Tanis Jex-Blake, a 33-year-old mother of five from Edmonton, Alberta, learned this firsthand when she hit the beach in a hot pink bikini last week. According to Jex-Blake, a group of other beach-goers were so “grossed out” by her post-baby tummy that they pointed and laughed, at one point even pretending to kick her.
Their actions were insensitive, to say the least. To make matters even more upsetting, this was reportedly the first time Jex-Blake had donned a bikini in public in 13 years.
Not content to let the incident slide, Jex-Blake wrote an impassioned open letter to the trio on Facebook, posted along with a picture of her stomach. The post clearly struck a nerve: After being picked up by a local radio station, the photo has gained over 1 million likes (and rising) in a matter of days.
Why isn’t anyone talking about this?
Early in my freshman year, my dad asked me if there were lots of Latinos at school. I wanted to say, “Pa, I’m one of the only Latinos in most of my classes. The other brown faces I see mostly are the landscapers’. I think of you when I see them sweating in the morning sun. I remember you were a landscaper when you first came to Illinois in the 1950s. And look, Pa! Now I’m in college!”
But I didn’t.
I just said, “No, Pa. There’s a few Latinos, mostly Puerto Rican, few Mexicans. But all the landscapers are Mexican.”
My dad responded, “¡Salúdelos, m’ijo!”
So when I walked by the Mexican men landscaping each morning, I said, “Buenos días.”
Recently, I realized what my dad really meant. I remembered learning the Mexican, or Latin American, tradition of greeting people when one enters a room. In my Mexican family, my parents taught me to be “bien educado” by greeting people who were in a room already when I entered. The tradition puts the responsibility of the person who arrives to greet those already there. If I didn’t follow the rule as a kid, my parents admonished me with a back handed slap on my back and the not-so-subtle hint: “¡Saluda!”
I caught myself tapping my 8-year-old son’s back the other day when he didn’t greet one of our friends: “Adrian! ¡Saluda!”
However, many of my white colleagues over the years followed a different tradition of ignorance. “Maleducados,” ol’ school Mexican grandmothers would call them.
But this Mexican tradition is not about the greeting—it’s about the acknowledgment. Greeting people when you enter a room is about acknowledging other people’s presence and showing them that you don’t consider yourself superior to them.
When I thought back to the conversation between my dad and me in 1990, I realized that my dad was not ordering me to greet the Mexican landscapers with a “Good morning.”
Instead, my father wanted me to acknowledge them, to always acknowledge people who work with their hands like he had done as a farm worker, a landscaper, a mechanic. My father with a 3rd grade education wanted me to work with my mind but never wanted me to think myself superior because I earned a college degree and others didn’t."
Saluden Muchachxs, saluden.
Acknowledgement and respect 💯
Anonymous asked: Shout out to itsanamergencykael911 for her general amazingness and good luck to her on her upcoming vbac!
I just saw this and now I want to cry. Let me love you.