We're Mexican, Really

My 1st grader and I had an interesting conversation recently. He held up an indigenous Mexican mask he made at school and said, “Look at me. I’m Mexican.”

I looked at my son and said, “You don’t need to wear a mask to be Mexican. You are Mexican! All the time.”

It really threw me. I thought we had this down. Nana and Papi are Mexican-American, which makes me Mexican, which then makes him half Mexican. But he’s 7-years-old and often when I start talking I think all he hears is “wah, wah, wah, wah.”

I have been thinking about what it means to be Mexican-American for our family for quite some time. I struggle with how to keep our culture alive when we live one state away from my family and my Spanish is so bad. I want him to know how special and how truly great it is to have our Mexican heritage.

It would probably help him identify with being Latino if I or he or his brother looked the slightest bit Mexican, but we don’t. I’m often the whitest person in a room full of white people, while my 1st grader has blonde hair and blue eyes. When I mention to people that I’m Mexican-American they often say, “Really??” Yes, really. But the way we look doesn’t make us any less Latino, in my opinion.

All of those issues combined does mean that I need to try harder to bring our culture into our lives. And I’m going to start now.

I wrote this post as part of Bicultural Mom’s Multicultural Awareness Blog Carnival. You can find links to other posts Monday, May 2 on Bicultural Mom.