What does Puerto Rican look like?

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 [...]

“Am I white?” –My Latina daughter

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 [...]

You don’t look Latina, prove it.

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 [...]

Educated Puerto Rican can’t even dance!

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 [...]

Middle-school fight, brown punished, not white

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 [...]

I’m not pretending to be Latina

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 [...]

Too mixed too choose just one!

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 [...]

Black Latina not AfricanAmerican, neither Latina

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 [...]

Not what you think I am.

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, [...]

I’m not Hispanic, thanks for asking.

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 [...]

Adopted. Raised as white. No identity.

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, [...]

Interracial marriage isn’t a bad thing.

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 [...]