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Half Black, Half Hispanic: What It's Like to be Black and Puerto Rican

Updated on February 7, 2013

Despite how common interracial marriages are, being half black, half Hispanic is less common than you might think. Casey is black and Puerto Rican, and dicusses the differences between the two cultures in her everyday life.

Half Black, Half Hispanic: What It's Like to Be Black and Puerto Rican

Misperceptions

"A lot of people group African-Americans and Hispanic people together as minorities, but the cultures are really different. You only get to know that when you grow up in the same household with one parent from each group."


Religion

"Dad is Puerto Rican and Catholic -- very Catholic. He goes to church twice a week, has rosaries, and is very devout. His church is very formal and dignified. My mom, who is black, is Baptist, and in her church it's all about dancing, throwing your hands up, and breaking a sweat. I have gone to both types of churches and those experiences are very different. I can't see taking one type of churchgoer and sticking them in the other without some discomfort."


Beauty

"When you are black and lightskinned, other black people usually assume you are half white. People think it all goes back to slave days when the women had the master's babies. But when you are Puerto Rican and your hair isn't so shiny, wavy, and long, Latinos usually know you are blended with some African blood. Spanish speaking islands outside of mainland U.S. have African influences, so that is nothing new to Hispanic people. Both cultures like women with a little meat on them, so that's about equal."


Food

"Let's get this straight. Black people like soul food. Puerto Rican food isn't soul food. It's filling -- but it's more tropical/Caribbean. A lot of black people won't eat pork and Puerto Ricans/Spanish people eat a lot of pork for meat. And if you put fried plantains in front of someone who isn't Hispanic, a lot of them won't eat it. But both soul food and Puerto Rican food is tasty. No doubt about that. My mom learned how to cook Puerto Rican food from my dad's mother, so it's all good as far as he is concerned."


Gender Roles

"In the Hispanic community, men are very much still the head of the household in all ways. Dad is usually the final decision maker, and you don't mess with what he tells you to do. My mom, being African-American, wasn't as quite used to that.

"A lot of black women are used to being the head of the house and having final say or at least are very vocal. I think my mom grew to like that, though. Knowing her husband takes care of all the tough decisions and the kids just have to deal with him if they screw up. She gets to lay back a bit."


Dating and Marriage

"Even today, Hispanic women marry young, especially Puerto Rican women. When I graduated from high school a few years ago, four of my Puerto Rican female friends were engaged -- four of them!. Another one got married the Saturday after high school graduation. Black people tend to marry later than sooner. I, myself, am seriously dating a Hispanic man and marriage has already come up. We'll see!"


Final Thoughts?

"Growing up in two cultures is simply what I've been used to. I don't know what it's like for other people too much, but I am proud of the richness of my background. Everyone should be proud of their heritage."

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