Your Typical Latina
At last week’s Latism fiesta our lovely editor, Carrie, was in a conversation with @Jennifervides about the many faces of being Latina. Many folks, Latino and not, have preconceived notions of what being Latino looks like. I once brought a friend of mine home from college and when she met all of my Latino friends exclaimed, “They don’t look Latino. They look white!” Personally, I know first hand what’s it’s like to tell someone I’m Cuban but have them tell me, “No, tienes mas que eso porquepareces muy chinita.”
Being Filipino and Cubana but identifying as solely Cuban, I’ve lived my whole life with people furrowing their brow at my looks. I’ve come to realize that people don’t want to know about my rich culture and the beauty of where I’m from. Technically speaking when someone asks, “Where are you from?” they want to know exactly which parts of the world have contributed to make you look like you. It’s natural human curiosity but it can get damn frustrating when you’re not always interested in sharing a complex family history.
Society has evolved in such a way that we don’t have a cookie cutter response, and therefore, no cookie cutter look. To say cross cultural marriages are increasing in popularity is almost a falsehood because it’s practically the norm. The editors here at El Tiki Tiki are a testament to that, all married to lovely Americano husbands and raising beautiful melting pot children. Carrie previously talked about her own curiosity about how her daughter would self-identify and I think about that a lot with my own daughters. While their mami is an ambiguous looking chinita and their father a dark haired gringo with a splash of Portugal in him, my daughters are an interesting mix of the two of us.
In appearance my girls are as different as night and day – one dark haired, chocolate eyed toddler and my fair blue eyed, blonde-ish brunette. I imagine people will one day ask if they are really sisters much in the same way my husband’s mom was asked if she was the Anglo babysitter. My curiousity moves from them onto their own offspring wondering what beautiful mix of cultures they will represent. Hopefully as today’s multicultural Latino children grow up and marry into their own multicultural families, the idea of a “typical” Latino look will be replaced with the idea that Latinos come in all shapes and sizes.
Where do you think people got their preconceived imgae of Latinos and what does it look like? How do we disspell the myth?
Mi gente, my intention was to share with you a mug of my girls but my computer esta comiendo de lo que pica el pollo and refuses to cooperate. I’m working on it and hopefully will have some eye candy later this afternoon.