You Don’t Look ‘Puerto Rican’

My sister has been visiting for the past couple of weeks, and this week my son looked at her and said, “Titi, you don’t look Puerto Rican.” I thought it was pretty funny, and yet I was curious to understand what my seven-year-old thought a Puerto Rican looked like.  I asked and he said she was from Texas and just didn’t look Puerto Rican.  I’m still trying to figure out what my son thinks a Puerto Rican should look like, but I’ve come to the conclusion that he was just poking fun at her rather than really stereotyping what a Puerto Rican looks like.

Yet it got me thinking and I asked myself: What do others see when they look at me?  I’ve been asked many times where I’m from and I cannot remember anyone looking at me and quickly saying, “You really look Puerto Rican.” Yet I have had people ask me if I’m a Christian, or a church goer.  I really don’t think it has to do with my external appearance, but more so because of who I am.  I’m really never offended if people mistaken my country of origin, I’ve always found it quite amusing how we stereotype what people from a certain country should look like, yet when I’ve been asked if I’m a Christian, I’ve been quite proud.

So what is it that others see when they identify that we are Christ followers?  It happened to Peter, he had walked with Christ during His time of ministry here on earth, and it was obvious that Peter looked like one of the disciples. His demeanor, way of interacting with others, and most probably character qualities resembled Jesus, and he was identified as being one of the ‘followers of Christ’.  Jesus said in John 13:35, All men will know that you are My disciples if you love one another.” It’s quite clear that Jesus was saying that you’ll ‘look like a Christian’ because of the love that is demonstrated through word and action.

So while I’m proud of my Puerto Rican heritage, I’m not too concerned about ‘looking’ Puerto Rican.  Being asked if I’m Latina is good enough for me.  Yet I am concerned that when others get to know me, they would know that I am a follower of Christ, because of the love that permeates through me.  What do you look like?

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