Ramu Murakami Gutierrez, 20 years old
WHAT MIX ARE YOU?
Colombian (Hispanic) and Japanese (Asian)
WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?
Tallahassee, Florida (USA)
IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?
It is pretty diverse because it is a college town
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
I was born and raised in Gran Canaria (Spain). It is not a very diverse island, we do have people from another country, but you are more likely to be surrounded by people that are originally from there (including their parents)
HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?
They met in Gran Canaria, my mother used to work in a restaurant and my father is a captain fisherman. His port would be in Gran Canaria so he would come every 4 months or so.
WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
Language was the first obstacle. My mother ended up learning Japanese for him. They are no longer together so I believe there was a very big cultural difference. Japanese people are more patriarchy and they are more conservative.
HAS YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY ALWAYS BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF YOU BEING MULTIRACIAL/BIRACIAL?
I have not have a problem with my family for being biracial, it is something they embrace, and they are proud.
DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?
When I was small I used to go to a Japanese school so I was more in contact with my Asian culture. At the same time I was living in Spain so I would also celebrate the Spanish traditions. When I grew up and changed from school, I stopped celebrating a lot of the traditional celebrations.
WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?
When my father was home we would talk Japanese all the time. My first language was Japanese because I went to a Japanese school. After that I started learning English and developed my Spanish.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?
I enjoy the fact that I have two races because I take the good side of every culture. I love the food from both of my backgrounds. They are very different, and use completely different spices. I feel like food brings people together, and the fact that I can connect with both cultures through food is great. I have days where I feel more Asian than Hispanic, and I will cook Asian food to reconnect with my culture.
WHAT ACTIONS DID YOUR PARENTS TAKE TO TEACH YOU ABOUT YOUR DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS?
I do not know exactly why, but every time I spoke to my father I would use a totally different approach than with my mother. He is very conservative when it comes to his culture so every action he did would show me how different it was to talk to him compared to my mother. It was also very fun. I feel like Asian parents are more about teaching their kids how to do things. He would always find a fun way to teach me things. On the otherhand my mother was more the person that disciplined me.
DID YOU TALK ABOUT RACE A LOT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?
I did not talk a lot about race at my household. I did not realize I was two different races until I grew up and moved out of my house to come to college.
DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?
I identify myself as mixed.
DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?
I do not see people based in race, and it would not stop me from dating people from different countries. I had a white boyfriend, and I have also dated black men.
WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?
Being mixed could be confusing at times. When they ask me about culture I sometimes come to a conclusion that I do not have a specific culture. It also has a lot of advantages because I always try to take the best characteristics of each race.
DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?
I do not have a lot of friends that are mixed, but I do have some. I have learned that we have a lot in common when it comes to how people view us.
ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?
People would automatically assume I am fully Asian. There are also a lot of stereotypes. They would always choose the worst side of one of my races to make a negative comment (ex: Colombians do cocaine or Japanese people are workaholics).
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?
A perfect world where there is no racism. It would be so easy if people could stop discriminating, and maybe try to learn about different cultures.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?
I love being biracial, and I feel that this has shaped my personally. I love learning about other cultures, and I am really curious about other races and their experiences.
You can connect with Ramu on Instagram