Being of a mixed race in this age and time is not uncommon. It should not be
something that makes you feel singled out. It took me almost thirteen years to figure
out my place within this society, and accept that my Black and Panamanian roots are
nothing to be ashamed of. A society that looks at Afro-Latinx people as if they do not
exist, and that we must choose a strict category, a unbreakable mold in which we all
can cram into. It can be accepted that a white person can be African, yet a black person
cannot be latino. There’s a double standard, that seems to be forgotten unless it
applies to the person in which is trying to put an Afro-Latinx person down.
As a young child, not realizing these hypocrisies within the world made me feel alone.
That it was me having to face the world and defend myself, not thinking that my
primas, tías, and tía abuelas have gone through the same issues. No matter how small
the world may try and make you feel, do not forget that there are people who have and
are going through what you are going through.
I remember being at my lowest point,thus far, in seventh grade, in which I was bullied because I did not fit the long curly hair, light brown eyes, and short stereotypes that had been put in place by media that kicked me out of the chances of being Latina in this society. The question of “Why don’t you speak Spanish for us?” would create a lump in my throat, I did not have an answer for them, resulting in me going into the bathroom and crying silently until the class period was over.
This response would result in snickers and laughs coming from those who questioned
me; followed by emphasis on the “Hoe” in Josefina. I did and still feel ashamed for not
being fluent in Spanish, but I am not going to let that stop me from embracing who I
am. These experiences must not be seen as things that must be locked away.
These experiences must not be things that make one feel ashamed. The experiences must be used to better your character, and make you stand taller than ever before. I have been battling with this inner issue for almost all my life, and it is hard to ignore. Yet the more I indulge in things that I enjoy, the more that I focus on the happiness of myself rather than what others believe they need to see, the better I am as a person. Focusing on the inner peace within yourself, whether this is brought out through meditation, or just accepting yourself as who you are rather than what others believe you to be.
If you try and force yourself into the strict category, or the unbreakable mold, you will
never be at peace with yourself. You will always second guess yourself, wondering if
you are enough. You must first please yourself before you try and please your
2 Comments Add yours
Wow. I read the whole thing and never realized you were going through so much at a young age. When we came to visit during holidays you always were the most quiet. And you still are. However I love how you kept a beautiful smile through it all. Its like poet says. “WE” wear the mask. Love you lil cuz.
I definitely enjoyed and can relate to your experience. As a person who is African American mixed with Afro Panamanian and Jamaican Costa Rican ancestries, I also had struggled with feeling was I black or Latina enough due to my skin complexion and not having a Spanish last name. But recognized that i had to first begin loving myself and how my Afro Latina and Afro American roots had helped me to be proud of where I descend from. Keep up the great work Josefina and we Afro Latinas united siempre.