Bekah Martinez Responds to Claims She's Not 'Mexican Enough' for Parents Latina Cover: 'I'm Proud'
The 26-year-old Bachelor alum and her two children — daughter Ruth Ray De La Luz, 2, and 8-month-old son Franklin James — smile on the cover of the magazine's April/May 2021 issue, in which she recalls growing up in a blended family. Her mother comes from a Lithuanian and Polish background, while her father's parents were Mexican immigrants.
Martinez told Parents Latina that she's faced comments like, " 'Oh, you don't look Mexican,' or 'I wouldn't have guessed you were Mexican.' "
"We live in Long Beach, California. There's a big Latino population here, and when people try to talk to me in Spanish, I feel a twinge of pain, like 'Uh, I don't really speak it.' But regardless of whether others think I fit the profile or not, I am very proud of my Mexican heritage," she says.
On Tuesday, shortly after the magazine cover was revealed, Martinez shared negative messages she received on Instagram, including some that said "lmao you are NOT latina" and "it's nice to be latin when it's convenient."
"It's weird how you get to take up space in the Latina world.. aren't you half white? Don't even speak Spanish? Culturally are you even Latina?" read yet another DM she shared.
In her caption, Martinez explains she "hesitated" to do the magazine cover because she anticipated reactions like these.
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"This has been such an exciting experience for me, but it hasn't come without a sense of sadness," she writes. "I hesitated to even accept the offer of being featured in @parentslatina because I just didn't feel 'Mexican enough'."
"Comments like the ones in the second photo hit at deep insecurities. I'm so proud of my Latina heritage," adds Martinez. "But I've been told all my life I don't look the part. If only these people knew the tears I've cried over wishing I could have spoken to my grandparents in their native tongue. If only they knew the longing I've had to be a 'real Mexican'."
She says she's "sad" because she also knows "where these people are coming from."
"I know there are struggles and discrimination that come from being 'visibly Mexican' that I will never experience. I know there is deep-seated colorism within the Latino community," Martinez says. "I know there are so many benefits and opportunities I gain from my whiteness. I think we can acknowledge all of these things at once and hold space for everyone in this conversation."
"At the end of the day, this was such a huge step in publicly embracing a part of me that I hold so close to my heart," she adds. "I'm Latina and I'm proud. No one can take that away from me. ♥️🇲🇽"