(Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and I am a paid panelist for this campaign. I received free products to facilitate my review and allow for honest feedback in sharing my experiences with the brand. As always, all opinions are my own.)
I hated my hair as a child. I was the only one of five girls with the course and kinky curls that didn't fit in. Their hair hair flowed in the wind and blew in their faces and no one every asked THEM what they were. And even when I answered the question - I'm Mexican-American - no one believed me.
I don't think it was the implication that strangers assume me to be of mixed race (read: You're mixed, black, Puerto Rican, RIGHT?) that upsets me. It's that cultural identity is ignored by the asker in that they refuse to take my response as truth because what they see doesn't fit with what they believe they should see. I'm not arguing that I have mixed ancestry.
Hell, I'm Mexican, and a first generation American, at that. Of course I have mixed ancestry. Spanish conquest, anyone? I can't say that my ethnic makeup ends right there. Maybe there's African ancestry in my kinky curls, also. Mexico sucks for record keeping and societal racism and classism based on the shade of one's skin meant that it was simply easier for many to classify themselves as "Meztisos", which means to be of both indigenous and European ancestry. I know for a fact my great, great grandmother emigrated from Spain to escape persecution and that her family was a merchant one. I know that my great-grandfather, known as Guelo Tito, was actually named Feliciano Isaac. And I'm guessing - because obviously - that this means that my kinky curls are part Jewish. This I am confident in saying because Nancy Drew says the clues make sense. Everything else is just a guess.
But I'm not guessing when I state my ethnicity and my cultural identity. I am a Mexican-American woman with a Mexifro and a giant ass and curves that took me too long to figure out how to embrace. I am a mother of a child with long, loose, finer-textured hair that I am teaching to love now, tomorrow, and for always because I spent too many years hating the hair I saw in my own mirror because being called "bruja" (witch) by way as a nickname by elderly family members, specifically referring to my hair, did nothing for my self-esteem.
I am a woman of color, with hair I am learning to love because my daughter's love of her own depends on the example I set for her. I hated my hair as a child. I refuse for my daughter to repeat the cycle.
This is why I have partnered with You Be Natural and will participate as a panelist with a group of amazing women, including Stacey Ferguson of Blogalicious, for the #YBNSallyBeauty twitter party on Tuesday, October 13. If you've been around long enough, you know I don't take on partnerships lightly. It has to FIT and make sense and this one does. I've been using the complimentary products sent to me on both Eliana and myself for a week now and I'm in love. I wish I hadn't hated my hair as a child. But I'm glad I love what I have today.