In America you learn at a young age that being different is like having a disability. You learn this when the Colonization Era began. Since 1492. They teach you this at school, they teach you that having a different appearance, a different language, and a different culture was wrong and you had to be reprimanded for it. You had to be Americanized, you had to be like everybody else. You had to be static. The same. If not you would be looked down on. Us people, us humans, who were "different," we were rich.
Not money rich, not wealth rich, but culture rich.
We were rich in that sense.
Something that Americans or these colonizers did not know. Or maybe they did know and that was why they wanted all of us to change, to be just like them. Because they felt left out, but not us. We did not feel left out.
WE STILL DON'T FEEL LEFT OUT.
We still cherish our culture.
If we didn't, we would all be the same, we would be americanized and we would all be stripped from our identity.
You learn this at a young age.
You learn that you are not suppose to be diferente,
and that's sad because as a child you start to self-doubt yourself or your parents. You start to question your identity and your culture. You start to ask questions like, "why are my parents different, why do my parents speak only Spanish (or any other language), why do they cook different foods (tortillas/ chorizo con huevos), and why are their names different (first and last name). You start to change so you can fit in. You start to lose your culture, the culture that your parents worked so hard to maintain...
Especially in a country where you're looked down on, or verbally or physical reprimanded for sticking with your culture and your language.
I grew up not wanting to be latina.
I grew up being ashamed of being different
Of having a different language,
Of talking with an accent.
I grew up being made fun of because of my accent and the ESOL classes I was in, which the only reason for me being in that class was because I was Latina.
This is what they teach you in school,
that it is wrong to be different.
As I got older, now, I realized that having a different culture/language/accent/ethnicity or race is AMAZING.
ITS POWER. It's enrichment and richness.
I'm proud to be latina or hispanic.
I'm proud of my culture and everything that includes being part of the Latin American/ Central American/ Salvadoran culture.
There are kids who struggle with their identity,
they don't know who they are suppose to be.
They don't know how to manage their two cultures
the American "culture" and their parent's culture that is being taught at home.
In American, you are not suppose to be Hispanic-American, African-America, Asian-American... you have to be AMERICAN.
They are afraid of us
& that brings me joy, because they are afraid of what we can do to America. They're afraid of how we can change this monolingual, mono-cultural country to multicultural and multilingual country.
They are afraid that we will be the majority.
We are the change.
Us "different people."
Don't be afraid to express your identity
& you're identity is everything that shapes you, everything that makes you,
your language, your culture, your religion, your ethnicity/race your outward appearance and inward appearance, the clothes your wear, the food you eat, the dances, and the music you listen to.
Don't let society rule you.
Remember that every norm made,
every social construct that you "have to follow,"
is man-made or idealized by society.
You don't have to follow these norms/social constructs to make others feel better about themselves.
Just embrace your identity.
Embrace your "different-ness."