Sometimes I feel “too white” for the Mexican-American community and “too Mexican” for the white community.

I feel out of place in my own Hispanic community of Wasco because I speak well and hold myself to higher standards than most of the friends I had there. I also feel out of place with the white community in Bakersfield, where I live now, because I have black hair, black eyes and tan skin. I also speak with a slight Hispanic accent, according to them. People like me want to feel like we belong somewhere.

It's because we are growing up in America. We are picking up on new American customs along with our traditional ones. We are evolving into a new race — a race that accepts us for who we have become. That race will continue to grow as more people come to the United States and share American culture.

This does not just pertain to race but also to sexuality. One definition of "race" is a group or set of people with things in common, so you could say the LGBTQ community is also evolving into a new race. 

People need to understand that although we may look or act differently we all, including the LGBTQ community, have one thing in common: American culture. We enjoy holidays such as Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. We enjoy watching sports while we barbecue. We have more than we may think in common, but that is what makes us all the same.

Briana Mendez, Bakersfield