What It's Like To Be A Pale Mexican

Everyone has seen the movie "Mean Girls." Everyone remembers that part where Cady (Lindsay Lohan) tells The Plastics that she’s from Africa and oh-so-clever Karen goes, “If you’re from Africa, then why are you white?”

Well, the same question is asked of me (and my cousins). Every. Single. Day.

"If you're Mexican, then why are you white?"

I am part Hispanic. My mother is Mexican and Spaniard, and marrying my German/Irish father really diluted my skin tone. Yes, I am a pale Mexican. I have blue eyes, freckles, and some really pale skin that the sun does not like whatsoever in the summer.

When people find out that I am Hispanic, either by me speaking Spanish on the phone to my grandparents, or my accent for Mexican food (the REAL way to say them), or if I say, “Yes, I’m Hispanic too!,” everyone goes bananas.

The typical response is a big laugh and a “No you’re not!,” to which I reply, “Yes, I really am!” They look at me questioningly, almost waiting to see if I’m just pulling this huge joke on them. I’m not. They say, “But you’re so white!,” or, “You’re lying!,” or, “No way. There is no way, Bella. That’s offensive to people who actually are Hispanic.”

Well, for the millionth time, yes, I, Isabella Doran Bauer, am Hispanic. I was raised in a Spanish-speaking, taco/tamale/posole/enchilada-eating family. We have family still in Mexico and the grandparents speak great Spanglish, with their thick accents to boot. Our family is the one tequila shot at Christmas family. We can dance well and love Mariachi music. We’ve been to Mexico countless times on vacations. We are that weird family that goes out to restaurants, looking white and “normal,” but when the waiter comes to take our orders, and when Abuelita can’t read the menu, the Spanish comes out and unleashes confusion and chaos in its wake. Multiple waiters have raised eyebrows or just stared in shock, apparently not expecting the bilingual table.

I’ve been told so many times that I couldn’t possibly be Hispanic because I’m too pale and I have blue eyes and those “cute little white people” freckles.

I am finally setting the record straight.


Hispanics can come in all types of coloring.

WHOA, did I just say that? Yes. I did. I’m so exhausted with people acting like I’m joking for stating that I am part Mexican. I don’t apologize for being the color I am, that’s just how my DNA made me. But I do apologize that so many of you can’t see that all races have different types of coloring, and skin tones, and appearances.

I think it’s time to just see that there are light and dark-skinned people in every ethnicity. Not all white people have the exact same skin tone, so why do so many people think that Hispanics are the same? Or any ethnicity for that matter?

SO, please if you see me and discover that I am -- GASP -- Hispanic, please don’t be shocked.

At the end of this shocking discovery, I hope you realize that Hispanics can be blonde (like my cousin Lauren), blue eyed, brown eyed, brunette, green eyed (like my cousin Alyssa), red haired, freckled (like me), tan, pale (like my Abuelita, aunts, uncle and all of us really), or dark-skinned (like my Abuelito who is the only dark-skinned family member). We come in all body types, shapes, heights, and colors, which is pretty cool if you ask me. (I also really pray and hope you don’t just associate “Hispanic” with only being Mexican, because Hispanics can be from Cuba, the Philippines, Ecuador, Chile, etc. Don’t be that person.)

This is my life as a pale Mexican, but I'm proud of my heritage.

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