Franchesca Fraire: Beauty in Diversity

The Texas Story Project.

"In Diversity there is beauty and there is strength."

Franchesca Fraire (born Franchesca Garza), was born on December 3, 1974, in El Paso, Texas. Franchesca struggled to find comfort in her identity growing up as a Japanese Mexican American woman. This struggle began at a young age because her Caucasian Grandparents never understood the world of a minority. Her grandparents adopted her Mom from Japan as a child, but Japanese culture was never integrated into the lives of Franchesca or her mother. Growing up, Franchesca found that her grandparents were very racially insensitive, referring to their neighbors as "the Mexicans, the Chinamen, and the Negros." Franchesca even recalled being told that while her Mom was dating her Hispanic Father that he was not even allowed to walk up to the door. This mentality that her grandparents raised her around made it hard for Franchesca to find comfort and security in who she was. She understood that beauty was white, with blonde hair and blue eyes and she did not have any of those things.

It also didn't help that her father's side of the family was very Americanized because they wanted to be accepted in the workplace so that they could be successful. Her dad even changed his name to sound more American, so people wouldn't know that he was Hispanic. She was not taught Spanish or really integrated into Mexican culture either because her father wanted her to be accepted as well. This too made it hard for her to accept and be comfortable with who she was. The world she was raised in made her feel as though she had to look and act like an American to be successful, so she wasn't ever acclimated to her cultures because she was taught that it wasn't necessary for success, or even survival.

As she grew older, people at school would make fun of her slanted eyes. She constantly felt like an outsider, and people always seemed to make her feel that way unknowingly. In college, she worked in a bar as a bartender, and older men would make comments about her exotic looks, unknowingly making her uncomfortable and setting her apart once again.

As Franchesca reached early adulthood, she married a man named Tom Fraire. Tom grew up in El Paso and was deeply rooted in his family's Mexican culture. She also worked for a school that had a large Hispanic population that made her feel out of place for not being able to communicate in Spanish with them. Franchesca longed to have a better understanding of her culture. While working at a high school in Clint, Texas, she met a teacher who taught her how to cook Mexican food and opened her eyes to the beauty of Mexican culture. She finally had begun to see how amazing her culture was and found a true sense of what it meant to be a Chicana. Cooking gave her a chance to bond with her husband and his family on a more personal level.

Franchesca moved to Fort Worth, Texas with her family in 2011. Moving to Fort Worth helped Franchesca grow more comfortable with being who she is. A large part of this was her relationship with God. This newfound relationship helped her grow as a person and in turn, she began to love and embrace who she really was. Recently in July 2019, Franchesca met a group of Asian Women, and together they will be writing an Anthology about (Un) Asianess written by Asian women with similar experiences of lost cultural identity due to adoption or immigration. This group has helped her feel more comfortable with the disconnect she felt with her Japanese culture. Franchesca is a woman who has overcome adversity and devoted her life to loving others and helping others succeed. Today, she is finishing up her Ph.D. at Texas Christian University. She is a licensed therapist, a yoga instructor, a mother of three, and a Gold distributor for the Multi-Level marketing company, "Young Living."

Though her journey to finding who she was through her culture was a rocky one, she continues on the road to discovery.

Thomas Daniel Fraire was born in El Paso, and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. He is a Junior Dean's List Schooler on the Pre-Law track at St. Mary's University. Thomas is involved in many things on campus such as the Marinist Leadership Program, is a Freshman Orientation Leader, and is the President of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. Thomas has also published another article on the Texas Story Project titled, "From Segundo to Notre Dame and Back to Texas."

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