“Well, when I was nine years old Star Trek came on. I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.”
- Whoopi Goldberg
We haven't come nearly far enough. We still have an impossibly long ways to go. I'm sorry that a fundamental tenet of your social life is having to roll your eyes and remind people that it's not cool to slag minorities for being minorities. I agree: it sucks that you have to fight the constant battle of reminding the less enlightened that you are fully 100% human, as is everyone else whose ethnographic makeup deviates from straight white protestant male.
But I take it as a real sign of progress that you feel comfortable picking those fights. I think we're making great leaps forward in creating a world where you have the confidence to raise these issues. I think the fact that you're comfortable sharing your discomfort and calling people on their bullshit illustrates that the world is a more egalitarian place for you than it was for your parents.
I grew up with Polack jokes. They were just a thing. They were perfectly okay. They were allowed to let fly because "Polack" was this incomprehensible, alien abstraction we'd never meet. The adults knew that "Polack" meant "spic" but us kids didn't. That the white folx were making ethnic jokes secretly about a culture that had been around 200 years longer than the United States didn't matter a whit; they were Masters of the Universe and if they wanted to tell a joke based on a nondenominational negative stereotype that the dog whistle listeners knew was about their coworkers, they could do it. It was the '80s.
When I got to college the racism was less subtle. There was a girl in my dorm. Think she was Catalan Spanish, not any sort of Latin American. Some other girls in the dorm decided to buy a bunch of cans of beans and leave them by her door. Someone had to explain the insult to me - I'd never heard of a "beaner" because fuckin' A, growing up in New Mexico everyone ate beans and what sort of idiotic racist insult plays on the stereotype of what someone eats? But these girls had apparently never encountered a minority before and as a sign of solidarity, they decided to (wrongly) hit her with an insult to demonstrate how white she wasn't. It was the '90s. If that shit happened today it'd be national news.
I realize it's a rough kind of progress, and I'm not trying to tell you not to be offended, mad, tired and exhausted from it. But I will point out that 20 years ago, you would have felt better sublimating your frustration than expressing it. At this rate, 20 years from now it'll be a better environment for your kids, just like your environment is a little bit better than your parents.