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sit anywhere because hey, this is America. When we told an assistant principal, he shrugged and agreed with them. When we finally found another spot to sit, it didn’t take long until another group of white boys complained and got us booted out. When we used the same logic from before on the same assistant principal, he didn’t care and threatened to write us up. So, there we were, not allowed to be peacefully brown but we obviously weren’t white. When I would tell mi mama of all this, she said I had to toughen up, take it, and move on, to not make any trouble and do what I could to get by. Teen Reyes didn’t understand, especially when he’d been taught about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. every Black History Month to stand up for what’s right, but did what he was told like un buen hijo. It would be years later before Reyes, before I, could understand that mama lived every day of her life like this as an undocumented American. It would be years before I read and learned from W. E. B. Du Bois’s thin veil, years before I studied Gloria Anzaldua’s concept of la frontera, years before I started realizing that I was neither fully American nor fully Mexican. At home, we were Mexican interpretations of Americans; in school, we were American interpretations of Mexicans (poor Juan, the Honduran American who could not fit in even more). White supremacy manifests itself in different, fluid ways in our current society. The worst of it comes from well-meaning people, the ones who think forcing children of color to act white and learn whiteness is helping them. That, however, is for another essay. For now, and then, the Japanese stuff will make do. In that ‘Adolescent Literature’ class, Juan and Reyes read mangas where human beings were allowed to be superhuman and extraordinary, winning games of life and death with pure skill, towering intellect, and some good old fashioned milagros, not to mention all the blood and gore and cleavage and panty shots and curse words and other porquerias that pubescent boys could get down with. Mangas like GetBackers, Hellsing, Berserk, FLCL, Battle Royale, Trigun, and whatever Shonen Jump was featuring that month (like Yu-gi-Oh), gave us epic stories and battles that didn’t necessarily have morals or teachable moments or other boring shit like that (okay, in retrospect, they do but the teachers wouldn’t touch the stuff and that was enough for us). Yeah, each graphic novel had ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ but they were anti-heroes and straight-up weirdos like: a defeated Count Dracula who now works for the British Empire to fight the last remnants of a Nazi battalion composed of werewolves, zombies, malandros, etc.; an alien raised as a human who becomes a doofus outlaw gunslinger with blonde hair and blue eyes in a postapocalyptic earth who makes sure to never kill anyone, including his enemies; and a meek, little nerd who becomes possessed by an Egyptian pharaoh when provoked. If all of these sound super badass, it’s because they were. But what was off about all of these characters was that they were supposed to be white. Think about it. Many anime and manga characters are more-or-less fair-skinned, blue-eyed, and blonde haired like Sailor Moon (aka Usagi Tsukino) and Sailor Venus, Vash the Stampede, Super Saiyan Goku, Yugi (sans the blue eyes), etc. In many animes, characters would be dubbed with stereotypically American voices like valley girls, southern debutants, or Brooklynites while the rice balls they ate became hamburgers. It’s sort of a weird translation of Japaneseness into American-ness and vice versa. Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh is an especially odd case in that

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Blue Mesa Review Issue 36  
Blue Mesa Review Issue 36