After a few months of hiatus with our GUB like US series We are back! I’ve had some lined up interviews that I can’t wait to share. Today I hope you enjoy reading about Jalisa. For more information about our series head on over to GUB Like US
My name is Jalisa, most people call me Jelly or JJ. I am a college student in my third year. I am a huge sports fan: soccer, football, tennis, and track. I love being with my family and friends.
Growing up, I was a happy kid. I grew up in a single parent home (mom) along with my older sister and grandparents. I am from the central valley CA. My mom is from Tulare,CA and my dad is from Fresno, CA. My mom is Mexican and my dad is Black. I didn’t meet my dad until I was four and even then I didn’t know that was my father. When I was younger I asked my mother where my sister was and she said that she was visiting her dad for the weekend. I ask my mom, “Dad?” “Do I have a dad?” That is where my “relationship” with my dad started. There was only one person on my dad’s side that talked to me on regular bases, and that was my grandpa. I remember going to visit my grandpa and listen to him tell stories about the South and the family. I didn’t get to know my dad’s side until I was about 14 years old, after my grandpa passed away.
I have a total of 3 siblings. I have my older brother D. We share the same dad. Then I have my sister Stephanie and my brother Roger; we share the same mom. My brother passed away when he was a baby. I never had a chance to meet him but he is still my brother. There is a big age difference between my siblings and I my mom says I was her surprise.
On Challenges growing up as a bi-cultural individual
Well as a child I was raised in a Mexican household. My neighborhood was mostly Blacks and Mexicans. Where I lived I never really faced any problems because we were all a big family. The first time I really had a hard time dealing with being mixed was when I had to move to another school, not in my neighborhood. The school was mostly white, and it wasn’t used to that. The kids made fun of my hair when it was braided and then asked questions about it when it was straight. After that, I learned to stand up for myself and not let anyone talk me down because they didn’t know what to classify me as. I want to say the greatest challenge I had was coming to college and wanting to pledge a sorority. I went to both meetings for the Mexicans and the Blacks and I came out with a bad taste in my mouth. To them I wasn’t strong enough for either of them. I wasn’t Black enough or I wasn’t Mexican enough. There is one problem that I have faced time and time again, and that is dating other races. My boyfriend is white, and a lot of people are shocked that “I like white boys”. My mom always told me, “ I don’t care if they are green with purple polka dots, as long are you are happy and they treat you right.
On being asked about her race and culture
When I got older I always got the question “Well what are you?” I usually have them guess, and after they are blue in the face and completely puzzled, I tell them I am that I am mixed Black and Mexican.
On being bilingual
I am bilingual. I do understand Spanish more than I speak it. My family has always spoke Spanglish in my house, so it was really easy to catch words.
On Blackxican being a term to identify with
I don’t find Blackxican offensive, in fact I use its quite often. I plan to actually get the word tattooed on me along with the combo of the African continent, with the Mexican flag over it. I haven’t identified myself with any other terms but mixed.
Advice for other bi-cultural individuals feeling confused or unsure about their cultures I would tell those people to embrace whatever you can. There is no reason to be confused or unsure, trust me I have been there. Place yourself around people that will help you understand both sides. I learned a lot from my grandpa and so much from my nana and papa. Listen with an open heart and open ears, because there will be a time where you would wish you would have listened.
Advice to Little Man and Little Lady
I would tell your kids, to be thankful to be Blackxican. Be thankful that you have two strong cultures that you can learn so much from. Be thankful that you have strong and rich roots of history. Most of all, be thankful for the simple things that being Blackxican gives you. Be thankful for your curly/straight hair. Be thankful for your light or dark skin. Be thankful for your mom’s eyes and your dad’s smile. Just be thankful.
Special thanks to Jalisa! Thank you for sharing your story with us and for being such a postive individual. I am confident that you will succeed and fulfill all your dreams. Wishing you much success! We look forward to hearing from you when you graduate from college!
If you are also a Blackxican Family/Individual who would like to share your story Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!