Updated: Apr 1, 2020
This is a place for the Latinas, or Latinos, that don’t see enough of themselves in the dominating media. This is a place for the Latina or Latino, that is tired of looking up outfit ideas on that one social media platform and find that their color seems restricted to stereotypes. This is a place for the Latina, or Latino, who understands that Latino culture has no color. This is a place for the celebration of Latino culture in America without boundaries.
I grew up on the border of El Paso, TX, USA and Juarez, Chihuahua, MX. I was born on the American side, but my parents were born on the Mexican side. This somehow separates me from other Latino cultures in America. The borderlands have a way of merging and, more importantly, accepting both cultures, Mexican and American. Some might say I was sheltered because, unlike other Latinos in America, I wasn't exposed to racism until I was old enough to know better.
In school, growing up, we celebrated holidays that stemmed from both cultures and no one ever spoke ill of the activities with Mexican origins. In El Paso, TX, bicultural identity was the only identity. It was El Pasoan.
At twenty-one, I moved away. In central Texas, San Antonio, I saw something I hadn't seen before. New lines were drawn. I didn't get to possess the same fluidity between Mexican and American. Here, I had to choose a side. I couldn’t introduce myself at college parties without being asked, “what [ethnicity] are you?” I don't know if I'll ever fully understand what drives prejudice behavior based on someone’s skin tone, but I know it exists.
San Antonio is not running rampant with racists. I don't walk along the streets of the city in fear of encountering hatred, but I have realized that the cultures, Mexican and American, have their own side in this region. The cultures do not intertwine in an elegant braid as they do in El Paso. Instead, they coexist as two parallel lines like the ones on the equals sign of a simple math equation, in the same direction but separately.
I have always embraced both sides of who I am, and I refuse to turn my back on either of them. Like Gloria Anzaldua and other pioneering mestizaje believers before me, I believe that multiple cultures can be embraced harmoniously within one’s self. In America, being Latino means that you are a person of Latin American descent, which means a Latino can be Mexican, Puertorican, Peruvian, Brazillian, and the list goes on. I believe any American with origins from Latin America, can embrace bicultural identities as one.
Of course, San Antonio, like other cities in America, is more than just two cultures. With a population count of over 1million, the number of cultures found here is endless. But because I am a Latina that doesn't see enough of themselves in the dominating media, because I am a Latina that is tired of looking up outfit ideas on that one social media platform only to find that my body shape and color seem restricted to stereotype, and because I am a Latina who understands that Latino culture has no color, I created De Todo.