“You Don’t Speak Spanish? But, You’re Latina.”

I didn’t forget about “Real Talk Sundays”, I had some technical difficulties yesterday and so I am going to be “Real Talking” into Monday – I hope you don’t mind.

Let’s start with my handle on the Spanish language – I am dangling on to it by my pinkies. I can say my Spanish is better than I thought it was, but that isn’t saying much. It’s getting better every week, but it’s still a frustrating process.

My distant relationship with my mother-tongue is a result of forced cultural assimilation and the prejudice that was prevalent in the United States, specifically Colorado, when my parents were growing up. (Let’s be real, this is just as prevalent today). As a result, the language was lost.

Growing up in New Mexico allowed me to live in an environment that nurtured my cultural identity. As I grew older, the desire to connect with my roots on a deeper level by learning Spanish burrowed deeper.

It is difficult being a young brown girl whose tongue is not split in two. You don’t really fit in anywhere. You are shunned and considered “white” by Latinos who can speak Spanish and don’t share the same historical/cultural perspective; while at the same time considered “too brown” for everyone else.

This is a topic I can go on, and on, and on about. Believe me, I have, and will continue to do so; but not here, in this post….

The pain that was created from this “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” attitude has followed me around my whole life. It has pushed me to be educated about my people. It has pushed me to educate others. It has made learning Spanish one of my top priorities.

The Spanish here, is entirely different from the Spanish I would be using if I were living in Mexico. I knew that when I decided to come here. That doesn’t bother me. I am so grateful to have this opportunity, and I am even more grateful for the incredible patience everyone has shown me and their eagerness to aid in my journey.

To be continued. . .

2 thoughts on ““You Don’t Speak Spanish? But, You’re Latina.”

  1. i feel you, and envy that you are moving forward in your quest! My maternal side is of Nuevo and my paternal Mexico, but due to the same discriminations, they not dare teach us to speak their first language!! So sad 😦 Thank you for sharing your journey – love the updates! (btw, I am a friend of Rose Sanchez).

    1. Thank you for reading! And thank you for commenting and sharing part of your story. It’s so comforting to know we’re not alone in this experience. Yay, give you her a big hug for me if/when you see her!!

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