Growing up with parents from two different races, I felt like Hannah Montana; I had the best of both worlds. I could make homemade tortillas with my abuela in the morning and chow down on some serious BBQ for dinner at a family get together. I never thought anything of being both Hispanic and White until I got a little bit older, and now that I am, there are some things I would like the world to know.
1. I am Hispanic. Not Mexican.
No, I was not born in Mexico. No, my mother was not born in Mexico. Yes, I am still Hispanic. And yes, there is a difference.
2. Celebrating Hispanic holidays doesn't make me a traitor; it makes me American.
One of my favorite things about my family and my culture is the fact that I get to be both Hispanic and American. I can get down on both Cinco de Mayo and the Fourth of July. It's a beautiful thing to be able to celebrate both of your cultures without having to leave your hometown. I love my family and our culture because it's a wonderful reminder that America was founded on the basis of all kinds of different cultures, and I think it's one of our most important values. Without immigrants like my abuela, America wouldn't be as culturally diverse, and quite frankly, American.
3. I don't have to speak Spanish to be a "certified Hispanic."
I know that as a Hispanic person it would probably help me out to be able to speak the language of my culture. However, my lack of knowledge in the language doesn't keep me from being Hispanic. I can understand it just fine, and I know enough to get by, but when my surroundings require more and more English and less and less Spanish, it's a little bit harder to hold onto. I wish I had learned it when I was younger, but I refuse to let the barrier keep me from embracing my culture.
4. Your stereotypes are extremely outdated and truly tacky.
I can't count the times I've been asked if my dad picked my mom up in Mexico on a spring break trip or if I have a sombrero tucked away in the trunk of my car for emergencies. As a multi-cultural person, I am statistically the best person to pick on. You get two categories of racial stereotypes at the expense of one. Neat... I love a little bit of harmless banter as much as the next person, but seriously guys? You should know by now that not all Hispanics wear sombreros and not all White people are entitled.
5. I am just as much of a human being as you are.
I love the same things you do. I like to watch football, I like eating pizza on Friday nights, and I love Starbucks. But I am not just "a basic White girl" when I walk in with a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and I'm not "so freaking Mexican" when I play Selena on the radio. I'm a human being who was raised with a unique set of values and ideals that I will forever hold close to my heart. My experiences in this life are just that: my own. So forgive me if my Hispanic self enjoys taking "basic" pictures to post on Instagram or if the All-American Girl in me wants to go Cumbia dancing on a Saturday night.
I love the way I was raised because it brought in so many things that people of one race don't get to experience on a normal day. It's so amazing being two races because I get double the family traditions, double the sentimental holidays, and double the food. I love being my "halfie" self.