There are some things about being mixed that I absolutely love and some things that aren’t great or horrible. Here are some of them.
There is a sense that “you don’t belong”. I often question what it means to be Black enough or Mexican enough. Am I enough of either? People I know that have told me “but you’re not really black” or “you’re only half”. I know I am half of both but I am a whole person, and in day to day conversation, I would like to be treated as such. I come from two ethnic backgrounds and cultures, so I am not Black or Mexican, but both.
People are always trying to figure out what you are. I’ve had so many guesses. When I was younger, people assumed I was Armenian, I have no idea where that came from. Mostly, I’ve had people think I was Dominican or Ethiopian. Pacific Islander, and Hawaiian come up a lot as well. Personally I think it’s okay to ask me what I am, people are curious and I am more than happy to feed your curiosity. But there are people that don’t believe me.
People don’t believe I am who I say I am. I’m not entirely sure why this one happens, it just does. In the past, people haven’t believed that I am Mexican because I don’t speak Spanish and I don’t know too much about my culture. Sometimes i’m just “too black to be Mexican”, or “too Mexican to be black”, there is no happy medium.
There’s a pressure to conform to one, or at least people feel you should. It’s like how taking tests used to be, thankfully they changed it, but they asked us to check off your race/ethnicity, I had a choice between Black, Hispanic/Latinx, or other. I usually always chose other as I refuse to deny either part of my ethnicity. In real life encounters, people also try to place me into a single category by asking, if they know i’m mixed, which ethnic background I identify more with. That is an extremely hard question to answer and I’m not sure people that ask this understand the weight of it. If I am asked to choose, you are essentially trying to get me to deny one. I cannot deny a piece of who I am and I think it’s hard for some people to understand why.
Has anyone else experienced extreme fetishization? I doubt this is something that has only happened to me or something that just mixed people have experienced, but guys definitely feel okay with fetishizing the fact that I’m Black and Mexican. “You must be extra freaky”. Usually people think I’m just black and will say something like “I love having sex with black girls” and when I tell them I’m also Mexican, that’s “even better”.
It’s somewhat hard to find people that know how you feel about being multi-ethnic. I am fortunate enough to have a couple friends that Identify as more than one ethnicity, but most of my friends and family aren’t. The lack of understanding is something that I’ve just learned to deal with. Not having too many people like me in my life has allowed me to confront the way I treat issues surrounding my ethnic background in a way that works for me, and the way for me to do that is to embrace it!