Puerto Rican. Mexican. Caucasian. That’s me.

Carissa Renee Chacon, Wayne State, Detroit, MI Born with the curliest, thickest dark brown hair (well now it’s auburn). Hazel eyes that have green and specks of gold. Skin white as snow. There’s always been a push and pull situation regarding my ethnicity. Most people don’t believe me when I say I speak Spanish fluently. […]

Our different skins hold one love.

Ty Martinez, Oak Lawn, IL. Black Mexican Korean Italian – sharing the best of each other with each other through similar yet very different cultural experiences. We amplify our togetherness by honoring our own mixed uniqueness.

Mexican hands are for farm labor.

Fred Rocha, Huntington Beach, CA Those are the words my parents were told by their counselors in Los Angeles high schools back in the 1940s. All they wanted to do was pursue their interest in Engineering. Instead they were told to go work in the fields. They took the anger they felt and made it […]

I feel like I’m being replaced.

Rusty Shackleford, Sacramento, CA. I’ve always been surrounded by diversity and never had any issues with it, or even noticed it. Growing up in a diverse area my best friends were Sikhs, Mexicans, Chinese, etc. As I became older and more aware of the world at large, I knew what diversity was, but it felt […]

Uniquely Made, The American Girl Today

Christina Rains, Riverside, CA. French, Indian, Mexican, Dutch, but American? It is quite clear that you cannot judge individuals by their color. Race in reality just identifies where your family has lived and what part of the world you are from. Throughout my life, I have been called “white girl” but in reality, this categorization […]

Grew Up Black. Now part Mexican.

Michelle Y. Bess, Chicago, IL. My mom is from California, my dad is from NYC. They raised my 4 siblings and me in Washington State. We grew up identifying as black. Recently, on a trip home, my mom learned that our family moved from Mexico to California on a covered wagon to begin a new […]

View perceived differences as valuable opportunity.

Lauren C, TX I wish for my half white, half Mexican children to grow up knowing that perceived differences should be an opportunity to learn about another person or people, and how much they may truly have in common. An opportunity to embrace someone or their culture and traditions, and maybe learn something new about […]

Mexican girls don’t need a Quinceañera

Yadhira, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. My friends and cousins tell me that I need to have a Quinceañera and I tell them I don’t want a big party with everyone dancing, Some of my family members say I should have my quinceanera at Mexico, but I don’t want one I […]

Neighborhood party we were not invited

Ninfa Pena-Purcell, College Station, TX. This picture of my parents captures a young Mexican American couple with aspirations to live the American dream in the 1950s only to find out that their family of six children would never be welcomed in their neighborhood. Years later this experience has stayed with me and made me resolve […]

I’m A Human, Not A Fruit

Gabrielle Guzman San Diego, CA Yes, I am Mexican. Yes, I know I apparently hold the same facial features as someone who would be considered Asian. No, I did not just cross the border. No, I do not speak Spanish, although I can understand it fluently and am taking classes to learn it. I am […]

When did borders start defining ‘race’?

Sarah Naomi Burnett, Norristown, PA. Being a ‘white’ girl raised on the border of Mexico the ‘race-card’ issue was raised daily. I always felt that if I was a color, and they were a nationality, those two identifiers didn’t quantify either of us equally. I had a culture at home that was Irish/Italian but where […]

Why are people like me scared?

Tom Lewis, Phoenix, AZ. Most “white” people in the USA are descended from people who were considered “other” and often not even white when these ancestors arrived. All of these groups changed and improved America. Germans, Irish, Italians, Poles, and Jews were as unwelcome as Mexicans, Dominicans, Africans and Muslims are now. I am white […]

White, but can’t have Mexican family?

Jade Weber, Holland, MI. When my grandparents come up to visit, and we go out people always ask if my grandfather is related to us. My whole family is white, but my grandfather is Mexican. My grandmother married him so, he is part of my family. Sometimes when people ask we can tell they are […]

Just call me a human being

Rocio Tapia, Forest Park, GA. Being from Mexico, I do not have any sense of race. I know what I am and do not identify with any of the categories listed when I am asked about my race or ethnicity, so I often leave it blank or choose “Other” if I am pressed to select […]

Yo soy Tejano, not “White Washed”

Christopher A Hernández, Corpus Christi, TX. Growing up on the Gulf Coast of Texas, you can always smell the sea; after all: it’s practically in your backyard. But there’s also something else that is constantly in the air that one may not be able to smell, but it’s just as pungent: Stereotypes. I come from […]

To belong everywhere and nowhere simultaneously

Amanda Baran, Arlington, VA. “No, I’m not Mexican. Nope, not Latino. I’m an American who’s half Syrian and half Indian. Well actually, my father’s former nationality was Syrian. His parents were refugees from Turkey who were expelled during the Armenian genocide. No, they weren’t Armenian, they were Christians who were forced out and into Syria […]

Every Hispanic Isn’t Always Hispanic Okay?

Mathew Rayne, Houston, TX. Once in awhile you go for a drive and see the people around you enjoying what there doing. Everyone is their own person! Sometimes your expected to do something that… you just rather not do? It’s my family line? In my blood? Just because I’m Hispanic doesn’t mean i wanted to […]

We identify as “Red Sox fans.”

Rachel Gonzales Pottstown, PA I’m the whitest woman who ever lived (except in the summer, when I’m the sunburniest woman who ever lived). He’s half-Mexican by way of California and half-German by way of WWII. Our adopted daughter is part African American, part Italian, part “Caucasian mix” (that’s what it ACTUALLY SAYS in her medical […]

Am I Mexican enough?

Brisa Gardiner, Canada I am very confused about my identity and what parts of my background are “mine to use”. I was born in Mexico and lived there for my toddler years but I am only 25% Latin, with the rest being Scottish and Swiss. My mother, who is half Guatemalan, grew up in Guatemala, […]

I’m Hispanic but I’m not Mexican

Ernesto C., Riverside, CA. Living in Southern California, I’ve noticed that many people don’t seem to know that there are other cultures besides Mexican. This happens because most people act like there are only Mexican people living in California when there are obviously so many more cultures.

I am NOT just a statistic

Jeannine Chavez, Huntington Park, CA. As a United States citizen who lives in Los Angeles as a gay Mexican female, it has limited my privileges. Being a different race, sex, and having a different sexuality than others have all caused me to be oppressed and quite often hear remarks about these three social identities that […]

My brown skin is beautiful okay?

Vanessa Guzman, Corona, CA. I am a Mexican women who has brown skin and all my life I was always self conscious about it because people would always point it out to me even those who were also Hispanic but they were lighter skinned. Even my family would. And I always took it as negative […]

I am mixed-race gay man

Paul Avery, Chicago, IL. I am part Mexican and Black, live in Chicago, going to City Colleges, wish I could leave earth for a planet where gay men made up 80% of world population.

Coconut. Brown outside and White inside.

Yvonne Rosenberg, Sioux Falls, SD. Born and raised in Fort Worth, Tx. Raised by Mexican American Grandparents who grew up in a generation where Spanish was not spoken outside the home because of white America. In raising me, they refused to speak Spanish in the home. I was referred as a “coconut” by those of […]

You Look Like Your Dad

Krystal Lopez, San Jose, CA. Being Mexican that’s all I tried to be growing up, but the truth is there is a black hole that I have made with being Native American. Growing up I never knew the man I would call my “Dad”. It was always just me and my Mexican & German mother. […]

Wishing I knew my own language.

Celestina Garcia, Bloomington, IN. Cripplingly aware of my Hispanic heritage, yet I feel that it doesn’t belong to me. I have my mother’s Anglo nose, and my fathers Mexican brows. I wade through a sea of whiteness wishing to connect yet when I find a Chicana we find that we aren’t on the same page… […]

Am I American o de alla

Juan Dominguez, Sacramento, CA. Mexican people say I am a shame to our people with gauges in my ears, the clothes I am wearing, the fact I do not have an accent when I speak. It’s like I was raised in America but by Mexicans that eat tortillas with every meal celebrate mothers day the […]

When people ask… What are you?

Naomi, Grand Rapids, MI. I am an American, of Mexican decent… No, I don’t speak Spanish, no I don’t know where my family is from in Mexico… My Grandparents and Great-Grandparents were born in Texas… I grew up in Gary, IN around mostly Black people… people don’t know what box to put me in. How […]

No, not the nanny… They’re MINE.

Valerie Grajeda Rountree, San Jose, CA. I grew up not speaking Spanish in a very Mexican neighborhood. My mother sent me to schools out of my area to prevent me getting involved with the local gang population. I grew up with other nationalities and met my future husband in high school. He is white. Our […]

I am Mexican when its convenient

John Heath Olguin, West Orange, NJ. Before you get all worked up about my 6 words. Let me explain. I watched a little boy of Mexican-American decent sing our national anthem and thought nothing of it. The next day I read about all the negative comments that came about of his performance (see link) and […]

Not All Mexicans Like Spicy Foods

Jacquelin Rojas, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. Whenever someone asks me if I Like spicy food like pepper, Takis, Hot Cheetos, or Hot Fires, I say I don’t like anything spicy, they look at me in a weird way and tell me your not Mexican because you don’t like any spicy […]

“I can marry whoever I want.”

R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer I never really have thought through what my grandma was saying. I was only just a little girl. I still am but after all these years, I have decoded her. She never thought she was being controlling. She never knew how meaningful all those sentences, […]

Beautiful kids, did you adopt them

Amy Hueitt, Gastonia, NC. I am a single mother of two children, one who is 8 with Autism, ADHD, and developmental delays. My daughter is almost 6 and typical. My son is black, white, and Mexican. He appears to be just Mexican. My daughter is black and white, she looks white. I am black and […]

Mexican Until Death Does Me Apart

Anaisa Sanchez, Riverside, CA. Ever since I was a little girl, my mom made sure I knew about all the Mexican Traditions within our culture. Of course growing up Mexican you always listen to everything your respectful elders comment on. However, as I’ve gotten older, I question everything that crosses my path. For example, there […]

About as Mexican as apple pie

Ian Castruita, Tempe, AZ. I have a Scottish first name, am sometimes mistaken for Italian or Arabic, and was raised by my Mexican immigrant Pop and Scotch/French-Canadian Mom (who are both fluent in Spanish but never taught me or my siblings how to speak it). My half-siblings on my biological Father’s side are more strongly […]

I am Mexican, Black, and American

My 6 word memoir is about my family because I am Mexican, but my cousins are black and Mexican. Most of my family is Mexican because my mom’s side is all Mexican and so is my dad’s side. But on my mom’s side I have black cousins. Some experiences I’ve had with racism is when […]

Obstacle course meets me every day

SLTR Seattle, WA I was raised in a white protestant homogenous family. From the time I was young, my curiosity led me to friends of other colors, races, personalities…anything new. In my 40’s I find myself with a Mexican husband, in a profession where I constantly learn and teach in a petri dish of races, […]

You’re Guamanian? You’re whiter than me!”

All my life, people have mistaken me for “races” that I am not: Mexican, Hawaiian, Filipino, Indian, Brazilian. I was always flattered because I thought this meant I looked exotic and “different,” I wanted to look different. I didn’t want to look “haole,” our stolen Hawaiian word for “white.” That’s when I uncovered the implicit […]

I know rap, not black people

Toby Johnston USA. I grew up in Los Angeles the 80’s, rabid fan of all things rap. I am white and for many of my friends (Mexican, black, white, lower/middle/upper class, whatever) rap was the music of rebellion. I got called ‘wigger’ by my white(r) friends and heard a lot of hate spewed. And yet […]

Adopted but am I still Mexican

Kasey Nichols, Clemmons, NC. I’ve known I’ve been adopted since I can remember and never questioned my ethnicity until I reached middle school age because we had to fill out cards with “check yes if Latino, African American, white or other.” Biologically I’m Mexican and Italian, but I was raised white with my dad being […]

Speak Spanish? You don’t look “Mexican.”

Kristiane Valenza, Vicksburg, MS. After moving to rural Mississippi from New York to teach Spanish at the high school level, I’m frequently met with confusion as to how I have an “ethnic” name and can teach Spanish, but I have fair skin and European features. When people ask me, “Are you from Vicksburg?” they really […]

Not American, not Mexican; something else.

Chuck Lehneis San Diego, CA Born here in San Diego, I find I fit in best. Yet, I don’t identify totally with the culture, by and large. Most of the surfers are white, most of the tourists are white, most of the people who are out and about on a Saturday night too. I see […]

Light skinned Irish-Mexican, Ain’t Confused.

Steven Jacob Alvarez, Orange, CA. I’m about 85% Mexican, and 15% Irish. Throughout my early life, I always considered myself purely Mexican. It wasn’t until after finding out my Great Grandma was from Ireland that i began to think differently. Now I understood why I was lighter skinned, and why I had to rebuff claims […]

I don’t meet YOUR Mexican expectations.

Veronica, Woodland, CA. Don’t look down on me because I don’t speak Spanish. I would love to learn but you shaming me makes me nervous to even try, should I make a mistake. You think I spit on “my language”? Well, you spit on me, your Mexican sister.

Love soccer; not because I’m Mexican.

Mina Perez Holland, MI A lot of people think that “soccer” is just for Mexicans. But in reality soccer is for anyone to play, it doesn’t matter what color of your skin you are. People shouldn’t get judged because of their skin, because anyone who’s any color can play soccer. People don’t understand the fact […]

The concept of race creates fear

Peter Smucz, USA. The concept of race is actually a manifestation of a very old and fundamental human process, that of ingroup and outgroup identification. It developed for a single purpose, to facilitate harm against the outgroup, in this case the race in question. But hatred doesn’t come out of nowhere, their needs to be […]

Thanksgiving: Called out my racist brother

Annabel Knight, Austin, TX. We were talking about SS Disability, and he said “No, it’s not hard at all to get on disability–all you have to do is be a fat Mexican.” So wrong, I just couldn’t be silent. My husband backed me up, most of the rest of the table squirmed uncomfortably. Why is […]

Half Japanese Half Irish Hapa? Whateva

Lois Ann Knezek, Sanger, TX. I was born and raised in Hawai’i to a Hawai’i born Japanese woman and an Irish Bostonian. Luckily, in Hawai’i, everyone is mixed so I didn’t feel any different. Then I married a haole from Texas and moved to a culture where people didn’t know what I was. I wasn’t […]

Cold Stares Warm Smiles Evens Out

Eric Flores, Lubbock, TX. I am a Mexican-American or simply put American. I was born and raised in a conservative town. I was too Mexican for the Whites and too White for the Mexicans. I was stuck in the middle. I always wanted to be white but now I am glad that I am Mexican. […]

Is it wrong to hate Mexicans?

Jessica, Seattle, WA. I moved to a nice, peacefully safe area. First there was just a few illegal Mexicans but it’s changed. We made it easy for them by giving them free money, food, schooling. I hate them. I don’t like the Mexican culture, mannerisms,beliefs,..everything….is it so wrong to prefer not to like them. Why […]

Your words don’t change who I am

Blake Coffey, Van Nuys, CA. In a world where being mixed is supposed to be looked at as beautiful, it’s not as easy when you are. People automatically assume that all mixed people are supposed to look mixed just like they assume all Mexicans are brown. I’m born to a mixed black/white father who looks […]

Mexican but dont Speak Spanish, thats ok

Monique Martinez, Riverside, CA. I am half Mexican and half Filipino but everyone always thinks I am full Mexican. When they find out I am mixed, half the time they don’t believe me. Then when they find out I don’t speak Spanish, I get comments like “how do you not know Spanish, you not a […]

I find my identity in Christ

Janine D Herrera, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. When beginning this exercise, I almost regressed back to my old thinking habits. I came up with the six-word phrase, ‘English language no Spanish still Mexican.’ However, I realized I was going back to what I was delivered from. I used to struggle with my identity. I am Mexican […]

Mexican Irish Girl: agnostic and dry

Joan Socorro Sullivan, Minneapolis, MN. I’m a quarter Mexican and over half Irish, I don’t attend church and I don’t drink. My hair is dark brown, my eyes are blue, I freckle like no one’s business; there’s the black Irish. My hips and bosom refuse to fit in anything smaller than a medium since I […]

Mexican really? You dont look mexican.

Priscilla Esparza, Riverside, CA. Living life as a Mexican American is best described by Abraham Quintanilla,”Being Mexican American is tough. Anglos jump all over you if you don’t speak English Perfectly, Mexicans jump all over you if you don’t speak Spanish perfectly.” “we got to prove to the Mexicans how Mexican we are and we […]

Being Hispanic is a good experience

Joshua Ruiz, DENVER, CO. No, I am not a gangster or some stereotypical Chicano, Mexican, or any Hispanic. I was born in New York City in a Jewish hospital to Nicaraguan parents who lived on 120th and Lexington in some studio room or something like that. Until 2 months later we moved to an open […]

My Looks Don’t Define My Bloodline

Sierra McGeoghegan, Weymouth, MA. Growing up and even now I am always denied my Mexican heritage by lots of people of all races. I am Irish + Mexican and a few other races. My family treated my Hispanic blood as a taboo, the Latinos I knew as a child rejected me once I shared I […]

We’re Created Equal; Act like it.

Wherever I may go, my sister and I are always questioned about our ethnicity, we apparently look Native or Brazilian or Indian. I don’t know if I should be offended or flattered. I hate when people think of all maids as Mexican or Latina, it’s just rude. No one should be put under a generalization […]

I’m not Mexican, I am me.

When I was younger, I always thought that race was real, I was surprised to find that it is not biologically real. Now that I know this I realized that some stereotypes I made about people are not true. I had always thought that if you looked one way then you were from a certain […]

Not All Mexicans Here Are Illegal

Some experiences I heard about racism is that Donald Trump said that he was going to build a wall between California and Mexico to avoid all Mexican people because they are all illegal. When he said that it made me feel uncomfortable because I am a Mexican boy and too me it makes me think […]

I AM MEXICAN, NOT AN IMMIGRANT.

R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer I have watched movies and shows where actors make fun of Mexicans. This really doesn’t bother me because I learned not to let it. Negative comments towards me used to bother me in the past where I would get to the point where I would […]

My mom and dad speak English!

R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer Both my parents grew up in Mexico. When people see me they think they have to translate in Spanish for me. It seems everyone always asked “Do you know English?” When I was only six, the stereotypes I was exposed to were “You look Mexican, […]

I am Black, Mexican, and White…

R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts 7th Grade Trailblazer I used to think that I was not any other type of race than Mexican because I grew up around Mexican food and my nana used to speak Spanish a lot. Then one day my dad was talking about race and he told me I […]

I will choose who I am.

R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer Why people often think that they can only be one thing for their entire life is one of my greatest curiosities. One of our greatest powers is the ability to change, to be something different. Choosing to have just one label for the rest of […]

The lies of my skin color.

Kitt Smith, USA. I have white skin, green eyes and brown hair. I appear every bit a homogeneous American white. I am not. I am a first generation American born to a Mexican illegal and a Irish immigrant. My family has no history here and no part in the oppression of black people. Both sides […]

“Beauty Inside Shines through the Outside”

Matthew Powers, Riverside, CA. “Growing up Irish and being raised by a single mom in the 50’s and 60’s in Omaha I saw racial tension and acts all around the city, but I can’t say I understood anything about it until my younger sister and I were transferred to a different school because mom couldn’t […]

Chicana Falsa I Am Not!

Amber Nicole Gutierrez, Hemet, CA. Everyone grew up with a different life-style, just because I look of Mexican decent does not mean I am the same as every Mexican stereotype. I am an American and have grew up in the middle of both worlds of “American” and “Mexican”. I understand Spanish and speak some. I […]

Just another Mexican from Los Angeles

Daniela Rubio, Downey, CA. Just because their are a lot of Hispanics/Latinos in southern California, specifically to Los Angeles, it doesn’t mean we are all the same. We are all not illegal immigrants, we don’t eat beans and rice everyday. It does not give anyone the right to judge us or lump us all together.

Yes, I was born in California

Robert De Dios, Sanger, CA. I am a high school student who use to get the ” oh you were born here in America?” Back when I was in middle school I often got this question simply because I was intelligent and these group of people never really heard about a Mexican or Latino being […]

My Race Works For My Race

Daniel A. Rodriguez, Philadelphia, PA. Hello, my name is Daniel A. Rodriguez and I am 15 years old. I am of Mexican and White descent. My parents came from Mexico shortly before I was born here, in the United States. My father is a construction worker and my mother is a house cleaner, which many […]

Western Michigan meets Korea near Chicago

Mark Cooper Lafayette, IN In elementary school, my best friend turned to me and said, “Mark, I don’t even think of you as asian anymore!” I knew he meant that our friendship had stepped beyond perceived race, but the phrasing could not be anymore alienating. I have family that trace back to the Mayflower, to […]

Not all Latinos are Mexicans

Irlena A. Rodriguez, Tucson, AZ. Mexican is not a race, and not all Latinos are Mexicans. We have different cultures and ethnicity across Latin America. I am Latina and I am Colombian, Not Mexican. there’s a big difference.

I’M NOT TAN, BUT I’M MEXICAN

Alexandra Degortari, Highland, CA. My whole life I have always be questioned or even tested to make sure I am not lying about being Mexican. Everyone would say “you’re not Mexican, you’re white!”, or “well if you’re Mexican then prove it! Say something in Spanish.” Had I been born with tan skin I would never […]

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.

Yes, I really am North African.

Hannah, St. Louis, MO. My mother is from Africa. She has dark skin. My father is Swedish. My mother used to get asked if she was my Mexican nanny. I was bullied as a kid because I look like no one in my family. No one understands I identify more as a minority but I […]

“But you have to play soccer”

Joanna Pedraza, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI. There are a lot of people who ask me if I play soccer, and I do. But when I say I don’t play soccer they usually say “But you’re Mexican you have to play soccer” and I don’t like that, just because i’m Mexican […]

I feel inadequate but I’m American

Erica Hernandez, Upland, CA. I was born and raised in the United States. I don’t know anything else. I speak Spanish and come from Mexican parents but I’m an American. So, why is it that when i’m in Orange County, California, for example, I feel inadequate? I get weird looks and immediately feel completely intimidated. […]

How’d your daughter get blue eyes?

Cynthia Moreno, San Jose, CA. Since my daughter’s birth I have been asked why she has blue eyes! I was constantly asked if I was her nanny until she was able to say “mommy”. The most common question, “But how did she get blue eyes?” Do I really need to explain my genetic background to […]