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On Growing up Mexican Italian American

Read my latest essay for the the Parent Voice, Multicultural Families. Multiracial Lives

I became aware of the world around me during the Reagan era in a middle-class, conservative, predominantly white suburb of Los Angeles…

Growing up, I sometimes needed to explain to curious classmates and adults why my physical appearance did not match up with my Anglo-Saxon last name. Questions that they asked included: Do you have a stepdad? Were you adopted? Where are your parents from? If asked respectfully, I was happy to explain that my father was an artist and lived in Italy and that my mother’s parents came from Mexico, but my honest explanation typically generated expressions of miscomprehension, doubt, and an occasional, that’s cool. In this time and place, the custom or norm was to identify to others and oneself in monoracial, monoethnic or national terms.
Hence, for want of others in this context willing to model or validate mixed and multiracial identities, the notion that I could publically claim a mixed identity remained cloudy in my adolescent mind. I tended to vacillate in silence between the established monoracial, monoethnic, and national terms that were applicable to me…

Read the rest of my essay here…

 

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