This post is part of a series of interviews with families like ours, who are ‘mixed’ and Latino. Read more interviews here: MixedFam Q&A
Ruby is a wife and mother to 2 little ones. She is the Blogger at growingupblackxican.com, whe
re she blogs about raising her kids to be proud of their 2 cultures – Black and Mexican. Her family recently moved from the West Coast to the East Coast and are transitioning from being a military family to a civilian family. She is passionate about family, education and all things crafty.
What is your individual and/or relationship mix? (culture, ethnicity, language, religion, etc.)
My family is Blackxican. My husband is Black and I am Mexican therefore our kids are blackxicans.
How have the communities that you’ve lived in, impacted your personal and family identities?
Living in San Diego or CA at that was more accepting than living on the east coast. San Diego was a melting pot of military families from all over the world. It wasn’t uncommon to meet another mixed family. Where we live in NJ being a mixed couple creates unwanted attention.
How did you meet your hubby?
I met my husband at Disneyland! We actually exchanged information via an online site and decided to meet up and we hit it off. We both have a love for music and cartoons and of course all things DISNEY!
How do you combine your family traditions/cultural values and coordinate extended family events, holidays and outings?
It’s always a compromise with every decision. The hubs and I talk about any upcoming event with each other before agreeing to any family members. We learned early on that having the kids only made it harder to make a decision because we were requested at everyone’s homes.
Are your in-laws understanding of your relationship?
They understand however there’s many questions asked about why certain things are done or celebrated. This is the case, especially with religion. It’s a learning process.
What are some misconceptions about your family and your mixed heritage?
One big misconception is that all mixed kids are cute. This drove me bonkers. While I must agree that my kids are cute it’s not to say that they were cute just because they were mixed. I like to think it’s because of my great looks that they are gorgeous! Ha!
Have you or your children dealt with the “What are you?” question?
Yes, during our travels to Mexico the question of what are they, referring to my kids, were a constant conversation starter. I use to take offense by a simple stare because I knew there weren’t any kind thoughts behind the look. This mostly happened during outings as a family.
I now like to educate and take pride in talking about my kids cultures. This is something that not only helps me but it’s a way of teaching the kids to be proud of whom they are regardless of the circumstance.
What challenges and blessings have you found in parenting or your relationship in your mixed family?
Some challenges are learning how to talk about race without offending or getting offended and being open to change. Blessings have come with just being able to experience 2 cultures from the food to the holidays it’s all been great experience.
Is your multicultural/multiracial family more or less accepted by the Latino community than by other communities?
No, I find that my family has had the hardest adjustment from not following certain traditions to even the color of my kid’s skin mainly by extended family. The whole mixing of cultures was frowned upon even more so by marrying and having kids with someone of darker complected. Darker skin color meant ugly and unwanted in Mexico, while colored eyes and light skin meant greatness. I have now proven that skin color means nothing my kids are just as perfect as the next in the family.
Do you think that multiculturalism, multilingualism and multiracial identity are more common among Latinos?
I’d have to say no. Even in the military life the handful of mixed Latinos compared to other mixed individuals or families was less.
How do you maintain your Latino heritage and mixed identity?
I celebrate Mexican holidays with my kids even if I didn’t as a kid. I try and teach them about their Latino heritage. We do crafts, we cook food, and we read books that help instill these identities in the kids.
How do you rationalize your American identity and Latino identity? Do you feel that the two come together naturally in your life or that there is some conflict between them?
I feel they come together naturally because my parents have made it easy for me to identify with both. The same comes when raising my kids although the language has been a harder task to handle.
For those who are in a relationship or family like yours, what would be your best advice for making a bicultural/multicultural family work?
My advice is to compromise and support each other. Many times we forget the guilt or hard times the other’s family may not show when you are around. Learn to be one and raise your children together.
What are your fondest childhood memories related to your cultural heritage?
Most of my childhood memories revolve around my grandparent’s home. Cooking and eating in the kitchen, dancing and hanging around in the living room, and partying and playing in the backyard. My family is my culture.
What is the craziest, yummiest cultural food combo you have served in your home?
Mole, chicken wings, yams, green beans and arroz. A little bit for everyone!
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