By Vito Di Stefano

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It’s time I say it, if for anyone, for myself. I, Vito Paul Di Stefano III, am mixed race. And I have to set the record straight, despite my very Italian last name. I can only say that a quarter of my genetic make up hails from that sunny peninsula.
As much respect and appreciation I have for Italian culture and my Italian ancestors and even my very uncommon name which I carry on from two grandfathers and my dad, I am more Mexican-American than anything.
To parade myself as exclusively Italian America would be false and disrespectful to many cultures.
As I have grown older and more aware to the murky, troubling race relations in this country, I have felt some confusion about my own racial identity. I am third generation Italian/Irish/Mexican American. Racial identity has never really been an issue, my family and I were always just Americans. But growing up in the South Bay, seeing the pride and care that others take in preserving their heritage, does make me see the value of bringing our ancestral or native cultures into America’s own cultural soul.
As a card-carrying member of the powerful white male community, I do see the way minorities are looked down on, even if others don’t quite understand their own short sightedness is racism, and I am aware of the basic utopia that is my life because I am accepted in this exclusive group.
Ultimately, being mixed race has given me the privilege of perception. I can see things from two sides. I can be sympathetic outside the white majority club, because I am actually not a white American. I am a mixed-race American and with my complexities comes another valuable and unique part of the American experience.

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