Okay, first to talk about Hispanic Heritage Month, we have to define what Hispanic means. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Hispanic is defined as “coming originally from an area where Spanish is spoken and especially from Latin America.”
I am a Hispanic, Latina, Mexican-American, and Tejana. People get caught up in the labels of it all, and they prefer to be called this and not that. But basically the term “Hispanic” was a term made up in order to label all the Spanish-speakers living in America. This is due to the fact that unlike Asians or Africans we don’t all come from the same area. Some of us are from Central America, some are from Europe, some are from the Caribbeans and some are from South America.
Now, why is this month important? In my opinion, Hispanics in the U.S. haven’t moved up the ranks on the social totem pole unlike other cultures have.
Especially when people like Ann Coulter are perpetuating the lie of “Latin American rape culture.”(Author’s note: I know not all Hispanics are Latin American.) They say these words as if other cultures don’t rape people. I’m not in any way saying rape is okay. But stereotyping an entire culture is just not right.
But our culture isn’t based on rape and drug cartels. It’s based on family. It’s based on determination, on pots of beans and piles of tortillas. It’s based on ballet folkorico, on tangos, on cuecas, on rumbas. It’s based on passion and fast talking. It’s based on a lot of love and hard work. That’s what we are. Those are our roots.
Hispanics deserve a month to be celebrated because some are too ashamed to admit they are Hispanic. In some places we don’t even get the opportunity to claim our heritage (ya know those forms that say “check if you are: white, black, Alaskan Native, Asian, or bicultural” yeah, I’m not any of those.) There are some people that look down on us because of our heritage. There are people who underestimate us because of who we are. We are a mighty group of people who should never be underestimated, but instead celebrated.