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I’m Angelyce. Mixed race and Bi-sexual.

Angelyce Serrano, Coram, NY. My whole life people has seen me as “that black girl”. That is not the case. I am Puerto Rican, Black-American, Taino, and Spaniard. Yet, for whatever reason my whole cultural background is ignored and I am just labeled as black. Going to Catholic School from 4years old to 18years old […]

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That’s weird, your kids are blonde.

Brian Parra, Oxnard, CA. Without fail, the first thing a person remarks on, upon seeing my kids, is that they are blonde and I am not. I’ve gotten used to odd looks and the consistent recitation of a poor understanding of genetics, “Mom must have some strong genes!” Some have literally questioned whether they are […]

Too white to be half Latin

Laura Leon, Riverside, CA. My father was full Puerto Rican and very proud of it. He always taught us to be proud of our culture, especially me because I am “whiter” than my sisters. Over the years I’ve been accused of lying about my culture due to my fair skin, a concept I never understood. […]

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But where are you really from?

Christopher Lee-Rodriguez, Boston, MA. We don’t live in a post-racial society. We live in a post-race society. We live in a country where in a short amount of time, there will no longer be a majority race. And race is continuing to be reshaped and redefined. I am half Chinese and half Puerto Rican. I […]

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For Me, Racism Started at Home

Sarah S., Washington, DC. My Puerto Rican grandmother used to call me “muchacha fea,” while calling my dark-haired, dark-eyed, darker-skinned, curly-haired sisters, “muchacha linda.” That woman treated me like Cinderella. When we were kids, one of my sisters took my grandmother’s cues, and decided to torment me by saying that I was adopted (I wasn’t), […]

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I’m tan, but I’m not Mexican

Gabriella, Delaware, OH. Just because my skin is naturally olive, everyone thinks im foreign, I have gotten many different ethnicity such as, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Moroccan, Brazilian, and Latino, and Hispanic. But I’m white.

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I’m not Iranian, I’m Puerto Rican

Darilis, Portland, OR. I moved from Puerto Rico to Michigan and people never knew what I was. Some thought I was Black, many thought I was mixed Black/White, and others thought I was Samoan. I recall one day I was at a store and a gentleman asked me if I was from Iran. I smiled […]

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I am Both, Not Just One.

Laura N. Weston, Baltimore, MD. About 80% of the time people assume (mostly men) I am Puerto Rican even though I am half Caucasian and half African American. I stress to everyone who thinks it is important enough to ask me what I am that I am Mixed or Biracial and I state with what. […]

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Is Puerto Rican a separate race?

Diana Gonzalez, Franklin Square, NY. I am an adopted person. I’ve been searching for my past all my life. I’m 60 now. One of my adopted parents was Austrian and one was Italian. I was raised to think of myself as Italian. In the early 1970’s I searched and found out I was born in […]

We are all from planet Earth.

Maggie Trias, Boulder, CO. I am half Puerto Rican, but I look white, and lost contact with my Puerto Rican family a long time ago. Instead of feeling empty like I’m missing half of myself, I have learned to cherish my connections with people from all over the globe, and have let go of my […]

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Finally I learned to accept myself

Katherine Porter, San Leandro, CA. I grew up disowned by my racial cultures…too different from White, too different from Chinese. Talked about by cousins, wondered about by strangers, eroticized by college boys, and discounted by the census. Always had to check “other” on the surveys. Felt like I had to be the best example of […]

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Hated wearing green on St.PatrickDay mom.

Daniel Luis Soto New York, NY I consider myself Puerto Rican. Grandparents from PR My great grandfather on moms side is from Ireland. Going further back on both sides my heritage spans the globe from Spain to England to various British occupied islands. Im proud of my diversity, but I look Puerto Rican speak spanish […]

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More than “just a Black girl”

Jolie Anne Chevalier, San Jose, CA. This is me at eight years old back in 1979, the daughter of an African-American/Seminole Indian mother, and a Irish-French-American father. Growing up, I was faced with contradictions in a world of opposites; although I was multiracial my mother told me I was Black, and to identify as such […]

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Not who you think I am

Ana Canino-Fluit, Penfield, NY. I am Puerto Rican, I lived in Puerto Rico till I left for college at 17. Till I was 16 I had never given much thought to racial identity. My senior year in high school I was selected to be a exchange student to our sister school in southwestern New York […]

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Never belonging. Puerto Rican or American?

Lorna Hagen, Brooklyn, NY. I am Puerto Rico born New Yorker that moved to the US when I was 12. Somewhere in the plane ride over I lost something – I have no shared childhood experiences with my North American friends (lullabies, games, etc.) and no shared adolescent experiences with my Puerto Rican friends. It […]

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Puerto Rico’s Identity Crisis Defines Me.

Isabel Nicole Otero Hernandez, Silver Spring, MD. I was born in Puerto Rico to a Cuban Mother and a Puerto Rican Father. The summer I turned 10 my family moved to Jacksonville, FL, and only a year later moved again to a small town to the north: Ringgold, Georgia. When people ask me where I […]

“But you don’t act Puerto Rican”

Jaylene O., Harrisburg, PA. I’m mixed. But I am predominantly Puerto Rican. I explained this once and I got the response “But you don’t act Puerto Rican.” ……..What? Since when is race defined by actions. I shouldn’t have to act any certain way to be considered what I am. I speak Spanish and Puerto Rican […]

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“Are you Asian? Are you Caucasian?”

Santana O., Philadelphia, PA. I’m asked by new people commonly, “Wow, you look so Asian! Are you Asian?” I’m also asked, “You’re really pale, are you Caucasian? Are you sure you’re black? WOW! You’re Puerto Rican & black. That explains it.”

Colorblindness means you can’t see me.

Ashley Diaz Mejias, Richmond, VA. I write this as 34 year seminarian and old mom of two girls; my husband is haitian and puerto rican, and I am cuban and white. I am part of a church that, over the past year, has walked through race dialogues in an effort to begin bearing witness to […]

Identity is fluid; context is everything.

Zoë McLaughlin, USA. Waiting in line for the Chinatown bus in New York City, a man approached me and began speaking Spanish. I squinted at him and briefly pondered my response. This was not the first time someone has expected me to speak Spanish. As soon as I began making forays out of my predominantly […]

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Russian? You’re improving the race Amiga!

Mayra Velez Buffalo, NY Picture of us, a Belarussian and Puerto Rican, soon-to-be-married, couple. When we started dating, every time I said he is belarussian to my friends and family, I heard the “oh improving the race amiga”. I think is our colonial mind, in which status in society was determined not by wealth but […]

Saw an ugly world too early

Diana Ryan Millbury, MA My last name notwithstanding, I am 100% Puerto Rican through and through. That is an ethnicity, not a race but too many people don’t make that distinction. My features are typical in the culture, full lips, broad nose, dark curly hair, olive skin that tans deeply and easily. It’s a blessing […]

My kids are “beige”, not white…

Linda Levittown, NY My three children are a mix of English/Irish and Puerto Rican and when you line them up in a row, you can see one mirrors me, the second mirors my husband and our third is a pretty even split down the middle and can “fit” either side of our mixed family. A […]

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Little brown girl, white man’s world

Beatriz Mallory Newfoundland, PA My father was one of the first black men to work at IBM in the late 50’s; my mother a Puerto Rican who migrated to NY to go to college. My father embedded this mantra in my head from a very age. I was a “little brown girl” in a world […]

“If you’re Puerto Rican, I’m white!”

Casey Creech Pinehurst, NC My mother was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico and my grandmother was raised in San Juan. All of my cousins have dark hair and eyes and tan so easily, but I don’t. I am snow white with green eyes and freckles but thick, thick spanish curls. When I bring up my […]

I am Puertorican, my DNA Moroccan.

Alexis Quiles Danbury, CT I migrated from Puerto Rico to the USA in 1998 to improve my career opportunities. As Puertoricans are a mixed race I always wanted to know exactly what was in my DNA. Recently, I submitted a swab for DNA testing and was happy and surprised to find out that my main […]

The Butter Pican- Pana Rican :)

Danixa Carr Brooklyn, NY I am Panamanian and Puerto Rican. My mom is Afro-Panamanian (her roots are mixed as well) and my dad is mestizo. Growing up, I’ve always identified with my Panamanian side and considered myself to be Latina. However, I had one life altering experience in Panama. I traveled to Panama in 2010 […]

Which race box do I check?

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 […]

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 […]

That Uniform Don’t Cover Your Ass

Sid Makeba Raleigh, NC I was so proud in the fall of 1960 to join and wear the uniform of The United States Air Force. What a rude awaking I got in San Antonio Texas when Puerto Rican buddy and I tried to go to the movies. The cashier lady told us we had to […]

Yes, that is his daughter, too.

Dania Abreu-Torres San Antonio, TX My husband and I are Puerto Ricans. I am more “white” than he is -He usually was mistaken as a muslim-. We have a blonde, blue eyed girl. In Florida, he use to take her to the supermarket. He was followed by a lady and asked if the baby was […]

Mixed Latina two times “different”, lonely.

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 […]

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 […]

I’m not from the country ‘White’.

Matthew Palavido Beaumont, CA My family’s background is Polish and Swedish and the town I grew up in in New Jersey was predominantly “white”. Like a lot of Americans, I grew up rather sheltered and culturally insensitive/ignorant. While on a camping trip with my family and friends from my wife’s side of the family, we […]

Not Everyone Whose Hispanic Speaks Spanish

Isaiah Santiago Philadelphia, PA My names Isaiah Santiago and I am Puerto Rican. Being Puerto Rican and being different is always something that I’ve dealt with in my life. I’ve always been called things like gringo(white boy) or just a fake Puerto Rican. All of this comes back to me not speaking Spanish. Everyone always […]

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But you don’t look Puerto Rican

Natalia de Cuba Romero. Massapequa Park, NY. IN my heart and in my head I have always thought of myself as Puerto Rican, Born in Queens, NY to a Puerto Rican mom and a dad from Aruba and a bilingual home, lived in Puerto Rico for a number of years…but I’ve always looked like a […]

But you don’t look Puerto Rican…

Paul David Mena Wayland, MA As if a Puerto Rican can’t be fair-skinned, middle-class and college-educated! Granted, I was raised by parents who looked for a life as far away from their Depression-era upbringing in Brooklyn as possible. They found it further east in suburban Long Island, where I grew up with zero consciousness of […]

Hi, so what ethnicity are you?

Audrey Niemchick Ann Arbor, MI I actually laughed when the girl that I was about to play a tennis match against asked me that during our warm up. Casual conversation. The first thing she said to me. And let’s not forget the other 306 people who have asked me and tried to guess. “You look […]

Watching my children negotiate racial identity

Kim Y Edmonds Baltimore, MD The issue of race has evolved but we in the US are still struggling and clearly uncomfortable. Those probing questions that my children get (What are you? Which parent is black? Are you Puerto Rican? How did you get blue eyes? That blond hair could not have come your Mom, […]

Only experienced discrimination from other Latinos.

Alicia Velez Stewart Providence, RI I also could have gone with “Wow, you don’t look Puerto Rican,” or “You are too “white” for us.” My father is 100% Puerto Rican, my mother was an all American mutt (as she would say – Lithuanian, Irish and English). Even so, my last name was still Velez and […]

I’m a mutt and I’m proud!

Lily Nadal Asheville, NC I’m one quarter Irish, one quarter Greek, one quarter Puerto Rican, and one quarter Native American. And even though I have encountered many forms of racism from people, I keep my head up because I love who I am and I love the heritage I have. I know I’m beautiful and […]

Black, White, Puerto Rican. I am all.

Paul Hobson Douglasville, GA My paternal great-grandfather was white who loved my great grandmother who was a slave. They lived together as one because they could not be married under VA law. He gave us our name and cared for all his children. My grandfather could not tell me our family history beyond his father. […]

Goes both ways, fed by ignorance.

Bill Ramos Jensen Beach, FL I am Puerto Rican and can tell you that racism is not just a black and white problem. We need to see this issue through a more all-encompassing view. I am, as my mother described me, a “butterscotch” Puerto Rican. Not black as my grandfather nor as alabaster as my […]