The colors, voices, faces, accents, and flavors of my country are some of the ties that are deeply rooted in me. It doesn’t matter that the minute I open my mouth to speak Spanish I sound like a second-grader, or that I don’t eat tortillas at every meal, nor do I have La Virgen Maria on my wall. Regardless, I am Mexican, and my roots run deeper than those iconic items — it runs through my veins, my values, and my blood.
“A tree without roots will fall over.” ~unknown
I decided to blog because I wanted a voice that transcended beyond my four walls, mi casa. It happened around the time I was lost in between two worlds, one that was all too familiar–my Latino culture and the other that was close to my heart, but so far away–the U.S. We were headed toward South America on our global nomad journey to change the world, leaving all that was close to our heart back in the U.S so writing about our journey was my way to merge those worlds together.
One day for the sake of my sanity, in all of my glorious mess–I wrote my heart out and then I had the audacity to hit publish.
And so began my blogging career.
Writing has always been therapeutic for me. I can’t say it always makes sense but in the end, when I put my pen down–life is a bit less nebulous and my heart is at rest.
I truly believe that we all have a story to tell. So from that point on, I decided to share bits and pieces of my love for life, family, culture, hope, cooking, my faith, art and all things creative.
Little did I know that even though my world is a smorgasbord of colors and cultures, the blogging world was one color. The dividing line between people of color and whites was ever so present even over the world wide web.
I felt like I was 10 years old again, back when I was the only kid in the group, with dark hairy arms whose mom sent her to school with burritos and not Wonder Bread sandwiches that got stuck on the rooftop of one’s mouth.
People of Color Blog Too!
My brown creamy colored skin and dark hair have always been a dead giveaway of my cultural heritage but these things alone can’t tell my whole story they only tell you a partial story.
Growing up as a first-generation Hispanic in Texas can be brutal for the strongest of us. I’ve had to put up with stares that made me feel the size of a mustard seed. People who looked down at me instead of at me, just because of my color.
So when I decided to join the blogging world I was a little shocked that the same discrimination existed online. It seemed as if the blogging world was dominated by creative, smart white females–a pool of white beautiful faces, with big smiles and perfect homes. But I was determined to let people know that people of color blog, too.
I thought I’m creative, I’m smart. I’m a girl with a blog, surely, I can overcome the not being white part. So I thought.
The dividing line is drawn.
It’s exhausting to constantly get overlooked because you don’t have the right shade of skin or your audience is not what they are looking for.
It’s frustrating to get an offer only to be given a strict script of the role you are to play. You are the Latina and that’s why you’re here, so let’s see your articles about tacos and sombreros. (I’m exaggerating a bit, but I was pretty much told this by an editor.) The dividing line was–clearly–drawn.
We want to be known for who we are not for what you think we should contribute to the blogging world. This was my reply to an editor who wanted my posts to be more Latina-ish in nature.
“When I share a post on parenting, food, family, education . . . my hope is to break down generalizations, bypass cliches, and for others to see that we as Latinas are productively contributing to our society and community beyond tacos, flamboyant clothes and sombreros…
I’m not ashamed of my rich heritage for which we are known like delicious spicy food, piñatas, dressing with flair, amazing art, beautiful music and rich colors…but these are only pieces, small fragments of our culture. I’m proud of each one, but they don’t define who we are as a people. When I make all of my blog posts about those things, then I’m only feeding the generalizations, stereotypes and cliches of what others already think about us.”
My response was an attempt to start erasing that dividing line.
We all have a story to tell, so let us tell it, even if it doesn’t include tacos and sombreros. The media and our society are already filled with partial stories about Latinos, Blacks, and Asians, so let us share the other side. We are more than these partial stories, let us be known for the beautiful people we are, not just how you think we should contribute to your world.
We all want to be seen and known. We all want to tell our story. Let’s start engaging each other and celebrating the diversity!
I challenge you to engage a blogger of another culture or color! Invite them to collaborate with you. To speak at your conference. Invite her to join your contributing team of writers and share her story through her eyes, not from your limited perspective of her culture.
We need more diversity in the Christian Online World
I must admit as the years have gone by, I’ve seen tides change in the blogging world to a beautiful tapestry of color and culture. Though the waves of change are happening, as more people of color are being noticed by brands and editors, we still have a ways to go especially in the Christian circle.
Here’s the thing that’s sad and shocking to me that so many Christian platforms, publishing companies, conferences, or writers teams have little diversity. Just because you have that one person of color on your team doesn’t make you diverse.
Stop simply saying you value every person instead pave the way for change by actually creating a diverse contributing panel for your conferences, book contracts, and contributing writer team!
Let’s not forget there’s something beautifully enriching when we celebrate the differences! We all have a story to share. Let’s share it alongside of each other, not in a segregated group of bloggers but together, laughing and crying and not caring who sits beside us!
Let’s pull up a chair at the table for people of color and invite them in.