWill simply becasue they CANNOT AFFORD ANYTHING ELSE!
In my experience hipsters are synonymous with gentrification. Oakland has now for the past five or six years been slowly gentrifying. Everytime I come back to my block, or surrounding kickit spots, there are new fancy cafes where the abandoned store front was. Now I dont mind cafes, I really enjoy a nice machiatto, but not at the expense of my block and pre-existing Oakland Culture!
Oakland pride was last Sunday, as a Masculine of Center Latina that strongly sides with the Black community here I was all too excited to finally see my love for Oakland, people of color, and LGBTQ people intersect!
I have been lost in terms of my style. People tell me I looks like a hipster and it bothers the FUCK out of me, becasue I associate hipster with white. I dislike being associated with white culture as much as I hate being called Mexican. Now its not the fact that I do not want to be called white, even though I don’t, but it is the fact that hipster = white.
I like to call myself a Hood-ster. A Hood hipster. I have never stopped talking the way I grew up speaking, but in terms of clothing I have. I used to wear baggy jeans, lose tshirts, and high top Nikes. Now I wear jean khaki jean shorts and a navy tshirt with Vanz. Not to mention I have a fade/crewcut hair style at the moment and wear large framed prescription glasses as well as size 0 gauges. I look like a hipster and I dont care about being a hipster. I just dont want to be mistaken for a white gentrifier, since I’ve lived in Oakland my whole life.
Back to Oakland Pride. There where many masculine of center people of color there I felt insecure about what I looked like. I saw studs with a fitted cap, baggie jeans, and large tshirt, and then I saw Black Hipsters! The very sight of them hypnotized me. They where everything I wanted to show through clothes! For that moment I really wished I was like 4x tanner/darker and had more Afro type hair.
I was jealouse that this one individual in particular could dress like a hipster and not be associated with being white, because clearly they aren’t white! I on the other had am a fairly brown/tan Latina, but if I where to have worn the exact same things as that one Black Hipster, I feel less hood. Why? Iono, I guess its becasue I don’t have my long curly hair that was a hint to people that I am Latin. Only if we have a conversation will you see my hoodness, which would contras what I look like.
This post has gotten too long and I guess I poorly writen but, in the end I do not wish I was black, because the Black community and anyone of the darker complexion have been marginalized, commodified, hypersexualized, raped, brutalized, etc… If I was 4x darker then I would have been treated differently for the amount of melinine in my skin.
I feel fucked up for feeling jealous of my Black counter part… I feel like I am glorifying black skin for the very association with everything rachet, ghetto, hood, violent, etc that the media controls. I feel horrible for my feelings, but I just wish I could show more of my gritty upbringing and not the current looks of where I am.
I SWEAR that I am not trynna sound like some fake ass mark who wishes they where Black. I am who I am and the proof is in me. I am a product of the Oakland Streets, a educated Queer Latina with strong ties to her Black peers.