To people who are mixed, "enough" is so much more than a word - it's an emotion.
Growing up in Madison, WI, in a predominantly white area meant I was usually the token Mexican in my classes. When I went off to college in New York, I was so excited for the opportunity to meet others of Hispanic backgrounds. Although I was ultimately successful in making some wonderful Latinx friends, it was way more complicated than I had anticipated.
I started my quest for Hispanic friendships by joining affinity groups and jumping into random conversations I overheard nearby that were happening in Spanish. Having been the token Mexican growing up, I was confident and excited to meet my Latinx peers. As I’d hoped, I was embraced with open arms by the Hispanic community at my college. However, I often found myself to be the center of everyday jokes. I was commonly called a “gringa” and a “fake Mexican.” Although these jokes were made in a light-hearted way, with the best of intentions, they stung a bit more every time they were said. I’d grown up as the token Mexican, never being quite American enough for my white peers. I had so looked forward to connecting with other Hispanics in college, but now that I’d found them, I realized I wasn’t quite Latina enough for them either.
Being mixed, you find yourself genuinely wondering, who am I? Where do I fit in? Where am I “enough” to be accepted?
To this day, I understand why those jokes were made about me: I was different. I had lighter skin than my other Hispanic friends. I comfortably spoke Spanglish without thinking, rather than one language over the other. But logical as it may have been, their jokes and comments hurt - they made me feel like I didn’t belong. My entire life until that point had told me I was too Mexican to be American, and now I was being told I was too American to be Mexican.
Eventually, I spoke up. I told my friends how I was feeling, and how their words were affecting me. It took various conversations, and multiple reminders, but eventually, they started to understand. As people of mixed backgrounds, we shouldn’t have to carry this burden, and we shouldn’t have to explain ourselves. But it’s important for us to be vocal with the people that are close to us. The more we start these conversations, the more others can begin to understand. Just because we are mixed, does not mean we don’t belong.
This is why Taylor and I created Mixed Millennial. It doesn’t matter what your background is composed of. If you’ve ever felt that you’re not “enough” to be part of a certain racial, ethnic or cultural group, we are your community. If you’ve ever felt like you can’t and don’t fit in, you fit in with us. If you’ve ever wondered if there’s anyone out there who understands you, we do.
The search for "enough" as a mixed millennial ends today.
Our community is perfectly mixed & imperfectly connected. Wake up every day and be uniquely and unapologetically you, because YOU ARE ENOUGH and being mixed is beautiful.
Written by Ruby Herrera
Have you ever felt like you weren't "enough"? Send us a DM with your own experiences at @mixedmillennial; we’d love to feature your story on our blog!