Look at me.
Different people might have different conjectures as to “what I look like” and frankly, I’m sick of it.
When did being black become a bad thing?
Of course, intellectually speaking, I already know the answer to that question and it goes back eons.
But ethnically speaking, particularly within the Hispanic community, being black still seems to be a taboo thing.
If I were to approach any black person from a Spanish speaking country and asked them if they were black, 9 time out of 10 the answer will be, “No, I’m not black, I’m Latino.“
I’ve come to encounter, on numerous accounts throughout my life, where people ask me the wrong question and then are surprised when I give an accurate answer.
But, in order to break this down a bit more, I suppose it’s important to give a bit of a vocabulary lesson.
Means: The specification of.
background, allegiance, or association.
These things are important to point out because commonly people misconstrue one for the other. Whether this is done in the attempt to be politically correct, out of pure ignorance, or even hatred, I cannot say. What I can say, however, is that it’s time this stops.
I am asked, “Hey, where you from?” and the person that asks the question expects me to reply to their question with my ethnicity in the form on my nationality.
Person: Hey, where you from?
Expected Reply: I’m Puerto Rican.
Well, truth be told, that isn’t accurate, is it?
Yet, when I respond in an accurate way, I’m met with a blank stare, or a “Why are you being a smart ass?”
Person: Hey, where are you from?
Me: Originally, or now?
Me: Originally, New York. Now, New Jersey.
Person: No, that’s not what I mean. I mean, like, “Where are you really from? Your nationality?”
Me: That IS where I’m really from! And my nationality is American.
(Eventually the person gives up.) Person: Why are you being a smart ass?
Me: I’m not. I’m being accurate.
The problem lies in the fact that (A) as far back as I can remember, being of a certain ethnic background is bad. And (B) today’s society has everything all mixed up.
Thing 1: I AM PROUD OF MY CULTURE! I am, by no means whatsoever, a hater of my own culture or people.
Thing 2: I highly respect and regard my parents nation and nationality because it defines me in many ways.
Thing 3: I have come to terms with my ethnicity and I am proud of what I am.
Sheesh! I feel like I can already hear the masses dubbing me a self-hater. 😮
The truth of the matter is that that’s far from the truth. The complete opposite is the case. I love myself and everything that encompasses my being. Therefore, I’m proud of every facet of that truth.
Now, back to what I was saying …
Therein lies the problem.
Far too often I get comments like “You don’t LOOK this.” or “You don’t LOOK that.” But that’s not the point. The point is that I am who and what I am. Looks have little to do with facts.
Now, what am I, you ask.
Here is goes …
Just because I SPEAK Spanish, does not make me Spanish because I do not hail from Spain. Neither am I Hispanic, because that’s just another word for Spanish.
I COULD, however, be considered Latin-American, because of my “Latin” roots. Of course, this is a very vague term, as all it is really saying is that my parents are originally from a Spanish speaking nation.
Spanish is merely a derivative, and/or evolved form of Latin. Hence, the term “Latin/Latino/Latina”.
Now, that that’s clear, lets move on.
The accuracy of me is as follows:
Descendant of: Puerto Rican Parents (Which also happens to be my culture and THEIR nationality.)
My father is black, as is his entire family line. It goes back for years and years. As a matter of fact, his ancestors went from Africa to Brazil, to Puerto Rico and didn’t interracially marry until his generation.
My mother is both Native Taino—that is to say, native “Indian” (←God, I hate that term!) from the Isle of Borinken—and European. Her mother was from native descent, and her father was from European descent. If I were to go even further; my mother’s father’s parents were from France (nationally speaking).
What does this make me?
Well, ETHNICALLY SPEAKING, it makes me 50% black, 25% Native, and 25% European.
Yet, why can’t the answer be, “I AM HUMAN, just like you”?