I'm sure some of you have checked out the forums and saw the poll I posted. If not make sure you, but check it out and vote! Anyway, As most of you know I am half Italian and half Portuguese. My father is full blooded Portuguese and his family came from the Azores (islands off of Portugal). Growing up people asked me a lot of questions about my background.
Where I live everyone is Irish so seeing a girl with a slight tan, dark thick eyebrows and blue eyes wasn't something you saw every day. Many asked me if I was Spanish, and I would reply no, I'm Portuguese. Some people would say OK and that would be the end of that, other's would then say oh you are Portuguese? So you are Spanish. Then we would get into a big conversation about whether Portuguese was covered under the blanket term of Spanish or Hispanic. I don't think it was my actual background that people questioned and tried to understand it was more because of my look and features. It was like I wasn't white enough for everyone so if I wasn't white I had to be something else. And I think it was easiest for people to just explain it away as me being Spanish.
If you think of the World Map, You have Spain and it's kind of its on separate land mass and right next to it on the same land mass is Portugal. So if you think about it nothing is really separating Spain and Portugal so I'm assuming there is a lot of movement back and forth between the two countries. So if being Spanish was a category wouldn't you think Portuguese would fall under that same category?
As I got older I started to notice that more and more people were putting me into the "Spanish" group. I love to dance and went to salsa lesson and have been dancing Merengue since I was young.
As I began to form my own opinions on the topic I decided that my ethnicity would be determined by how I felt about myself and how I identified myself. But of course depending on the day that changed! Sometimes I did feel like I was Spanish and sometimes I felt like I was just another white girl like everyone else around me. So when it came to filling out demographic information for schools and activities I never knew what to check of for "Are you Spanish or Hispanic" question. They don't give you many options, it's either yes or no. There is no box for I don't know, or I consider myself Spanish but others don't or others consider me Spanish but I don't. I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to skew the data but at the same time I wanted to make sure I was represented correctly.
When I got to college and my identity crisis continued, people would ask me if I checked the Spanish box off. I didn't check off that box for my college applications because my mom told me not to so I didn't. A lot of people in college said I should have checked it off because it would have helped my chances of getting into certain schools and also I could get financial aid because of my background. Now I was all confused!! I didn't want to rip the system off but if my background entitled me to services I wanted to take advantage. I went through college without exploring these avenues but still wondering.
So here I am today...Still half Italian and half Portuguese, still being told I'm Spanish and being told I'm not....What do you think? Would you consider me Hispanic/Spanish? Has anyone run into anything similar?