Passing Assumptions

All throughout my childhood, I was mistaken for Hispanic/Latinx:

“Oh, I thought you were Puerto Rican!”

“Are you sure you're not Dominican?”

“What kind of Spanish are you?”

“You must be mixed with Spanish somewhere down the line.”

“But you speak Spanish, don’t you?” 

I heard the above phrases on a weekly basis. Being mixed race, my coloring was right in the middle- I was a true mix of my Mother and Father. I was brown/tan naturally. I also grew up in The Bronx which has a really large Hispanic/Latinx population. So, the assumption was not unwarranted. I’m sure everyone I came in contact with as a child assumed I was some type of Hispanic/Latinx. 

I got used to the assumptions and they never once made me mad. But I was always very happy to correct those assumptions and assert, with pride, my actual mix. I could have simply replied “yes” to the questions and passed as Hispanic/Latinx all those years, but I made an active decision not to. That decision was simply tied to pride. My parents instilled pride in both sides in me, so I felt it a moral obligation to correct those that assumed something I was not. I wanted them to know what I really was and that I was proud of my mix. Especially since it’s not a mix you see every day! 

“I’m actually Irish and Trinidadian” I would reply, time and time again. “Oh wow! How unique- I would have never guessed that!”. You could have just asked...

1 comment

  • Julie Baldwin

    I love this! My granddaughter is half Trinidadian & hopefully she can handle these type of comments as well as you did.

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