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Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

Identity

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After years of assimilation, I relearned the importance of loving myself — and my Puerto Rican culture — in full

First days of swim team, one of my first steps towards assimilating to life in the States. Courtesy of author.

Once upon a time on a Caribbean island, I would climb palms, knock down coconuts, and sell them for a dollar. But 35 years have passed since my family left Puerto Rico for the States. …

Singer Raiche shares her experience defining herself and what truly matters most

Photo courtesy of Atlantic Records

As I’ve matured, traveled the world, and learned about racism, I’ve had the opportunity to find comfort in my identity as a mixed-race person. But it hasn’t always been easy figuring out my place in a world defined by so much hate.

My mother is French-Canadian; my dad is of…

Acknowledging my history helped me lower my family’s smoke screens

Photo: Carlos Javier Noguera/EyeEm/Getty Images

“Michael, you’re Black.”

This statement of sheer fact made me turn away in frustration and embarrassment. For 10 minutes, a Black girl in my class and I had engaged in a conversation about my ethnicity — a topic I eagerly wanted to avoid. I managed to make it more than…

I thought my mother was the only barrier keeping me from reconciling my identity — but I missed something bigger

Photo courtesy of author

When I was 10 or 11, I went to my mom, forehead creased with confusion, and asked: “Mom, am I White?”

She barely held down a laugh as she reminded me, “Well, honey, you’re not Black.”

My mom brings this story up a lot, one of many in her arsenal…

I asked my friends and followers what they thought of the word — but had no idea how much dissent there would be

Photo: Mike Kemp/Getty Images

I’d been curious about it for some time. So one slow Friday afternoon, I posted the same question to Twitter and Facebook: “What do you think of the term ‘Latinx?’”

No emotion. No indication of what I thought about the word. No judgment or provocation. (That would come later.) I’d…

Our native language was disappearing from my family, but circumstance—and luck—brought it back

My dad, Juan Pablo, and me attending a San Antonio Spurs game together. Photos courtesy of the author.

WWhen my father turned six, Mercedes, Texas was a small town. Now, 60 years later, it’s still a small town — Mexico border to its south, outlet mall to its north. And during an ordinary car ride, my father tells me an extraordinary story.

As I steer us toward his…

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Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

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