Carla Cook, age 38
WHAT MIX ARE YOU?
Mexican and Black
WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?
IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
I was born and raised in Northwest Indiana. It’s diverse by Midwest standards but not NYC diverse. Growing up there was one other family that was mixed.
HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?
My parents met in 7th grade and dated throughout school. They were married during Spring Break of their senior year in high school. In March they will celebrate their 40th anniversary.
WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
Yes, although my parents dated throughout school my maternal grandparents were unaware of their relationship. My mom got pregnant her senior year and when my grandparents found out that not only was she pregnant but pregnant by a black guy she was kicked out of the house. A few weeks later they were married and eventually everyone came around and things worked out.
HAS YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY ALWAYS BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF YOU BEING BIRACIAL?
Overall, yes I believe they have always supported and accepted us. There have been times when comments were made that I wasn’t “black enough” and my hair has always been an issue. On my mom’s side I have always felt accepted by my family that actually lives in Mexico-it’s the Mexican American cousins that have, at times, made comments or treated me differently…
DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?
Lots of traditions especially related to food. Yes, my father’s side always had black eyed peas and gumbo for New Years Eve. Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter dinners were always a huge production-tables loaded with food, family prayer and games after dinner.
My mother’s side is much larger and we get together much more often. Every Sunday my 93 year old Wella makes pancakes for the entire family (22ppl). We also make tamales at Christmas and have family cookout every warm weekend in the summer.
WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?
Spanish was spoken in my home while growing up and although we all understand Spanish, I choose to speak very little.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?
Food is by far my favorite if I could combine Mexican and Soul food I would buy a food truck. Music is also one of my faves, my playlist would make anyone dance -best of both worlds :)
WHAT ACTIONS DID YOUR PARENTS TAKE TO TEACH YOU ABOUT YOUR DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS?
I believe my parents attempted to raise us to be colorblind. It was society that made us look at ourselves differently. To this day when I’m out with my mom if I call “mom” we still cause attention. LOL
DID YOU TALK ABOUT RACE A LOT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?
Never, my parents never discussed race at all. It wasn’t until I went to middle school that I realized that I was different.
DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?
I identify as being mixed, BLAXICAN.
DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?
No I’ve dated different races of men
WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?
It’s the best of both worlds.
DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?
ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?
YES!! What are you? What are you mixed with? Is your hair real? Why do you talk white?
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?
Just take a moment and realize we are so much more alike than we are different.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?
Mixed chicks do it better!
You can follow Carla on Instagram