2 hours ago
“I don’t think [my parents] knew how to prepare me [for life as a mixed race person.] They both come from worlds so different from my own –my dad being the same age as most of my friends’ grandparents and mami being Colombian, where racism and particularly colourism is rife, but different from what it’s like in England. I don’t think they knew what to expect or even thought about it being something they should consider.
Mami was more concerned with me having a Latinx identity than anything else. She didn’t want me to be too English, I think she saw that as me rejecting her, or being embarrassed of her. I grew into my Afro-Latinx identity as I grew into womanhood. I was blessed in terms of growing up bilingual – So I’ve always had that tangible connection to my heritage. I write poetry in English and Spanish. I mostly swear in Spanish, the words have more feeling.
I don’t know that my parents prepared me for life as a mixed race person, but they definitely imbued me with a sense of pride by not being obsessed with my mami’s assimilation. And made sure that I knew that I was richer for not being like everybody else. We mostly ate Colombian food at home and would visit there every year or two. My last two visits I went on my own. I see it as my pilgrimage.
I think the best way to prepare a mixed race kid for their life is just celebrating their culture, but I speak from a privileged, white passing position. My parents didn't have to have a conversation with me about police bias and racism, for instance. I know my mother and brother’s experience of life is very different from my own and I witnessed my mami face a lot of racism, discrimination and micro-aggressions in all aspects of her life.
There was never a conversation about how neither culture would claim me, but both would fetishize and exoticize me. So I guess I learnt on my own that the only person I have to be enough of anything for is myself.”
Hear more from this wonder of a woman @danielawithonel about being mixed-race on @halu_halo.