Mexican American

Before coming to Iowa my culture and ethnicity was never brought into question. I was like everyone else. I was part of a minority that was the majority in my city. Here even with people I know form home in Iowa question how I identify myself. I am Mexican-American. There no ifs, ands, or buts. A book I began reading defines Mexican-American as a person of Mexican descent born in America. Both of my parents immigrated from Mexico, and my mother came here when she was just a young girl with my grandparents and her siblings. I personally don’t like the terms Hispanic or Latino. I take pride in my culture and heritage. Yet I feel I constantly find my identity being called into question. Sometimes our identity is based on stereotypes, assumptions, and skin color.

In Iowa this is something, I feel, is in full force. Many people here go off of stereotypes and what they assume are norms for the other cultures. In reality ethnicity or race is based on skin color, as is so often something pointed out in our society, and our ancestry. I know I am Mexican-American because I am still part of the second/third generations of my family that have immigrated here to the US. Yet people think they have the right to tell me I’m not Mexican-American and I just look like I am. This is told to me solely because I do not speak much Spanish, do not like Spicy food, am picky with what is considered traditional Mexican food (I’m picky with all food, and I mean extremely). Most of these are stereotypes or ideals set forth by out society. They are not questioning my identity based on my lack of knowledge of the culture, where my parents come from or my ancestry. To put this in to complete simplicity they judge me based off what they believe makes me or doesn’t make me a apart of my own culture. Its a part of my identity that has haunted me for many years and until I had entered community college did I finally make peace with knowing that only I could truly decide what I am. Since then I’ve tried to learn more about my culture and heritage that I do not already know from books.

This brings me to another conclusion I’ve realized since being in Iowa. All of us here from Texas have at least a small sense of the Hispanic culture in general, and have learned a bit of what our people have faced over the years and some traditions we celebrate as a city, but all the Hispanics here in Iowa don’t seem to have any kind of pride. So many of them have assimilated that being Hispanic, Mexican, Guatemalan, or Puerto Rican(sorry if I’m misspelling that) is merely something that they’ve come to check off on their paper work. Some merely keep the language alive, but have no clue how much impact we are having on our society today and will continue to do so in the future. None of them seem to have a clue about their past or what some have overcome so they can enjoy the freedoms they have now as well as the equality we have achieved. But also that they are needed to help push for the equality we deserve.
March 27th, 2015 at 05:38pm