Not hispanic enough, not white enough

Alfida Cruse,
St. Louis, MO.

Growing up half Dominican and half Missouri German (white) constantly left me feeling not white enough for the white kids and not Dominican enough for the Hispanic kids. I have been called out and subsequently shunned when my mother picked me up from school in Arlington, VA (“you’re WHITE?!”) and gotten the side-eye when my exotic-looking father picked me up in Lexington. Though I am very attached to both of my cultures, I felt like a hulking American freak among my dainty Dominican cousins in Santo Domingo and like an unwelcome weirdo seeking out platano in Joplin, Missouri. Though as an adult I am quite secure and happy in my identity, my sisters and my mixed or transplanted friends make me feel the most comfortable- people who share the experience of relating to more than one culture or location, whether that’s moving from the South to the Midwest or to the states from Colombia. Treating everyone I meet with respect and not glaring at any unfamiliar lunch/clothing/habits they have is my way of evening out the scales. We should all try that.


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