Not from here, nor from there.

Maria Sefchick,
Seattle, WA

My father is American, my mother Mexican. I was born in the US, went to live in Mexico when I was 8 and returned to the US when I was 39. My kids were born in Mexico, first language Spanish. First time I heard Hispanic as an ethnic label I was in the US. In Mexico I was called a “gringa”, here I am “Hispanic”. “Ni de aqui, ni de alla” is a common phrase in Spanish which means I do not feel I belong anywhere. I feel more comfortable when I am with people of “color” although in Mexico I was considered white. Being privileged in Mexico it was a culture shock to be discriminated here and find that I am part of the underrepresented and underserved minority. I have faced discrimination, mostly unintentional intolerance by “nice people” reacting to unconscious bias. For example I have been told by my white male colleagues “you know you only got your job because you are Hispanic” or what should I call you people? Hispanic or Latino? or my favorite at University where 80% of the staff is made up of white males: “we are just worried you people will take our jobs”. I love many of the opportunities my children and I have enjoyed in the USA but I am shocked at number of poor people and the belief that we all have the same opportunities in this country. I work in a community college striving to increase access for all and awareness that there is such a thing as white privilege, racism is alive and well and that equity and justice must be worked for.


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