Race 

Are you White, Black Asian, etc? Do you remember when you realized your race? I do. 

I grew up in a predominantly Latino community (I was part of the only black family), my mom cooked mainly Latino dishes, and I grew up around the Spanish language, therefore, I thought I was Latina. 

In the 3rd grade riding home on the bus, I was speaking in Spanish and an older kid turns around and says,”You’re not Mexican, you’re black, that’s ugly”. That moment made me realize that I was different from my peers. Years later (about 7th grade), I remember hearing a girl saying very loud,”I don’t want to be black, I’d rather be a dog than be black!” 

After that moment, I spent years not identifying with my race. I remember getting chemical treatments for my hair so it would be less curly and waking up early straightening my hair (and damaging it) to look more Eurocentric. 

I didn’t embrace my blackness until I took a college class about Blacks in the United States. My professor made a comment how blacks were decendents of people who were strong; many slaves were killed if they were sickly and weren’t able to do physical labor. At that moment I was proud. 

I started to let go of Eurocentric beauty standards and embraced my curls. I did my research and looked into my family’s history including our racial background (going beyond just black). I’ve became proud to be black and embraced our struggles and beauty. 

I bring up race since my sociological interests include race and race relations. 

I leave you with the question, when did you realize your race?

Somewhere wishing I was on the beach,

Lex

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