Growing up mixed, I often had to play tug-o-war with my two identities. I wasn’t Latino enough because I wasn’t fluent in Spanish and I didn’t look the part. I wasn’t Black enough because I grew up in a Puerto Rican home.
I once was shut down in a conversation of Black issues -- because the group had claimed that I wasn’t REALLY Black. I was so-so, or mixed, so I wasn’t really facing the sort of issues that they were trudging through. Little did they know, my hispanic accent and my ability to dance salsa, didn’t grant me any privilege or a get-out-of-the-racist-bullshit card.
One Face In Latin America
Often, the media will show one face to represent a country or culture as the standard. When we think of Latino, our minds scans one face: brown eyes, dark hair, and tanned skin. There is no room for deep-dust brown and kinky-coily hair Latinos. We are hidden, secret things. We’re everywhere, yet we’re cornered into the room of “not-quite” Latino.
I Am All Of The Two
I am 100% Puerto Rican
I am 100% Black
I am 100% Awesome
I sort of had to redefine who I am. Instead of feeling like I had to pick, or just come to terms that I was just a "not-quite" human with no solid culture or traditions I can really connect to, I learned to take ownership over my identity.