I embrace being bi-racial. Even further, I LOVE being bi-cultured. Not only are my parents from two different racial backgrounds, they also come from two completely different cultures. My dad is from the United States while my mom is from Ecuador… The other side of the world, a whole other continent. Though it caused a lot of clashes with them & their relationship, it’s benefited me. My brothers & I were raised in California, but dad’s family is mostly in Georgia and mom’s family mostly in Ecuador.
What that meant was, from as far back as I can remember I’ve been traveling. Traveling, I believe, is vital. It contributes to growth in so many ways: it exposes you to different people and ways of living, and it makes you aware of just how big the world really is and how much more there is to see and explore. Too many people live in a bubble and believe that the ways of where they are, are the ways of the world. To think that showcases the ignorance of the individual, it’s not necessarily their fault, but that is ignorance. They lack knowledge and awareness of the rest of the world, usually making them narrow-minded and tunnel-visioned. Traveling will undoubtedly broaden your mind and stimulate more productive, aware thinking.
Being bi-racial and bi-cultured also meant:
Recognizing, understanding, accepting and loving the differences in people. My two sets of families are probably different in more ways than they are the same, from language to food to music to religion to location, but there was always one trait that remained the same across them all: they’re human. They love, they hurt, they cry, they laugh, they celebrate and rejoice. But it’s been such a fun, profound and enlightening life experience learning the different ways my families do everything, and incorporating a little from both sides into who I am.
I speak Spanglish, I understand much of the Spanish language and can hold a conversation… I might be slower than the native speaker and have a few more glitches, but I can say what I need and want to say. And, obviously, english is my primary language.
I love food! All kinds. From different regions of the world. Though I’m not a big meat-eater anymore, I grew up eating pig’s feet, chitlins, every kind of seafood, baked macaroni and all that delicious, comforting soul food (obviously from my dad’s side) and, on the other hand, I ate potato pancakes, sunny-side-up eggs on top of fries, pollo salt ado, ceviche and more delicious Ecuadorian dishes, and all the common foods kids eat in America (sandwiches, fast food, chef boyardee). On top of that, both my parents are undiagnosed foodies, so every week we ate out and tried foods from different cultures (Jamaican, Indian, Mediterranean… you name it, we tried it).
I love most types of music from R&B to Hip-Hop to Blues to Indie Pop to House to Spanish to Classic to World music. I’m always slightly amused when people say they love all types of music and their list only consists of two or three genres. Oh, to live in such a bubble.
I was baptized Catholic and went to a Catholic church growing up, then as a teenager went to a non-denominational church (and quite frankly, I’m more spiritual than religious because I haven’t fully explored one particular religion. I feel like it puts up barriers between people… But that’s a whole other story. Though I’m sure it stems from having a Catholic mom and Baptist-raised dad…)
I LOVE to travel. No, I NEED to travel. I want to see it all, I want to travel to the poorest towns in different places and see how they live, because those folks are usually the most appreciative and give me such an abundance of perspective. People who don’t have a lot and who still smile and love teach me that, what I consider problems aren’t really that bad. I live a blessed life, and I’m grateful for all I have. I also want to travel and experience the most elegant and luxurious places because I can’t resist the allure of a posh life. Witnessing that shows me where I can go if I play my cards right and stay focused.
So, I say all that to say: The reason I LOVE being bi-racial & bi-cultured is because of how much I’ve learned without realizing I was learning. I was merely living the life that accompanied my circumstances.
This isn’t to say people who aren’t mixed or multi-cultured can’t be just as cultured. Anyone can be! And quite frankly, if we all dig deep enough into our family roots, we’ll learn that we are all mixed. Be aware of the fact that there is a whole world to explore, full of different cultures, lifestyles, hobbies, entertainment, music and most importantly, food! ;)