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I’m third generation Latina. I take a lot of pride in my Chicana heritage, even though my authenticity gets questioned all the time.
Growing up, other Mexican kids often picked on me for not being “Latino enough.” I don’t speak fluent Spanish, unlike the majority of my family. It’s a big insecurity of mine. I also have thick, curly hair that leads people to mistake me for being black, Persian, or even bi-racial. I don’t have many friends of my own race, which made me feel isolated as a kid.
Then, this summer I attended a conference that brought Latino teens together from all over California. There, I saw Latinos with many different skin tones, types of hair, and levels of Spanish fluency. It expanded my own concept of what being Latino meant and how much diversity there is among us.
Now, nobody can convince me I’m not Mexican or Latino enough. I might not fit their image of a “typical” Latina, but I know who I am and I embrace my heritage.