Jeanette Ruiz, Atlanta, GA. Growing up I learned to hate my afro hair. I was the only one in my family with course African hair texture. Although there were others in our Hispanic neighborhood with course hair and dark skin, my mother with straight silky hair made it seem like a problem. She would take […]
Kaller, Portland, OR. Native American grandfather, Quaker grandmother, their child was my mother. Black stepfather, biracial brother, adopted Latina child, all Chinese grade school, segregation, race riots, the battle for Civil Rights…who are “my people?”
Desiree Carlson, Elmhurst, IL. Both my mother and I grew up in white culture even though we are both from ‘Hispanic’ descent. But because we do not look white, we weren’t accepted into that culture even though we were raised in it. The same vice versa. We were born Latina, but we weren’t raised in […]
Maria Victoria Salazar, Mobile, AL. Hi! My heritage is a little more complicated than others’, especially here in the Deep South. I have roots in Mexico and Costa Rica (which of course are from deeper roots in Spain), Italy, and a dash of Ireland from my great-grandmother. However, according to the culture my family and […]
Natalia Lopez, Los Angeles, CA. Growing up in East LA and being told I was one of the “good children”, I played into the identity that I was and will always be an exception to my peoples inferiority. Striving to be more like the white girls I saw on television made me feel like I […]
Karen Davis, Cupertino, CA. Recently, I was told by my closest friends that I am NOT latina I am white. I can not understand this because they know I speak fluent Spanish. My father was a migrant worker. My mother was from Mexico and her English was okay however it was obvious she preferred spanish. […]
Eve Lopez, Arcata, CA. When I tell people my name, they don’t hear it. They hear “Eva,” because of the “a” that is often at the end of Latina first names. This only happens with white people. And even after I’ve met someone multiple times, sometimes they will still call me “Eva” when they see […]
Jennifer Leyla Rincones, Detroit, MI. A Latina with a vision to help advocate for all brown and black youth who endure the injustices of the criminal justice system.
Rachel Ferreira Richmond, VA Latina
Mariel Joana Alvarado, Portland, OR.
Anonymous Kennewick, WA Being Latina, with a white name, but in knowledge of my Latino surname. I try to be supportive of my friends with their biracial and transracial adoptions, but it is so hard. I have suffered and struggled so much with my identity. People have such good intentions, but the children suffer. Then, […]
Patrilie Hernandez, Washington, DC. When you look at me, what race do you see? Do you see my dark skinned grandparents, whose African relatives escaped from the Dutch slave trade? Do you see my last name, which reflects my “Latina” heritage, or do you see a brunette “white” girl, after hearing the way I speak […]
Jay Marie Fernandez, Bridgeport, CT. With white skin, being of Hispanic origin, in a household that did not speak Spanish, in a predominantly Spanish speaking neighborhood, this sentiment taught me being Hispanic or Latina was something to be hidden. The kids hated me because I thought I was better than them, proudly pri-claiming “I’m white”…now […]
Andrea Canchola, San Antonio, TX. As a young, Latina, woman I feel that I have to be better than everyone just to be equal. I’m tiny, short and I will boss you around. Just because I’m a young Latina woman doesn’t mean that I’m not as good as you. I’m probably better because I had […]
Norma Torres Addis, Seattle, WA. The first time I heard this question, I thought it was funny. After hearing it a few times, it made me wonder. If my heritage is Mexican and I don’t know the first thing about making tortillas does that make me less of a Latina? So many times organizations I […]
Juleyka, Oxford, CT. This phrase is often said to me by African Americans and other (usually darker) people from the Caribbean who insist that though I am Dominican/Latina, I am Black in the United States because of its racial history and current xenophobic climate. It’s nullifying in so many respects, and usually leads me to […]
Silvia. My Salvadorian mother came to the United States and wanted us to assimilate. We spoke English in the house and most of my mom’s friends were Americans. I’m sorry for this….I lost culture.
Yasmin Agudelo, The Colony, TX. I love this project. I’ve seen so many thoughts and statements that reflected my own experiences growing up as a child of immigrants.
Araceli Ruiz, Jurupa Valley, CA.
Zulema Peralta-Saltos, North Hampton, MA. People believe that being Latina gives you a higher advantage at getting into college, graduate programs, internships, and jobs. I didn’t get into college to fit a quota, I got in because I am as smart as everybody else.
Delilah Mulgannon, New York, NY. All my life, I’ve been told that I’m not “really” Latina because I don’t speak Spanish fluently (which is ridiculous). Who are you to tell me who I am and who I’m not? I grew up in a mixed household (Ecuadorian mother and Polish father) where Spanish was not spoken […]
Rachel James, Syracuse, NY. Growing up in a Latina household I learned the English that my mother spoke as a Panamanian immigrant. Therefore, I learned to say certain words while rolling my r’s or with an accent and I don’t notice it because that’s how I learned to pronounce them. But because I look more […]
Nisha Balaram, Oakland, CA. My dad would joke around, saying that my mom couldn’t help but fall in love with him when she first saw him. My mom was usually busy in the kitchen at the time, and would smile and roll her eyes in response to his comment; when the pungent scent of lentils […]
Shireen Korkzan, Carmel, IN.
Janet Jimenez Washington, DC Puertorriqueño(a) is the “proper” term used to address a native islander from Puerto Rico. Do not confuse with Newyoricans, or anyone else born outside the island to Puertorriqueño parents. A real Puertorriqueño(a) knows the words to “La Borinqueña”, speaks Spanish (FLUENTLY), has lived on the island, and cries to the words […]
Cecilia Joy Contreras Solano Riverside, CA
Leslie Carver San Diego, CA I am a professor & was profoundly affected when I heard a student talk about having been referred to as a “token Latina”. I realized that although I care a great deal about diversity on my campus, I had been guilty of thinking of students that way – as the […]
Anne Hickling Phoenix, AZ I don’t know how to answer this when she asks. The answer is both “Yes” and “No.” Her Cuban grandparents self-identify as white, but here in the SW borderlands, she likely is seen by many as one of those “brown” people, you know, the ones who crossed the border legally or […]
Victoria Oliva Medford, MA As a light-skinned Latina born to a Guatemalan immigrant father and a mother of French-Canadian descent, I find myself searching for where I fit in – constantly being asked by others to prove that I am Latina, and trying to come to terms with the discomfort I feel surrounding my white […]
Cleo Bedford, NY Yes, I am white and Colombian.
Holly Thompson Grand Rapids, MI I am half Puerto-Rican and half Scottish, but definitely all people see is “white.” I am constantly struggling with pride of my Latina heritage, guilt of my inherent white privilege, and guilt of ignoring half of who I am. I hate documents that ask for your race. Do I put […]
Susan Cissoko Provo, UT In order to be as professional as I can be in the work place I feel I have to put my white voice on. Not many people in Utah are use to loud, vivacious people. So when at work I have to act differently. My ethnicity is Latina. I am what […]
Carmen C. Brenes Jette, Ph.D. Lexington, MA “What! You don’t look Puerto Rican!” was my other choice. I wanted to convey the power of stereotypes – how burdensome they can be and how tiring it is when you have to explain yourself, educate others constantly. Going beyond people’s expectations can be so freeing (I am […]
Tonia Torrence Salt Lake City, UT My six words are based on experience as a mediator for the juvenile Victim/Offender mediation program for the Salt Lake Courts. Schoolgirl fight, brown punished, not white or Middle-school fight, brown punished, not white Two middle-school girls were in the mediation with their mothers. The blond white girl had […]
Meghan Morales Seattle, WA Even though I’m mixed race (Latina with Puerto Rican & Dominican heritage & White), my lighter toned skin provides me the privilege to ‘pass’ most days. I’m often mistaken for someone whose sole race is White from those who do not know me. Because of this, it was especially shocking to […]
Sonia Kang Northridge, CA Are you their mom? As a biracial mom (Black/Latina) married to a Korean man with children who look more Asian than anything else, we are often looked at with curiosity. They look at them then at me. Is she the nanny? Who can she be? Whether at their Korean language immersion […]
Gabriela Rivero Oakland, CA What’s it like being a Latina living the United States? It’s not always the most easiest thing. You have people coming up to you asking you if you can speak English. “Of course I can” I think to myself. What kind country do we will in where people are being judged […]
Mara Andino Los Angeles, CA My parents are both Puerto Rican. My mom has red hair and freckles constantly mistaken for Northern European, my dad is Black and Tiano Indian. Growing up in NYC in the 60’s and 70’s not many people looked like ma and spoke Spanish too. It was a struggle too dark […]
Liliana Loera Madison, WI Being an undocumented Latina for about 17 years many “friends”, teachers and other people have told me why and I even trying hard if no colleges would accept me because I’m not from here or even get a job. But now I’m a senior; going to graduate this Friday and this […]
Tess Escoto, Citrus Heights, CA. My roots are in Texas and Mexico. While some may look at me and say that I appear to be Latina, often they aren’t sure. My father’s last name is of Italian origin and my grandmother and grandfather (paternal) both had blue eyes and black curly hair. My mother’s family […]
Josie Villanueva Washington, DC “… pick our melons on my Daddy’s farm.” she said to me, with wide eyes, on one of the first days at Hoosier Girls State. I was one of the very few Latinas in the program, a delegate chosen for my academic excellence and leadership at my high school. I think […]
Michelle Martinez Tempe, AZ As a mixed child of divorced parents, a White mom and Mexican dad, I overheard a lot of racist talk in my mother’s family. Even though I never heard her say anything, she never disagreed, either. She sat quietly through it, not promoting it, yet not speaking against it. I often […]
Jennifer Lopez Salt Lake City, UT Don’t match your assumptions, that is. It certainly doesn’t help to have the same name as a famous Latina, either. I’m a pale freckled gal from the south, and for a while, south Texas, which was interesting. My dad is from Cuba and my mom is from East Texas. […]
Monica Alejo Tinley Park, IL As a Latina I have to work twice as hard as my colleagues to gain recognition.
Sally Oakland, CA I am white but I grew up in Alabama where my tan skin and my dark hair and eyes made everyone question my ethnicity and ask my blonde haired blue eyed mother if I was adopted. I’ve been asked “What are you?” all of my life and now that I’m married to […]
Diama Gabriel Miami, FL I’m in between waters. I’m not African American for the black Americans, and I’m not a Latina for the Latino community. I’m a proud black Puertorrican woman who moved to USA 13 years ago. Upon my arrival to the States, I lived in a mainly African American community in Miami but […]
Brandi Artez Boston, MA I’ve had this debate a lot over the years, where usually white people, will tell me that I’m wrong to consider myself bi-racial, because I’m Black and Latina. It’s the craziest thing. Someone actually said to me that since White is the dominant race in the US, unless I’m half white, […]
Briana Ciccarino Baltimore, MD “Are you Latina/Hispanic?” this is the question I often get when meeting new people. I appreciate the compliment and wish I was Latina, but I’m white. How can a white girl look Latina? Not sure. Like so many others, I am a mix of many heritages: I am Italian, Polish, German, […]
Elizabeth Norris Taylor Fernandina Beach, FL I have lived my entire life with people coming up to me and asking, “what are you?” For a while in college, I had some very clever comebacks… now days I simply shrug and say, “American, and you?” I have had people come up to me and speak Spanish […]
Kristy Bryan Indianapolis, IN Race-based scholarships were meant to help increase the numbers of minorities in universities, but I felt like a fraud when I was awarded, as I am too pale and have no spice to my name, as a Latina should. I don’t even have a cool accent. And my family wasn’t in […]
Marie-Elena Reyes Portland, OR I have been speechless when told this (often by white women). The first time, I was angry and hurt to hear my life and racialized experience in America wiped away by someone trying to make me feel accepted. The most recent time this happened I knew what I wanted to say […]
Karen Olivares Denver, CO The stereotype of Latina girls getting pregnant at 15 is still going on and I don’t plan on getting pregnant that early because I have goals.
Aracely Coronado Philadelphia, PA As a Latina born in San Francisco, CA, educated with wealthy white kids, I learned to navigate their world, it was easy; learn their ways, be like them to get ahead. That’s what I was taught. My family provided the real culture, the language, the authentic Latina-ness in my blood. But […]
Valentina Colorado Springs, CO When people first see me they immediately associate me with being Mexican. I am Latina, but I am from Colombia. Everyone seems to instantly categorize me with the stereotypes created for Mexicans. To me it is an insult because people are judging me by the way I look, instead of asking […]
Heather Levien Berkeley, CA
Lesley Salas Franklin, WI I’m not ‘half” anything, I’m all me. Latina, white girl, neither, both…..get over it!
Jennifer Guadarrama Morris, MN
Ryan Wilcox Urbandale, IA My parents moved my sister and I out of Milwaukee in the early 1970’s to avoid the repercussions of desegregation. We were very young at the time so we did not understand the reason for the move. Later on my siblings and I attended an inner city high school, Washington Park […]
Anavlis, Syracuse, NY. I am a brown woman from Latin-America, meaning I am a black Latina. I also live in the projects, meaning I am also about as a poor as they come (from a private univesity point of view). I was born with a surprising 4 strikes against me, a quadruple minority who is […]