Student becomes more acquainted with her racial heritage in college

Gerardo Gonzalez

“What are you mixed with?” 

For nutrition junior Kiana Majors, it’s a question she’s forced to wrestle with frequently. 

Her father is black and her mother is Spanish and Mexican. Although she identifies with all three elements of her heritage now, she hasn’t always embraced her background. 

Growing up, Majors spoke Spanish and cooked tamales with her mother. Though she is close to her parents, Majors said she didn’t feel she could open up dialogue within her family about being a black and Hispanic person.

“I didn’t have that support from my family,” Majors said. “Now, (in college), everyone just wants you to open up.”

Majors tried out several organizations for black and Latino students but could not completely relate to students of either ethnicity.  

“I’ve always had trouble fitting in,” Majors said. “I’m an outgoing person but even at UT, the black community is very close-knit. They have really strong cultural backgrounds and I never had that.”

However, Majors has managed to make a home for herself in an unexpected place — powerlifting. Her father even gave her an old lifting belt of his after she joined Longhorn Powerlifting at UT.

“Powerlifting is the only place that I really feel I fit in because it’s not about race,” Majors said. “We just lift. It’s so diverse and no one really says anything about it. We’re like a family.” 

It’s with this family that Majors said she spends most of her time at UT. In her search to understand her background more, she wants to continue to branch out and go beyond her comfort zone. 

“I’m still trying to find out who I am because I hate not knowing what my background is,” Majors said. “I want to be able to celebrate something.”