You’re not like a real Mexican.

Aaron_Duran_PicAaron Duran,
Portland, OR.

I’m of mixed heritage, being Mexican and Italian. However, I more closely identify with my Mexican heritage due to closeness of family and family history. Still, growing up in a small, farm and ranching based town, I found myself often downplaying my Mexican side. Even going so far, as a kid, to brag of potential mafia connections in order to impress the other kids. (This lasted from late grade school through high school). Although I am decades past that now, I still shake my head when I think about how proud I was when people thought I might be related to horrible and terrible killers and criminals than the hard-working side of my family that struggled to provide for their family. It’s that very concept that I began to hear (and use) my six word phrase, “You’re not like a real Mexican.” What started as a source of protection became shame, and later anger. And while I’ve come to terms with it, there are still times, when in casual company I’ll hear that very phrase. I still fallback on humor as deflection, but the anger is still there. Anger that wants to shout back, “How am I supposed to act?”

Aaron Duran


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