I walked into a recommended salon in Southern California to get my haircut. When I met my hairstylist I was trying not to judge her just because she was a tattooed, funky hair-colored stylist that was about to cut my hair which was in much need of a trim.
I sat in her chair and she right away started a friendly conversation with me as she examined my hair, as most hair-stylists try to do. She said, “You have beautifully thick hair. I am so jealous.” I thanked her. She went on to say, “You’re lucky you have a very distinct look. You could probably look like you’re from anywhere.” I took that as a compliment. It wasn’t the first time someone has said that.
We moved on to another chair to start the washing process now that we had established what I needed in a haircut. She proceeded to inquire about my background, which is fine, I, too, am always curious about peoples ethnic origins. She asked, “What is you et-nee-city?” I knew what she was trying to say, so I replied, “My parents are from Mexico.” Again, I was not surprised with her response, “Oh, really, you don’t look Mexican.” But then she said, “But wait your sister has green eyes and your eyes are amber in color.” This is usually the point in a conversation where I would love to provide a short lesson about Mendelion genetics or the history of immigration in Mexico despite the inidivuals interest, but she kept on rambling. I opened my eyes as she was massaging my head and I caught her glimpsing at my face and says, “Oh, wait you do look a little Indian. Thats ok we all have a little, dirty secret.”
So, I am once again reminded about how the language a person speaks can influence their perception of themselves and to some extent their interest and perception of other people. Growing up, these are the sort of comments I heard occasionally. As a 14 year old hearing these kinds of “blissfully ignorant” comments and still very much in what they refer as the “formative years,” I would resent my ethnic roots and the language associated with it. This is something I would like to further explore because there are several adults who still resent or reject their ethnic roots, whether they are aware of this or not, it is evident by their lack of interest in learning more about their inherited culture…….
As we moved from hair-washing to cutting, the hair-stylist continued to ramble. She switched topics of conversation as she snipped away. I don’t know if it was during the hair-washing or the blowdrying as I was listening to her ramble that I realized that she didn’t intend to offend me. She fit perfectly into the quote I have posted on this blog. She is blissfully ignorant. I decided not to show my slight resentment towards her comments by giving a tiny tip. Instead, I tipped her for the job well done, and walked out of her salon with the conclusion that she is one of those “blissfully ignorant” individuals.