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The Struggles of Having a Stepfamily of a Different Race

I was only seven years old when my dad got married to my stepmom. Excited and filled with joy, I thought being in a multiracial, blended family would be a piece of cake. After all, I did believe Black culture and Latinx culture were almost identical. Little did I know that our differences were much bigger than I imagined.

I was still seven years old when I experienced racism towards our newly united family. I was eight years old when it happened again. Nine when it continued to happen again. And again. And again. Now, at the age of 15, nothing has changed.

There is a common fetishization of mixed families, yet no one understands the pain we experience daily. I am a Black-American girl with Black-American parents, and a Mexican-American stepmom. I have two Black-American sisters and two Mexican-American brothers, but this doesn’t seem to matter. The love we have for one another doesn’t matter, because all people see is our skin.

When I turned 15, I wanted to have a Quince. The Quince is a traditional coming of age celebration thrown for Latina girls, typically not a tradition of the Black community, but I didn’t care. Yes, I was and still am, very aware of the fact that I am not Latina, but this was a part of my Madre I wanted to experience. I had always loved learning about her culture and teaching her about mine. I learned Spanish, traditional dances, how to prepare culturally accurate Mexican food, but it didn’t matter to anyone, because all people saw was my Black skin.

The love we have for one another doesn’t matter, because all people see is our skin.

My Blackness and her Latinaness was suddenly a huge barrier. It was seen as absolutely absurd for me to have a Quince and carry on the family tradition, but I did. However, because of the stigma we received, we changed a few elements. Somehow something that had brought us so close, confused so many people. The bond between a Black girl and Latina woman was astounding, almost repulsive to many.

The feedback we received was scary. From store attendants watching us like we were some undiscovered animal, to family and friends questioning if this were a good idea. Our blended, multiracial family was under fire for truly embracing each other.

I was 15 when I finally learned that no matter how foreign our family seems to others, we are just that, family. A beautiful one at that. A gorgeous, blended, multiracial family and there is absolutely nothing with that.

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