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Will the next generation of Latinos actually be Latino?

Jessenia Martinez

My wife is pregnant.

Yes, it’s pretty great news.

Our daughter is due in January. We’ve never been parents, so by next summer, I’ll be one of those annoying first-time fathers who believes the most important thing in the world is his baby’s capacity for drool. Just wait, I’ll be blogging about it day and night. This may cut into the readership of the 19.3 million mommy bloggers out there, so I apologize in advance for usurping their authority.

But with all the hectic preparation for the child’s arrival, and careful time set aside for crippling self-doubt and solipsistic panic attacks, I’ve barely had time to ponder the political ramifications of this kid. That has to change.

Let’s start with the obvious: My child will only be one-quarter Hispanic. This is because I am half-Salvadoran and half-European mix. My wife is primarily German. As such, there’s an outside shot our daughter will possess her mother’s blond hair. That’s right…blond!

So will she still identify as a Latina? If she does, is this stretching the definition? If she doesn’t, is it a rejection of her culture?

The country, as we’ve heard many times before, is moving toward a multiethnic population, where strict racial parameters become a thing of the past. My child will be evidence of this. Currently, 9 million people — or 2.9 percent of the population — identify as multiethnic. In fact, multiracial kids are the fastest growing youth group in America.

And as with all things cultural, political, or just plain cool, Hispanics are driving the changes. As we all know, interracial marriages (which often lead, of course, to multiethnic children) have reached an all-time high in America. And “45 percent of interracial straight married couples feature one Hispanic partner,” making it the top combo.

My parents were apparently trendsetters. And my wife and I are near the front of the parade. But among my family and friends, Latino/white children are fairly common.

Of course, I’ve also heard of more exotic combinations. A friend of mine has Vietnamese/Swedish kids, while another has Korean/Norwegian offspring. A couple I know has Arab/Jewish children (that’s really giving peace a chance).

But those are rare and funky dualities on the road to racial harmony. Much more common are kids who have at least a dash of Latino in them.

And this leads to an intriguing situation. Latino culture is a distinct entity, but with more Hispanics (like me) finding blonde people irresistible, the next generation of Hispanics will likely view their Latin American roots as just one part of their story. They will be Latinos, but with a twist.

In essence, my wife and I will be raising a child who, once upon a time, might have been considered exotic, or caught between two worlds. But in today’s USA, she will be viewed as just another all-American girl.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. Daniel Ruiz says:

    Congrats on the baby. Whether your daughter identifies with being Latina comes down to you. If you raise your daughter to be a true Latina then she will know hair color, skin color, and last name mean nothing in terms of being Latina. Literally anyone can be Latino including your daughter. That is how it is done in Latin America, at least in the developed areas. If you raise her following the US created myth that being Latino means you are brown and/or have Spanish name, then she is likely to reject it. Reject the US myth. She will thank you for it.

  2. Maria ocasio says:

    i was born in NYC; my mom born in Puerto Rico; my dad born in NYC. Proud of my heritage and always will be.

  3. lydia says:

    My husband is caucasion,English to be specific and I’m Latina. I try to help them find out about both of our cultures…I view them as little Latinas though.

  4. Nope.. Like italians none of them speak read or write spanish.. Also they are even ashamed of being latino because of what others think.. I am 2nd generation Nuyorican and I am very proud.. PEOPLE WILL GUESS FIRST I AM FROM NEW YORK BEFORE THEY GUESS SOY HIJO DE BORICUEN

  5. Good question. Great article.

  6. “Of course, I’ve also heard of more exotic combinations. A friend of mine has Vietnamese/Swedish kids, while another has Korean/Norwegian offspring. A couple I know has Arab/Jewish children (that’s really giving peace a chance).” “And this leads to an intriguing situation. Latino culture is a distinct entity, but with more Hispanics (like me) finding blonde people irresistible.” Hmmm, that seems problematic.

  7. Great article – I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with having multiracial children. I think its up to the parents of whether that want to teach the cultures of where they are from. And I’m not only speaking of the “Hispanic” culture, this could be of others as well.

  8. Are they even “Latino” now?

  9. Your daughter’s lineage will be Salvadoran and German. You, like most parents, will want to raise her to be a good human being. Anything else is of little importance, imo. Congratulations and god bless your family.

  10. Latinos are by definition mixed. I’m Irish, Spanish, and Native American mix from Bolivia. For the sake of American societal construct, Latino is a race. Latinos will continue to be distinct cultural and racial group especially in places like Texas and California where Latinos retain their identities for many generations. This is evident in places like NYC with Boricuas, Italians in the East Coast, and Latinos in San Antonio. They all have created their own version of the American culture with a cultural mix to it. The better question is will the rest of America be accepting of Latinos redefining the US culture?

  11. I also have to be critical of the writer, this article seems a bit ignorant. In South America we are all Latinos and we come in all shapes and sizes. A Spanish and Native mixed South American isn’t any less Latino than a Blond haired South American. Latin America isn’t a race, it is region of the world that shares similarities, primarily language and religion.

  12. Word, Oscar. Try telling my green eyed blond mother and grandmother that they are anything but 100% puerto rican. We come in all colors. We determine whether our children grow up with their culture not by breeding them to look latino, because there is no such thing as a latino look…but by raising them with strog vinculos to their community and culture

  13. Well said Johanna Mc Morrow.

  14. I have a feeling after I read this I’ll be really pissed

  15. YEs they will be.

  16. Nice piece. I would argue that they will be what they feel comfortable being. And that should be good enough.

  17. I think they will remember what us parents have taught them as far as our Latino culture, will it be going down all the generation . I think they will if we teach them about their culture . I am PR and my family is totally mixed my kids are Spanish Americans married to women from other cultures but we still keep our Spanish in us through food, culture and memories.

  18. if i ever find my perfect Asian woman,then no

  19. Why does it matter? While it is important to me that my [future] kids speak spanish, I wouldn’t be offended if they didn’t identify as Latinos. What is important is that they feel supported and grow up to be good people. I would rather they view themselves as “citizens of the world” whose experiences are nuanced by their heritage than attaching themselves to a label. Although, you know, obviously I’d disown them if they rooted against México in the World Cup. Just kidding. Kind of. :)

  20. @Erika.. I agree, its all about if they identify as “latinos” and make our values and traditions their own. Though I would rather have them identify as Mexican American, Puertorican american, etc.

  21. @Johanna… The physical features of your mother and grandmother will make them less latino, in instances not Latinas at all, in the eyes of many of the people living in countries south of the border

  22. Migdia Chinea says:

    Congratulations on your new baby!! Most Cuban-Americans are of Spanish and other heritage. With my light straight hair and hazel eyes, I am often confused with Nordic and last night, at a gathering, my best friend from Nebraska said I look whiter than she does. But I feel very much a part of my culture, my family’s exile, and get misty-eyed when I hear Lecuona’s Siboney. As a general rule, there few successful Hispanics I’m entertainment and few in academia to look up to. Whether they’re rubios or triguenos. The look is not so much the issue. Irish people of different religions fought
    each other for years and no one wondered how they could tell each other apart. So we are different somehow to the greater population and most of us are still struggling and when some of do make it, we have non Hispanics like Ben Affleck (see “Argo” Tony Mendez) portray us on the screen. Ironic, huh? Migdia Chinea UCLA MFA TFTDM 2012.

  23. Migdia Chinea says:

    Sorry for errors. I’m in iPhone.

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