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People Automatically See Me As a Black woman until They Hear My Last Name....

My mother is African American and my father is Puerto Rican and African American. My family grew up in New York City. My mother is from the Bronx, NY, which is full of Puerto Ricans. My father is from Washington Heights, which some may call "Spanish Harlem," which is where I lived as a child. I grew up with Puerto Rican best friends and a family evenly mixed with both African American and Puerto Ricans. It was normal to me to be around Spanish speaking people. I ate the food, danced to the music, and was fully involved with the Puerto Rican culture. Even though I was so involved with the culture, I always identified myself as Black/African American. I eventually moved to Danbury, CT, which was a huge culture shock, because I was so used to just African Americans and Latinos/Hispanics.

The older I got, I grew further and further away from my Puerto Rican side. I started learning more about my African American culture and made more "black" friends. I currently live in Atlanta, GA, where the Black culture is everywhere. This is completely different, but I do love it. I feel like people automatically see me as a Black woman until they hear my last name. Now when I look in the mirror, I see the same thing and I love who I am.

If I were to give advice to someone mixed with both Hispanic and African American, I would say learn and acknowledge both cultures. Both Hispanic and African history are beautiful! Love yourself and create your own identity. Do not let other people (including family) have an opinion on how you identify yourself.

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©2017 by BLatina with the Good Hair Inc.