September 19, 2012 by chrystalferreira
I am not an expert in the Spanish language, nor am I an expert in the English language, so where exactly does that place me on being less of a Latina or less of an American? I’m either too Latino to be white or too white to be Latino, but honestly how can one determine how much of a certain background I am based on my proficiency in a language. In my perspective, speaking Spanish does not define being Latino, because being Latino is comprised of culture, of heritage, and pride. Of course, language is one aspect of culture, but it is no determining factor. One does not have to speak Spanish to live, breathe, and thrive Hispanic culture. For example, Julian Castro does not speak Spanish, but we still identify him as one of “our people” that has made it to a high political standing. There is not the slightest doubt that he is nonetheless Latino, I mean after all, his last name is still CASTRO. To me, being Latino is coming home to rice and beans, enjoying bachata and salsa and merengue, and watching novelas with my mom. In addition to all the exciting aspects, being Latino is about being hardworking, being passionate, and having a huge safety net to fall back on, because no matter where you’re from we’re all family. The inability to speak Spanish does not inhibit one’s Latino/a identity, it is completely the choice of the individual to identify with any culture, and this choice does not solely rely on the language one speaks. If the opposite were so, as Latinos, we would be restricted from embracing our Latino heritage as a whole. My maternal grandmother is from El Salvador, she married a Colombian man and now speaks Spanish with Colombian colloquialisms, and her use of colloquialisms does not make her any less of a Salvadorian woman.
In all, I believe that my broken Spanish does not make me any less of a Latina than perfect Spanish would.