To start off, I come from a bi-ethnic home. My mother full Puerto Rican and my father half Italian and the rest Irish, Scottish, and Welsh. I grew up in northern New York where in the early 2000s the ethnic pool was little to none. With both my mom and I being very white passing we were very privileged to have never known discrimination. However, as I grew up and began to connect with my culture I noticed that our world is so divided and choosy as to what side you pick. When it came to college there were certain aspects of Latino culture that I enjoyed, music, food, holidays, and events.
I even began learning the language if only to communicate with my family. When I began to immerse myself into part of my culture, I noticed that some of my white friends found it odd and unfamiliar and never took the time to celebrate and understand another culture because they thought it was weird. The only time I ever notice white people celebrating other cultures is when its an excuse to get drunk like they so often to with October Fest, St. Patrick’s Day, and Cinco de Mayo. On the other end of the spectrum, I found it hard to associate and be taken seriously with other Latinos as I was white passing and didn’t speak the language.
Often, people often tell me that I’m lying about my heritage, I don’t count because I don’t speak the language, and that I’m “another Elizabeth Warren” trying to pass off as something I’m not. Through traveling the nation, I’ve found others like me with the same situation, and others who understand and accept that we’re all mutts and we all belong regardless of what others say. Travel has given me the opportunity to celebrate and be a part of something greater than all of us and experience life as a person, regardless of your background. It is important to break out of what you are comfortable with as it makes you a stronger person and allows you to appreciate all cultures, regardless of how they appear.
M. Is a New York native with a passion for big cities, dogs, and traveling the nation aiding in disaster relief. Has been coast to coast exploring Boston, New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and many more in search of adventure and a good cocktail.