How much does language define your identity?

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September 17, 2012 by natha17

As I look around in our community I can’t help but notice the high percentage of people who define themselves as Latinos and don’t speak Spanish. As I interact with these people I come to the conclusion that their love and desire for the Latino culture does not decrease any less due to their lack of understanding of the language. Being Latino is not defined by having the ability of speaking Spanish but by understanding and living the culture. Being Latino is something that you have in your blood, it’s in your heart and there are no material characteristics visible to the human eye that can fully define this. I have close friends who were brought to the US when they were very young and therefore don’t speak very fluent Spanish, but they still went to the troubles and struggles that one goes through to define his/her culture and identity. Being Latino is defined beyond a language, it’s in what you do and how you do it, it’s in the love for one’s culture, music, and diversity. Latinos are one the few if not only cultural group that is spread out in two different continents with cultures that vary completely starting with the way we speak to the way we eat, dress, and dance, this makes us truly special because it expands the ways in which we exhibit our culture and identity as Latinos overall. This makes not being able to speak Spanish very insignificant in a culture that is so rich in diversity. Having a basic understanding of our believes and basic values is enough to exhibit the strength of the Latino culture anywhere we go. In fact there are many from other cultural groups that identify themselves as Latinos due to their understanding of the culture, not necessarily the ability to speak the language.

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