Guest post: Owly
It begins with a question.
A classmate asked me why my mom and dad are white and I am so tanned- Did I come from Mexico? Am I half Black? Did my mom cheat on my dad? Those are the questions I get asked at the elementary school and that got me thinking about why I suddenly look so different. I looked in the mirror. I don’t have straight hair like them, I don’t have blue eyes as them and I don’t have pale skin. My skin was very dark tan but not close to being Hispanic, my eyes are dark brown, my nose looks like other black kids I seen and hair is mixed of fizz curls
I came home that day and repeated the questions to her (yes, the exact questions to my mother who was very mortified that a 6-year-old would know of such words) and I finally got the answer: I’m adopted.
Growing up in an adopted white family has its benefits. You get a good home, good appearance, nice status and you don’t look out of place. Unless you do look out of place so badly that other people thought your parents are babysitting a friend’s kid. That part annoys me. People always ask my parents, “oh are they your children?” while pointing at my pale-looking siblings and that made my parents had to beckon me and Lewis over to introduce us as their adopted children. I slowly got used to that.
“Hey, what’s your heritage?” -This is the question I get asked most as an adult now. I can answer that question, “I am Cuban mixed with white”
When I initially asked that question to my parents as a child; they told me that they adopted me from a 17-year-old teen girl and that she’s Cuban. Nobody knows about my father since he didn’t sign the adoption papers. I don’t still know that much of my Cuban Family, so much of it that I do not know. I’ll have to do DNA testing to find more about it.
I end up growing in very “white American” culture and not knowing much of my Cuban culture or my Deaf culture (that’ll be for a later topic). I had read up on Cuba from what books I could find, only to find that there’s not much information on Cuba. Information was suppressed since they still are a communist country and we don’t have the internet back then.
Currently, I don’t want to be overwhelmed seeking out more information on the Cuban culture. I do learn bits of it from friends who were delighted to tell me about how Cuban is almost like some Hispanic cultures in aspect. I’m still learning slowly but surely about it at least.
I’m not in a rush, I wanted to learn slowly about my heritage and find pride in it.
Overall, in my experience- I think the white families shouldn’t adopt kids of different country heritage until they are fully prepared to learn and teach their children about their heritages be they full or mixed like me. It’s a form of whitewashing a person from child to adult to not knowing about their heritage and history. I felt I had missed out on it and is now playing catching up on that and everything else.
I am Afro Cuban Mixed.
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