My Colored Eyes: A look at the effects of my Hispanic heritage

Essay by lostonearth88High School, 12th gradeA+, April 2004

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I am a part of the growing population of people of mixed descent, and am both privileged and punished by relating to my Mexican heritage but not resembling the stereotypical Hispanic. Most people aren't aware, even in these times, that you can be Hispanic whether you are as white as paper or as dark as its ashes. I have grown up privy to all the privileges of a comfortable lifestyle, typically among Caucasians, both in my neighborhood and honors classes in my rural town. Yet I am reminded of my heritage by the food I eat, the style of music I wake up to on a Sunday morning, and traveling to a dusty, dog-filled village in Mexico to bury my grandfather.

I wonder sometimes whether resembling my classmates in immediate appearance has been a good or a bad thing. They unthinkingly offer up 'dirty Mexican' jokes, only to find that I am not amused.

They confide in me how they could never date a black girl or a black boy, and I can't support their sentiments. I wouldn't be here if such relationships didn't occur. Yet, I don't think I would change the way I look to deter such comments. What I inherited from my mother is my disguise almost, how I can uncover what people really think about the group to which I belong. If they could tell that I was the subject of their comments, they wouldn't say it to me, but they would still think it's okay. It gives me the chance to show them that there are some things that are never appropriate, no matter whose company they are in, because you never know what is behind the color of their skin.

Their unthinking negative comments about my race don't bother me so much in comparison...