It’s the end of Hispanic Heritage Month and I thought it was time to get a little personal. Yes, I am Hispanic, I know to some people this is so miraculous because I am so fair skinned- LOL. Well, let me shed a light on the little subject of culture and what being Hispanic means to me.
I grew up in a predominantly white (Caucasian if you want to be proper) area and NEVER felt a certain way, but I look back and realize, all of my upbringing until high school was so separated. I would hang out with my friends and things would be a certain way and then I would visit family (even on a ranch in Mexico) and everything would be so drastically different. All that being said, I still felt like just me? Why did everything have to be so categorized?
As a got older, I realized we segregate ourselves. I remember being the only person whose grandfather was wearing a cowboy hat at the Christmas play. Did this bother me? No, I didn’t even realize that was strange or different until it was brought to my attention. I was just happy my family was there to support me. I was thinking, can you believe my grandparents drove six hours to come support me?
Sometimes I felt so disconnected being in the middle. It’s like living a double life- sorta. It was me in both scenarios, but the scenery vastly different. Because of my background, I was selected for different leadership programs and represented Hispanics in many ways. If I didn’t show up to these events and start speaking Spanish it was an insult and I wasn’t considered proud of my heritage. Little did these people know, I am an introvert, speaking English and meeting new people had me nervous as it was. It had nothing to do with heritage or culture and everything to do with being shy. And as Selena’s dad said, “You have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more White than the White people.” But I was always thinking, why can’t I just be me?
In some cases, I did feel not Hispanic, Mexican, or Latina enough but I didn’t really care. I blended in with the Caucasians and my family loved me for who I was. I was born in America so I had the American experience and had the BIG Mexican family to bring and keep the culture alive. Being Hispanic to me meant having the best of both worlds. I wish more people would see it like this. Let’s stop comparing everything and unite to be one. Who really cares if a Hispanic person doesn’t speak perfect Spanish (I do speak Spanish by the way), is that really important? The beauty of each one of us is the uniqueness about us.
The inspiration for this post came from my love for my Hispanic culture and everything about it. And of course my love for TACOS! I hope that one day we can embrace, educate, and understand the racial barriers we create for ourselves. Imagine that?