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The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

White Passing at Los Osos


Racial passing is where people of one racial group are perceived to look like another racial group. A specific example is White-passing, which is when someone of a different race appears White. 

I am part Native American, though I was raised in a way in which many White people act, talk, etc.

I was always aware of the fact that I am Native because my grandma has always been proud of our heritage, which I have constantly admired about her. 

She kept a tall statue of a traditional Native American chief in her living room and taught me small things about our culture that I have forgotten since I’ve grown up. 

Even though I look White due to my pale complexion, I have always felt like an outsider or an impostor because of my nationality that is at odds with what others perceive of me.

By saying that I’m of Native descent, I feel as though I would offend someone because of my appearance. Yet, by not embracing that part of myself, I feel as though I’m neglecting an important part of my heritage and family. 

Recently, I have been doing some research and talking to my grandma about traditional Native American practices, beliefs, etc. This, however, will not change how others perceive me. 

Junior Matthew Bedolla was raised mixed. He is still learning Spanish and has set up for Día de los Muertos every year. He embraces his culture by listening to Spanish music and eats his culture’s traditional food regularly

Being White-passing has hurt his confidence as he has never felt like he has fit in with other White people or other Latinos. His experiancess  inflicts feelings of self-doubt whenever he tries to interact with his culture, making him feel like an imposter in his own culture.

“I know I am faking nothing, but it feels wrong when I want to participate in my own culture,” said Bedolla.

Unfortunately, he is treated differently because of his appearance. For example, Bedolla recalls how his brother, who has a different skin tone than him, was questioned by two police officers when no one else was. 

Another Los Osos junior, who wishes to remain anonymous, feels similarly, saying, “It makes me feel like I am lying about my race or that I have to prove myself to people.” 

Junior Aiden Villalvazo-Sandoval was raised in a fully traditional Mexican household. Spanish is his first language and didn’t learn English until he entered kindergarten. 

Many people are surprised or doubtful when they discover that he is not Italian or another ethnicity due to others perceiving him as White. Due to this perception, Villalvazo-Sandoval expresses how his confidence has dropped significantly, as he loves his culture and loves embracing it.

He rarely feels as though he is faking his culture, as he knows that he is fully Mexican. However, he does worry about judgment from others when he attempts to embrace it. 

“It kinda sucks, there are times when I wish I looked more Mexican … I hate being referred to as White, but it’s something I have accepted at this point,” said Villalvazo-Sandoval. 

“Don’t let it affect you … your looks are not what define you or your culture. Be proud of your culture and where you’re from,” said Villalvazo-Sandoval. It’s very important to embrace yourself and not worry about what other people think. “People need to stop judging people just because they don’t look their race,” said Anonymous.

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