Bi-Racial: I’m not “Mexican” enough?

Santa Monica, CA

I grew up in Texas in a small town where the population is roughly half Mexican and half white (German, Polish, Irish, etc.). I myself am half Mexican and half Irish. Funny enough, a lot of my friends are also bi-racial. When I moved away from Texas, I was shocked by how many people thought I was white and never even considered that I was Mexican. I am curvy, dark brown thick hair, dark eyes but very light skinned.

So when I would correct people, they would usually reply with “You don’t act Latino.. You act white.” This puzzled me because I never knew you could act a certain race. Aren’t we all different? I am not the stereotype of a Latina girl who gets pregnant early, has an accent, has a lot of sass (although I have to admit, I am a bit sassy), and wears overly tacky clothing. But funny.. I know a lot of Latino girls who aren’t like that easier. I find it completely rude and ignorant because what people are REALLY saying is that you sound educated. It’s the same for someone is told they aren’t “black” enough. To say that only white people can sound articulate is unfair.

Another thing I always get is that I am not Mexican enough because I don’t speak Spanish very well. Yes, I am ashamed to say that my Spanish has never been good. My mother never spoke to me in Spanish and none of my family speaks Spanish to each other on a regular basis… It has only been now in my 20s that I have made more of an effort to learn Spanish so that I can practice with my grandmother. The funny thing people don’t seem to know is that just because you are Mexican, doesn’t mean that you’re family just crossed the border a generation ago. My family was actually living in what is now known as Texas for generations (4 generations that I can count including my Native American grandmother). So sadly, as generations go on, some things are lost. My hope is that I can learn Spanish and hopefully pass it down to my children so it’s not completely forgotten. But also important is letting people know that just because you may not fit a stereotype, doesn’t mean you aren’t who you are. I can never change the fact that I am Mexican and Irish and I never would. I act how I act because I am who I am. Would you ever chastise a person who was say for example German-American but doesn’t speak German? No, most people wouldn’t. Their excuse is that their family came to America generations ago.. so why is it not the same for minorities? America is a melting pot.. and it’s wonderful to see people of all combinations come together!

I want to know how other people see this “acting your race” idea? Agree, disagree.. what has your experience been?

Keep the conversation going - comment and discuss with your thoughts

  • cupcakes

    I have never understood why the Mexican women are so Mean They are so negative and Hateful

    • LR

      Are you saying Mexican women are jerks? I know Mexican men are bitches, negative, and hateful.

    • Jojo

      :( not cool.

    • Melinda Kaye

      U are an embarrassment.

  • Mary

    Being half white and half Mexican does not make you bi-racial, it makes you white. Mexicans are predominantly 1/2 Native American and 1/2 European.

    1/2 Mexican 1/2 Native American = Native American
    1/2 Mexican 1/2 European = White

    • Jojo

      I’m half Mexican and half white and I am biracial . I have both cultures to uphold and both sets of standard to live up to. It’s not up to anyone else to tell people who they think we “technically” are. It’s offensive.
      You wouldn’t go up to some one who was German and Asian and say ” because your half German your not considered German-asian. We are going to just say your German ” . It would be wrong not to honor the other race of culture as well.

    • Drea

      That’s an over simplification. Culturally they are not the same people.

  • Catherine Cisneros Bender

    I grew up in a small town in California. My cousin did family tree history and it turns out eight generations ago my grandfather traveled up through California with Junipero Seirra as a “hide soldier”. My parents met at a military fort called Fort Ord. My dad is from West Virginia and Scotch Irish. I do look like a lighter shade of my mother with dark hair and eyes. During the 1960s Mexicans we’re treated as second hand citizens. As a result my father did not allow my mother to teach us Spanish. This has always been a great sadness to me. But I stand strong in both my races. I make my own tortillas from scratch and I am very good Mexican cook. I follow many Mexican customs and have shared them with my children. It hurts when now I am the still treated second class from my Mexican brothers and sisters because I don’t speak Spanish. I hope this will change someday. Thank you so much for your blog! Us bi-racials need to share our stories whenever we can!
    Catherine Cisneros Bender

  • leo

    The problem is that people are ignorant and don’t understand the history of Hispanic people. We are not just Aztec. We are also Latino European. (SPAIN ITALY FRANCE AND EVEN GERMAN OR BRITISH) examples include Frida Khalo ect. Also funny thing they had the nerve to call you out for being Irish most mexicans have euro ancestry. Also in the Mexican American war Protestant Anglo America discriminated Irish Italian and Spanish in the US Army. Therfore this caused them while stationed in what is now TX to defect and join the Mexican side as Catholic St. Patrick’s batallion. That’s where we get saint Patrick’s day. Dumb Carlos menial can never understand this.

  • leo

    Typo correction on my last line in last comment menial. I meant to put Carlos Mencia

  • Beth

    Mexico is not a human subspecies, nor is it a race. Mexicans can be white, castizo (predominantly white), mestizo, or native American. People forget that it was colonized and then had large waves of immigrants from Europe as did other countries in the Americas. That being said, just because someone has one parent who is Mexican (mostly Spanish decent, some native american, some french) and another who is Anglo-American doesn’t mean their bi-racial. My mother is Mexican and my father is Dutch, and no I’m not “bi-racial”, I’m just white!

  • Melinda Kaye

    According to the census you are biracial — you are latino and european — as am I. P.S. who say you are just white are moronic === white is a color, not a nationality or race. toodle loo.


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