“Garcia”? Are you Mexican or Colombian?

facebook_1451316554729Alexandra Garcia,
Long Island, NY.

My father emigrated from Spain in 1974, and we have been raised to be proud of our Spanish heritage and culture. In school, whenever I told people I was Spanish, they assumed I meant Mexican or Colombian or Puerto Rican. I’ve always been annoyed by that, because no one knows what it means to be Spanish and growing up in America, it’s been hard to keep our family traditions alive. It’s especially harder when people have been defining you externally with the wrong cultures: think of friends giving me straw sombreros, because “She’s Mexican, right?”. On the other hand, being a proponent of Hispanic culture with an olive-toned European complexion allowed me to see what some white Americans really think of “foreigners”; having white skin allows me to interlope and hear the things people say when they’re in the company of their peers. As for me, I’ve never felt truly at home with white America or brown America– We’re just Spanish.


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