Here in sunny California, there are families of Mexican descent who’ve been here longer than my white ancestors. There are also people who arrive here everyday from Mexico, often without much in the way of resources.
I have a friend who’s Mexican-American by descent but her family’s been in the US for several generations. She has brown skin. Her English is as native as mine. She works in IT and can get more performance out of cheap-ass computers than anyone I’ve known. But on a recent trip to the eye doctor, he leaned in as if speaking to someone hard of hearing and asked her in a tone of Great White Concern: “Do you have insurance to cover this prescription?”
Because we white people have heard Mexican-Americans are frequently uninsured or something (sorry, one of the kids yelled over part of the soundbyte, but we’re sure it was that you’re all downtrodden and stuff). We worry about you, you know. Our way of showing that we care is to single you out for special
assumptions attention and make ourselves feel good about a total non-deed let you know we’re here for you. Isn’t that nice of us?
Sarcasm aside, I’ve never had a doctor ask me if I was insured. I have had them ask which insurance company I’m with. It’s a slight shift in meaning, but oh so telling.