To the Two Young Women on My Train,
First I would like to apologize for eavesdropping on your conversation and inserting myself into it later, I know it is not polite to do either of those things.
Second, I want to thank you. Thank you for giving me hope that I am not the only one aware of the issues at hand. Thank you both for being outraged and fed up with the system that we are all trapped in. Thank you for sitting down and trying to work through the issues you face intelligently.
Sitting on the train with my aching, fluid-filled head in my hands just wishing to die, I wasn’t sure what turn your conversation was going to take when the two of you sat down next to me. You both talked about lack of representation for yourselves in Hollywood, that there was nothing for second generation Dominican-Americans or any other second generation immigrant in the US. One of you said something that struck a chord with me “I feel like I am the hyphen.” A beautiful, tragic, poetic way to explore what happens to second generation Americans – you are neither American nor your parents’ home country. I listened to the two of you discuss how frustrating it is to have people who look like you constantly turned into stereotypes and made to be nothing but lessons for white people. In the back of my head I thought, I wish I could join this conversation, but it’s not my place as a Straight White Cis Girl, this is your conversation to have, but God I wish I could tell you how fuck off awesome it is that you are having it and that instead of feeling angry and disenfranchised both of your solutions were “Well, I guess we’re going to have to make the shows and movies that we want to see.”
I was content to simply listen, but a white guy interrupted you to let you know the term you two were looking for was “noble savage.” I looked up and you both looked angry and a little upset. I stepped up to the plate and explained that it was a historical term used to explain how non-whites were seen has being lesser than whites, but still having something to give to whites without being seen as better. I then, since this man had given me the opportunity, thanked you both for the hope you gave me and told you both that you were so smart and bright and I was very glad that you would be putting your voices out into the world. I offered you another phrase for your language “liminal phase” a space in between two states of being. I could tell you both were embarrassed by having your conversation critiqued/applauded by two obviously privileged white people. But I pushed through and said that it wasn’t just Hollywood that did the things you were talking about, but the media at large and that it was important that you two were talking about this. I finished by telling you about how in NYC there is an organization working hard to get women directors the credit they deserve and that it was definitely something to look into.
So, again, I am sorry for interrupting your conversation, but thank you so much for having it.
Keep kicking ass,
Straight White Cis Girl