MEET THE SEESTONE-RAMIREZ FAMILY
Annabella, age 22
Chris, age 22
Leonardo, age 3
All of the above
WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?
IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?
No. I live in a predominantly white neighborhood and community.
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
I grew up in Palo Alto California which was fairly diverse. There were definitely a lot of other mixed kids around and my three best friends of 16 years are all mixed.
HAS YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY ALWAYS BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF YOU BEING MULTIRACIAL/BIRACIAL?
I grew up with my mom's family. I did not know my dad or his side of the family until I turned 18. It was always obvious that I was mixed, but no one else in my family is. I was the only one with brown eyes and most of my family has straight blonde hair. They were always supportive, but it was never really talked about.
DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?
I only ever celebrated with my mom's side. Just recently I have been getting to know my dad's side of things.
WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?
No. I only speak English. I am often mistaken for someone who speaks Spanish though.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?
When I met my dad he took me out to eat Ecuadorian food. It was amazing and I have loved it ever since. I have done a lot of research about my ethnicities and I would like to be more in tune with my dad’s side of things culturally.
WHAT ACTIONS DID YOUR PARENTS TAKE TO TEACH YOU ABOUT YOUR DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS?
When I met my dad he told me how important it is to know about my background on his side. My mom never really talked about it growing up.
DID YOU TALK ABOUT RACE A LOT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?
I did not have many conversations about race in my house because I didn’t really know that in other places in the country it wasn’t normal to be mixed. Where I grew up most people were either mixed or something other than white.
DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?
I usually identify as being Ecuadorian and White (Swedish).
DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?
Race never had a play in who I dated. I ended up with a man who is full Mexican.
WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?
I absolutely love being mixed. I love that no one looks like me. I don’t mind that people guess or ask what ethnicity I am. I am proud of being mixed. I love having the different cultures in my blood.
DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?
Yes. I think all of my friends are mixed. I have learned that it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what our skin colors are. If you are dark, then you are blessed. If you are as white as paper, you are blessed. I think that whatever you look like, you should own it.
ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?
I think my only pet peeve is when people ask if my hair is real. It is just kind of disrespectful in my opinion. I have worked really hard on my hair, so I love when it is complimented but I do not consider “I love your hair! Is it real?” as a compliment.
HAVE YOU FACED ANY OBSTACLES AS A MIXED RACE FAMILY?
My fiancé has experienced a few instances of profiling in our town. He is Mexican American and he has gotten pulled over for no reason and he gets some dirty looks when he is with me and see that we have a son together. I’m not sure if they assume I’m full white or not. My son is one of two Latino students in his pre school, but so far we have not experienced any obstacles there.
HAS YOUR CHILD ASKED ABOUT RACE?
No. I don’t think he is old enough to understand.
WHAT ACTIONS WILL YOU TAKE WHEN YOUR SON IS OLDER TO TEACH HIM ABOUT EACH OF HIS BACKGROUNDS?
Once we have the money, my fiancé and I are planning to travel. We want to show him (and ourselves) our different cultures. We will go to my fiancé’s parents house for Christmas eve and show our son the traditions of his family, while we will go to my parents for Thanksgiving and show him mine. I think that it is all about balance and teaching him to love and respect all cultures.
HOW WILL YOU RAISE YOUR CHILD TO HONOR DIVERSITY IN OTHERS?
I think first is to teach him not to judge other people especially based on skin color, religion or culture. I think starting young and teaching him this will allow him to grow up respecting other people and cultures.
WHAT UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS DOES YOUR CHILD HAVE FROM YOU AND YOUR PARTNER?
Our son has my eyes and eye color. They are large and light brown. He has tanner skin and it gets pretty dark in the summer. He has my curly hair, but it is also really thick like my fiancés. I am very short (5’0) but it looks like he is getting my fiancé’s height. (6’0).
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR YOUR CHILD'S FUTURE AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?
I think that my dream is to have a world where color doesn’t matter. That we celebrate our differences in skin color, hair, eye shape, culture, etc. instead of judging each other.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?
Being mixed shows a coming together. We are all so unique and beautiful. We need to celebrate that instead of bashing each other so much!