Who are you?
A big part of my who I am is my racial identity. All of my life, I have dealt with unwarranted phrases directed towards me like “you look nothing like your family” and “are you sure you’re not adopted?”. It has been an occurrence during all 18 years of my life. It is a difficult situation to handle, and on many occasions the people that ask are not sensitive to feelings. They have no idea how much their words can impact someone. When people first see me, most immediately think that I am Mexican. I have also gotten things like Middle-Eastern, Native American, and Mulatto. Biologically, I am 50% Mexican, 25% Italian, and 25% Irish. However, I look completely of Mexican descent. I live in a completely white home, in a heavily Caucasian town. It is hard for me to accept this Mexican part of me because I never met my biological father who gave me the part of my identity that I struggle so much with. I was never a part of the culture which I most resemble. My (half) brother is 15 years old with blond hair and blue eyes. He is the total opposite of what I look like. Of course, my family does not see me as different than them, but I know I am. Race is such a prevalent issue, especially today. The whole situation is sensitive because, even though I forget sometimes, people see me as Mexican, a person of color. When I feel that people are acting oddly towards me or even rude, there is always that feeling in the back of my mind that I am being treated that way because of my race and how I look. It is a feeling that my family has never had to deal with. They do not have that bad feeling that they are being treated differently from other people because of their race. They never have to think of things like that, especially living in the tiny town of Morris where it is a rare occasion to see a person of color. Because I have moved so many times, I have had to explain my story so many times. I have had to explain why I look nothing like my brother or why I have a “white name.” It is hard but it is something that I have learned to do. Although this is something that has been difficult for me, I would not take it back for anything. I believe my story has shaped me into the person I am today. It has helped me become more accepting and tolerant of everyone. For sure, I have faced adversity but I would not take it back for a single thing.