Bi-racial? Bi-cultural? Bi-what?

My paternal grandparents are Cuban. So what does that make me? I’ve been struggling with this since before starting grad school, but now I feel more pressure than ever to figure out “who” I am. I need to know how to identify myself so that I know how to best relate to clients and community members I may work with in the future. I feel as though I’ve stumbled along last semester and part of this semester, but I think I’m coming closer to answers.

There are many others in my cohort who identify themselves as being a part of two or more races or ethnicities. I have found incredible comfort knowing they have the same confusing questions I do. I have a terrible American accent. Does that mean I’m not Latina enough? My skin color is very light. How does my privilege affect my interactions with some of my Latino clients?

In the next week or two, a few of us in my cohort are going to get together to talk about this experience with faculty and staff. We’re going to talk about how our heritage and background should be included in what we’re learning at the School of Social Work and discuss how we can integrate it into practice.  I may not have all the answers I want, but I know I’m supported. I know I have a space here to ask these hard questions and learn from others. picture from


About Kim Swanson

Hello! I'm Kim. I'm a first year, full-time student at the School of Social Work, and I'm loving it! Classes are small, professors are very approachable, and my classmates have been super friendly. I just moved back to North Carolina from Texas after a year working as a family case manager at a shelter for immigrants through AmeriCorps. Being back in NC is great (I'm sipping Cheerwine as I type!), but being in Austin opened my eyes to the struggles of immigrant families. I learned how necessary community organizing and education are in order to ensure positive experiences for both U.S. born individuals and our new community members and am excited to be placed at the Centro para Familias Hispanas in Raleigh for my field experience. Please let me know if you have any questions. I'm more than happy to help out!
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