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I Never Really Felt More "Puerto Rican" or More "African American."


Puerto Rican / African American

I've always identified myself as a person of mixed race.

I never really felt more "Puerto Rican" or more "African American." I did however, as a child feel like OTHER people wanted me to choose a "side." I always got asked

"Well what do you identify as? Puerto Rican or black?"' As if I couldn't possibly see myself as both.

Some struggles I faced growing up were: again constantly feeling forced to choose what I felt " more" of and also harmless (I'm sure they felt they were) jokes from my Puerto Rican side making fun of me because I didn't speak Spanish fluently. Additionally, I didn't start cooking many Spanish dishes until I was a young adult so I also got made fun of for that! I'm sure they thought it was harmless, but after hearing the same jokes and "What kinda Puerto Rican are you?!" for so many years it really started to annoy me. I felt singled out or set apart from my family at times.

One of the main comments I can remember is introducing an ex to my family and his first comment being "Oh wow, you ARE actually a real Puerto Rican!"

As if he didn't believe me! Or as if there was a certain criteria I had to meet before I could be considered Puerto Rican. I felt judged solely on how I looked! Now that I've grown and matured as a person, I've come to understand that I can't control other people's ignorance and lack of understanding.

The only thing that I can do is continue to be exactly who I am and be proud of it! Take it or leave it. I would advise anyone struggling with identifying to do the same!

- Tiara

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