Rose Espiritu, age 25
WHAT MIX ARE YOU?
Nigerian and Filipino
WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?
IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
I am from Houma, Louisiana. It was the South so there wasn’t a lot of diversity.
HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?
They met in college.
WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
Not that I can think of.
HAS YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY ALWAYS BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF YOU BEING MULTIRACIAL/BIRACIAL?
From what I can remember, my family has always been supportive. My grandmother always made sure to let me know that my differences made me beautiful.
DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?
I grew up in the Philippines and primarily with my Filipino side of the family so traditions, foods and cultures were very important to us. I took my first trip to Africa as an adult after I graduated from college and I’ve taken two trips since than. I’ve been very adamant about learning more about my Igbo culture.
WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?
We spoke tagalog at home and English at school.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?
I love the history. In Nigeria, it is customary to continue to live on the same land as your ancestors. It’s amazing to have my family living in the same area and hear the history of our land. The pride in our culture is infectious! I also recently watched my father become a chief and it was amazing to watch traditions continue to be carried out.
WHAT ACTIONS DID YOUR PARENTS TAKE TO TEACH YOU ABOUT YOUR DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS?
It was more about surrounding me with it than actually sitting down and teaching me about my background. We take trips back to our country fairly often so being able to take in the culture first hand is invaluable.
DID YOU TALK ABOUT RACE A LOT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?
I grew up in a traditional Asian household in the sense that there were a lot of things that were just not talked about.
DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?
I don’t necessarily like the word mixed. I prefer to say that I am Nigerian, or I am Filipino or I am Black. I am fully each and I am proud to be so.
DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?
For the majority of my life, I was the only black member of my family and I felt kind of out of place. While I’ve dated folks from various backgrounds, I hope that I end up with someone who understands the black American experience.
WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?
Being Mixed means constantly learning and analyzing my identity. As an only child and only mixed member in my family, I think I developed a strong independence much earlier in life because I was different from both of my parents.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR MIXED FRIENDS?
It’s interesting to see some of the similarities. I’m not the only one!
ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?
I like to learn from everyone’s comments. It can certainly be frustrating but I think it’s good that people are expressing themselves.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?
I am finishing a film about parenting someone of a difference race which you can learn more about by going to mixedupmovie.com.
I also created Culture Chest, a subscription box that collects diverse books and toys for children ages 4-9 which you can learn more about by visiting our website. Follow Culture Chest on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Or my personal Instagram! Say hi! I’ love to hear from you.