My [redacted] Journey

A teacher's search for inner peace.

What Are You?

15 Comments


January 4, 2014

Dear Readers,

I’m off and running on my new assignment for my Zero to Hero Challenge:  30 Days to a Better Blog.

Today’s assignment: write the post that was on your mind when you decided to start a blog.

Although I began writing my blog in earnest one year ago, I really have been writing it in  my head for some time now.  I have always thought I was somewhat of a decent writer and for as long as I can remember, I have wanted to submit one of my essays to Time or Newsweek and cross my fingers.

I even have my subject matter down.  It has to do with a question that I often get from people who do not really know me and are trying to figure out my ethnicity.  “What are you?”  Well, here is my response.

I was born in the 60s. During this time in the great state of Arizona (I say that with all sincerity), the government classified me “White.”  “White” is listed on my birth certificate, under “Father of Child” box 8, “Color or Race” and again under “Mother of Child” box 14, “Color or Race”.   Now, there is nothing wrong with being white. I like whites. Heck, some of my best friends are white (LOL). However, I happen to be Mexican. More specifically, Mexican-American. For those of you with sensitivities to labels, you can just stop reading right now, its gonna get ugly.

Hispanic, Latina, Chicana, you can call me whatever you’d like. I call myself Mexican-American. I am a hyphen. And I am quite proud of that fact.

“Miss, were you born in Mexico?”
“No.”
“Then you’re a Chicana.”
“Do you speak Spanish?”
“No.”
“Then you’re not a Chicana.”
“You look too white to be Mexican.”
“Really?!”
And my personal favorite, “But, you don’t act Mexican.”
No response necessary.

Statements like these used to bother me.  Not anymore, because people are idiots.  They don’t intend on being idiots, they just are (jk, but only a little bit).  How is someone else going to tell me what I am or am not?

If there is one thing I have learned about labels, it’s that I GET TO LABEL MYSELF.  I can be ‘Handle with care,’ or ‘No dogs allowed,’ if I want to.  Or how about ‘Men only,’ or ‘Smoking prohibited,’ or even ‘Under 5 feet not allowed on this ride.’  I can even be ‘Do not add bleach.’  Well, you get the picture.

So, I’m a hyphen, I’m Mexican-American.  It no longer bothers me when people ask me, “What are you?”  I just wish I were witty enough to come up with a pithy reply.  Any suggestions, dear Readers?  Peace, ~v.

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15 thoughts on “What Are You?

  1. Bravo Vick! I hate the coined term Latina that refers to Latin American Que No? I’m not Mexican in fact my maternal great grandparents born in Spain migrated to Mexico City obtained visas and came through Douglas, Arizona. My paternal grandparents are 5th and 6th generation from Mexico. I term myself American of Mexican descent when actually I’m half white technically. I love to tan so I’m dark complected thus a cause for my skin cancer. Now, the response “Mexicans can’t get cancer. Who am I? A proud American proud of my ethnicity and race and know exactly what it is and who I am.

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  2. You could always say
    “I’m a psychopath with homicidal tendencies on the subject of race or ethnicity.”

    That will get people to leave you alone.

    Or you could always go with the more subtle
    “I’m a person that happens to be paler than the average Hispanic woman.”

    I’m a smart ass though, don’t listen to me. I give horrible advice.

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  3. I like, I am a child of the most High God. Followed by and you?

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  4. I like the smart-assy answer once in awhile.

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  5. I like your courage! My trouble is I became something my mother can’t forgive me for… lol I swear I didn’t do it just to agravate her! But what do you say to this? http://aishasoasis.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/ep-4-joyride-to-egypt-my-passive-agressive-mothersreport/

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