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.
On my dad’s side of the family, I am part of the first generation whose first language is English. My grandparents immigrated from Mexico and became citizens of the USA around 50 years ago. Then when the came to the states, they lived in places with a predominate Hispanic population. So they never really needed to learn English. I grew up hearing Spanish, I understand it completely. If you give me something in Spanish, I can tell you what you said in English. It’s just speaking that’s my problem. Conjugating, grammar, forming thoughts, sentence structures. It’s hard for my mouth to keep up with my thoughts in English, so to do it in Spanish (and with proper grammar) is like 10 times harder.
My grandparents always seem to think that there’s language barrier that affects our relationship. They say that I need to “learn the language of my people.” But I don’t think there is such thing as a language barrier when it comes to love.
See my great grandmother is almost 103, over my 19 years on this earth we have had few conversations. She only speaks Spanish, I mainly speak English. But more than anything, I know she love me and I love her. She thinks of me daily and has prayed over me every single day since before I was even conceived. She is so proud of me and all that I am becoming. That’s love.
Love is such a strong thing that expands beyond something as little as language. Love is more than words stringed together into perfect sentences. Love is better than all the letters, words, phrase, sentences, paragraphs. Love knows no languages. It bonds together the sweetest of relationships that no one can explain. No words can quite describe love. But in some weird way, love is a language. It’s everyone’s first language. We come out of the womb with love.
I wrote this for my sociology class and I got a lot of positive feedback on it, so here it is:
I stand with the Black Lives Matter movement. No, I am not saying that only black lives matter, because I believe that we all have the right to live. This is a basic right that should never be taken away from us based on creed, color, occupation or orientation. But the Black Lives Matter movement brings to light the countless lives being lost due to police brutality. Black Lives Matter is not an anti-police movement, because not all policemen are bad. Just like in everything, there is good and there is bad. The Black Lives Matter movement is a way to say we will not stay silent as countless black lives are being slain for little to no reason without the killers receiving adequate punishment. A black person should not have to worry that a normal traffic stop could turn into their last moments. A black child should not have to worry if their mom or dad will come home every time they leave their house. Yes, all lives do matter, but right now is the time to bring focus on the fact that black lives matter. I saw this on one of the countless social media discussions and I believe that it accurately shows what I mean by that “Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter is like this, Bob is sitting at the dinner table. Everyone else gets a plate of food except Bob. Bob says “Bob Deserves Food”. Everyone at the table responds with “Everyone Deserves Food” and continues eating. All though Everyone Deserves Food is a true statement, it does nothing to actually rectify the fact that BOB HAS NO FOOD!!” All lives matter takes away from the focus that black lives matter. We as society need to pull together to ensure the safety of all individuals. That way all lives are able to live despite their creed, color, occupation or orientation.