Ooo! What a provocative title!

But seriously, I think I know how it feels to be black in America now. (Ooo! Another provocative statement!)

OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration as the Chilean people never enslaved me, but I really do feel sometimes like my presence makes people alternatively uncomfortable or resentful.

All right, I know what you’re thinking. “Marissa, people all around the world feel uncomfortable around you. That’s just who you are. It has nothing to do with what you look like. They resent you because you’re an asshole.”

And under usual circumstances — that is, in cultures where I know the language and didn’t roll around town all Helen-Keller-like — I’d agree with you. But it’s different in Chile. For instance, I’ll be sitting in a restaurant for 15 minutes being ignored while Chileans come in, sit down and our brought out menus, drinks and food.

Oops! Looks like I was caught with a DWW — Dining While White. (Cue laugh-track.)

And speaking of DWWs, the other day I was standing in line at Castaño, the 7-11 of the empanada world, when the lady behind the counter decided to skip taking my order for the Chilean’s behind me.

“Uh, hola?” I interrupted.

Then the lady and the customer both looked at me like I was interrupting something. And guess what? I sure was! I was interrupting their racism! (Oh snap!)

And don’t think I don’t notice the sideways looks on the metro or the sighs of discontent as I walk down the street. Gringas have the ability to see and hear, too, you know! (You go, gringa!)

Of course, these cases aren’t the rule; they’re the exception. Most people have been nothing but nice to me. (Some have been too nice, if you know what I mean…) But I just can’t help but think there’s at least a small but sizable chunk of the Chilean population that resents me simply for being sickly pale. Well, I can’t help it! That’s just the way I was born!

But I have a dream. I have a dream that one day on the snow-capped tops of the Andes, the sons of tan Chileans and the sons of pallid gringos will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood and eat a completo.

Yep, I saved the most provocative perversion of the seriousness of racism for last. You’re welcome.

But I’m not done yet. To make this even more offensive, I’m going to rate this a three on the Nettled Natives scale. Ironically, despite this very ratings system, I’m not a fan of racism!