“What do you mean by ‘just one’? I’m not choosing just one!” I told my wife on the phone. She had told me that according to the educational department of our city, in order to register our daughter in an educational program, I needed to choose just one box to indicate my ethnicity.
The options given to me were:
___A. Black ancestry
___B. White ancestry
___C. Indigenous ancestry
Taken into consideration that, as a Puerto Rican, I was born into the mestizo-rich heritage of Taino indigenous people, White Europeans mostly from Spain, and Black Africans brought to my country as slaves, to mark only one box would be to reject two of the key heritages that make me who I am. To allow myself to be boxed into one would be to reject many members of my family and many aspects of my culture and identity that I am proud of. I would therefore cease to be me. I am not me by just one part of my ancestry, but by the gifts I accept from all three of them.