My mother is Black, Puerto Rican, Possible Native American (see below) and Danish. My father is Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and German. I have a look that a Military boyfriend once told me military intelligence called “One Village Over” because I could be dropped in lots of countries and blend in as a local.
Something that needs saying: Back in the day, in the South, it was safer to be Native American than Black. In some cases, people’s “Cherokee” ancestors may have been Black or Mixed Race people who wrote themselves down as whatever the local tribe was in self defense. This may not have always been the case, but I feel it needs to be said with all the romanticizing of ancestry and “my great-great-great grandmother was a Cherokee Princess!” Holy crap. I’m a romantic, yes, and some stuff really is better with princesses, but your family tree isn’t necessarily one of those things.
Culture: My mother raised me more Puerto Rican than anything. I am very very stereotypically Western feminine in many ways and I was planning a Quince Años. Sadly, my 15th birthday would have been 09/26/2001. Yup, 15 days after the Twin Towers were hit. I felt it was heinously inappropriate, growing up in a DC suburb, to have a massive party and celebration of life that close to such a tragedy. So I cancelled.
I have regretted it ever since. I am the only girl cousin for a few generations. I watched, however, as my Latinx classmates went off to buy a pink dress, or white if you were super traditional, tried on tiaras and took waltz lessons. It always felt a little like my womanhood had been forgotten. I was coddled by my family until I was in my mid-twenties, and, even though I hit puberty shockingly early (9 years old), I was always the “baby”.
I am now nearing 30 and have decided to fix this. My mother and I embraced the writings of Jill Connor Browne in my teen years and I feel that “if no-one has (crowned me Quinceañera) by now, it’s high time I do it myself.” Being mixed race, I’ve always come at my cultural heritage at an angle, so the fact that I am not traditionally Christian, not a teenage girl, and using a Geeky theme seems oddly fitting.
“Where are you from?” (Virginia.)
“What race are you?” (Mixed. Most people don’t believe me if I tell them.)
“I just love *insert whatever race they think I am here* women!” (Just stop. That isn’t a compliment. Even if you get it right. Some women have a kink for being fetishized. Not me.)
People speaking Spanish to me. Sometimes they change it up and use Korean, Greek, Tagalog, Kreyol, or some other language I only know by sound. (I speak English, a tiny bit of Spanish, a little French and only enough German, Japanese and Latin to get in trouble at parties. Stop assuming I speak a language because you think you know my Ethnicity.)
Identity issues: I don’t JUST identify as Latinx. I am also Black and White. I have had doctors default to assuming I’m White, which might kill me if they misdiagnose me because “you can’t possibly have that disease! You aren’t Black/Spanish enough.” Of course, it’s just as troubling when they decide I’m Latinx and immediately hand me a doctor/nurse who starts speaking Spanish at me, because I forgot most of my Spanish when circumstances put me in a French immersion school.
Also, there is a stereotype that Latinx people are uneducated or are lazy about education and will find any excuse to slack off at school. I read everything I can. Always have. I come from a very well-to-do Puerto Rican family and my mother was a scientist’s daughter, so I was not allowed to be a lazy student. It always confused my classmates that I was in advanced English and History, but in Special Education Math and Science. Surely, if I was Special Ed., I must be a “lazy, troublemaking Latina”. At least one teacher had this impression as well, and seemed to go out of her way to treat me as such, as well as dismissing my depression as “needing to think positive”. I am still shedding that baggage and trying to teach myself that I am not stupid or lazy or a troublemaker.
Tropes/Stereotypes I’m tired of seeing:
“Spicy Latina” (I identify as Latinx. But, I was born shy, and sass and sex appeal do not come naturally to me. Latinx people can be confident and sexy and sassy, but please, make them more than that and don’t let that be all of them.)
Lazy Latino Criminal/in-the-making (Plenty of Latinx folk are studious and lawful. We aren’t all illegals and most illegals are just trying to make a living, so really? How lazy is that?)
Strident Catholic Latinxs (I was raised Episcopalian and am now Unitarian Universalist leaning towards Spiritualist/Low Christianity. My relatives in Puerto Rico are mostly Episcopalian, Baptist and Lutheran.)
All Latinx Witches are Brujos (Brujeria is Central American. Other cultures may have their own different syncretic faiths, because they have different cultures backing them. Yoruba is not Igbo is not Asante. Mexico is not Cuba is not Brazil.)
20 years ago today on July 3rd, 1995 D'Angelo released his landmark debut album entitled Brown Sugar. This album created the neo soul blueprint and paved the way for future soul singers to come. Play this one loud today!
Specials, limited holiday series and made-for-TV movies debuting this holiday season (only debut airdates are noted here, but many movies and specials are repeated during the season, check your local listings). Updated: December 28, 2016
The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration (musical special from Disney World hosted by Julianne and Derek Hough) - Nov. 24
CMA Country Christmas (annual musical special hosted by Jennifer Nettles) - Nov. 28
Great American Baking Show (season 2 of the limited holiday-themed baking series) - weekly through Dec. starting on 1st *** Mini Review ***
Great Christmas Light Fight (three-week holiday series; season 4 of the reality competition featuring outrageous christmas light displays) - weekly through Dec. starting on 5th **Mini Review **
The Making of Frozen: A Return to Arendelle (special behind-the-scenes of the movie, with a sneak peek at the Frozen holiday special set for 2017 debut) - Dec. 11 *Mini Review*
The Disney Parks’ Magical Christmas Celebration(live musical special and parade hosted by Julianne and Derek Hough) - Dec. 25
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2017 (annual New Year’s special) - Dec. 31
128th Rose Parade (live parade coverage hosted by Hannah Storm and John Anderson) - Jan 2
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 90th Celebration(one-hour primetime special celebrating 90 years of the Macy’s Parade) - Nov. 23
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (live, official parade coverage hosted by Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker) - Nov. 24
Christmas in Rockefeller Center (annual New York City tree-lighting special) - Nov. 30
Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love (movie sequel to 2015′s Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors, starring Rick Schroder and Dolly Parton) - Nov. 30 ***Mini Review***