September 18, 2012 by shernandez5
In my opinion, the ability to speak Spanish fluently is just another attribute of being Latino. Not being able to speak the language, or to speak it perfectly, doesn’t deprive you from representing the Latin culture. I’ve personally had friends who weren’t born in a latin country, but have had Latino family members and it’s from them whom they acquire their Latin ways. They don’t speak Spanish fluently, nor do they fit the stereotypical Latino image, but the magnitude of the passion that they have for the Latino culture is what I consider important and relevant characteristics of being Latino. On the other hand, I’ve also met people who are the total opposite in regards to representing being Latino. I remember a fellow classmate back in high school who was born in Mexico, but was brought over to the United States at a very early age. His parents were, what some may refer as, “Mexicanos de verdad”, but when it came to him personally he didn’t refer to himself as Mexican or even Latino. Yes, he spoke Spanish very well and was born in a Latin country along with having immediate connection to the Latin culture, but he, individualistically, didn’t categorized himself as a Latino. This just goes to show that how well you speak Spanish doesn’t really have a correlation with how Latino you really are.
These two very different examples, that I’ve personally encountered, have reassured me of what it really means to be Latino. I define being Latino as fully embracing the Latin culture and heritage and also representing your roots! I don’t believe, in any way, that speaking the language that corresponds to the Latin culture entitles you as a Latino. Being Latino goes way beyond the language. Inevitably, to others,the inability to speak Spanish can seem like a invalidity of being one hundred percent Latino. Although, from my point of view, that specific inability should not take away from your own Latin identity.