Growing up ’50-50′ in Santa Fe | Mixed American Life |
Novelist Sandra Ramos O'Briant, in an article posted on the Huffington Post's Latino Voices section, weighs in on growing up in Santa Fe
Novelist Sandra Ramos O’Briant, in an article posted on the Huffington Post’s Latino Voices section, weighs in on growing up in Santa Fe “50/50″ – Anglo and Hispanic.
She’s the author of “The Sandoval Sisters’ Secret of Old Blood,” which won International Latino Book Awards for Best Historical Fiction and Best First Book in 2013. The book is about New Mexico sisters caught up in the Mexican-American war.
Her piece in the Huffington Post, part of a “tag” blog about diversity in literature by a series of writers, is headlined “Bullied: Diversity, Differentiation, Distinction.”

“In Santa Fe, New Mexico, I attended barrio schools and was bullied for my O’Briant surname. My classmates refused to believe my mom was Latina. Being a 50/50 was not easy. Diversity is a term I embrace, and not just ethnically. I hate being stereotyped and having my choices restricted, not only in my life, but in the lives I create for my characters.It begins:
“Most of my characters have been set apart from others in some way. A bullied child is an isolated child, and reading was my escape … . What I learned is that there is more that humans have in common with one another than what racially, ethnically or culturally separates us. The kids who bullied me acted out of ignorance that had been passed down for generations. I was lonely, but gained strength from my isolation; I learned to make my own path.”
O’Briant, born in 1949, then introduces her novel and continues:
“That’s the long way of saying that I began my historical research to answer the burning question that had so cruelly affected my youth: Why did the Latino kids in Santa Fe hate Anglos, especially Texans?
“Answering this question led to an examination of war, class, education, the role of women, religion and superstition during the Mexican-American War. Santa Fe, N.M., an area now known as an artistic and tourist mecca, was the first foreign capital conquered by the U.S. It had a profound impact on the people there.”
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