Best Mexi-casian coming-of-age moment
Or what to do in a city when you’re only half the Mexican your father is
It’s easy to have identity issues when you’re half-anything: half-white, half-black, half-gay, half-crazy—whatever. And, as we all know, identity issues when you’re growing up are never pleasant.
Growing up in Davis as a half-Mexican, I always wanted to be more like my Spanish-speaking brethren. But I didn’t speak Spanish, and I wasn’t that close to any Mexican people—not even my dad. So in high school, I took superficial measures to become one with my heritage. I listened to the Mexican rapper Kid Frost, I wore overalls with the straps down, and then I joined the Latinos Unidos club but was so bored by the strict regimen of doing absolutely nothing that I quit three days in. But if you know anything about Mexicans, you know we’re not quitters, so I blame most of my unfinished projects on my German grandfather.
“You’re Mexican?” I got that question all the time when white people heard my last name of Fernandez. “I thought you were Jewish” was a common follow-up. “Greek,” “Middle Eastern” and even “Japanese” all came in a close second.
One day, at the Davis skate park (yeah, yeah, I suck at futból), a group of white kids outside the fence started harassing me. Never one to turn down a round of fisticuffs, I challenged them all to a duel. I stepped outside of the gate like an Aztec warrior, using my skateboard as a Huitzauhqui. And I charged.
One of them punched me. Then another one punched me. Another one took my skateboard and began beating me with it. No stranger to an ass-kicking, I knew exactly what to do: I covered my head and tucked into the fetal position while they treated me like a piñata. As their beating subsided, one of the kids said, “There you go, you fucking spic.”
“Fucking wetback,” another one said.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. They were calling me racist names against my Mexican ancestry.
“Finally,” I thought. “I’m a Mexican!” It was the proudest day of my life.
So what have I been up to since then, now that I’m a liberated, 32-year-old half-Mexican in Sacramento? Well, to put it bluntly, whatever the fuck I want.
No longer do I need to listen to bad Latino rap to fit in with my brethren, and I certainly don’t need to prove my Spanish-speaking skills to the John Smiths of the world.
Here are some of my favorite things in the city I enjoy as a half-Mexican.
Favorite Mexican restaurant: Tres Hermanas, 2416 K Street, (916) 443-6919.
Favorite kind-of Mexican restaurant: Zocalo, 1801 Capitol Avenue, (916) 441-0303, www.zocalosacramento.com. The only thing really Mexican about this restaurant are the busboys, but it’s pretty tasty.Favorite place to watch other half-Mexicans: Greyhound terminal, 715 L Street, (800) 231-2222.
So, there it is. You see, just as Bernie Mac enjoys being one of the blackest people on Earth, I, along with Wonder Woman’s Lynda Carter, enjoy being one of the halfest Mexicans on our planet. And, really, what better place on Earth is there other than Sacramento to celebrate life’s curious little equations?