Share this story:
Growing up I was confused about of who I was. I lived in a racist neighborhood around 35th Ave in Oakland where you were looked down upon if you spoke Spanish. Overall if you were white it was a safe place to live. So I and my family did our best to blend in. School’s never helped because I was always a darker shade than other kids and I felt extra pressure to behave Caucasian to make up for that. I had started thinking I was wrong because I made friends with the kids but they always pointed out that I was different so I changed to fit in. I remember how kids would count me out in games because they would always shout at me “No this game is not for you”, I felt all empty and bad inside because I was treated like this. I didn’t want to tell my parents because I was scared of how they would react.
For five years I had been molded to be someone I’m not, when in fact, I was just a confused Mexican child who didn’t know much about my culture. It wasn’t until I entered the 5th grade and moved to a new environment where I was accepted for what I looked like and not how I acted. I was in a school where Mexican kids were here all around me and spoke Spanish.
I go to a K-12 school where 70% of the kids were Latino, 20% African-American, and 10% where a mix of white and Asian. We talk about this statistic in school a lot.
I was made fun of for not speaking Spanish and not putting hot sauce on my food. No matter where I was I wasn’t white and I found out I wasn’t Mexican either and that sucked, but I found my inspiration to pull through it all when after school in 6th grade on the drive home, a song came on that gave me hope. I heard the words “I’m not afraid” and “Take my hand will put through this together” I found hope in these lyrics. I found out later it was a rapper named Eminem who was white but had been hated on for taking up rap, a so-called black only culture. He found his way so I thought I could do it too and make my own way and make my own lane where I’m not socially grouped, even though I always will.