Dominant Influences of My Cultural Shaping Part 4: External Influences
I didn’t have a complete picture of my racial identity until I became a Christian, I was
twenty-one years old.
I don’t remember anyone taking me by the hand and mentoring me until the age of twenty-three, when I met my pastor Ismael Vargas. He modelled for me how he takes his Puerto-Rican American culture and roots it in Christ. I once shared with him I didn’t feel adequate because I’m Hispanic and a woman. His response blew my mind. He said, “Yes, you are Hispanic and a woman, but you are a Hispanic woman of God. You belong to God and any door is closed or opened by God. He is your identity and your strength. He can use you and He will.”
This gave me a complete picture of who I am, a Hispanic intelligent woman who is sealed and approved by God Himself. After him, many more of my Christian professors from many ethnic and cultural backgrounds have been such an encouragement in my walk with Christ and in my racial identity formation.
The most influential aspect of my demographics and my overall worldview is my Christian faith, first and mostly. Secondly, my gender as a woman influences me and my decisions or my thought processes. Thirdly, my American values follow closer than my Hispanic values, perhaps because I still hold a negative view of Hispanics.
Although I serve the Hispanic community and I do love my people, I still have much healing to do from my past. I believe that moving forward healing in this area is something I will need to tackle more intentionally in order to be able to further facilitate the continuous growth and development of my racial identity. I can also be more intentional in developing friendships with Hispanic men since they are the ones I avoid the most. Lastly, I can engage in conversation with more blond and blue eyed people, to overcome my fears.