September 19, 2012 by gmayra
Spanish is known to be our most common cultural language but when has it ever defined our culture? “It is not unusual for a Latino [person] to not speak Spanish.” Spanish is just another element in the chemistry of the Latino culture, but never has it been the foundation. Understanding and living the Latino culture is the basis of the definition for Latinos.
For instance, my younger sister unfortunately developed broken Spanish and has trouble understanding and expressing herself to my parents and I; however; that does not make her any less Latina. She practices every other characteristic of our Latino culture and can feel it in the soul. The feeling of being Latino, the pride of living the culture, and the joy of understanding each carne asada, each piñata, each posada, each quinceñera, each Hispanic Heritage Month, makes her a Latina. Although she might never be able to portray you her Latino cultural background and mind set; she has within her blood, her heart, her soul, herself. She is Latina.
Like my sister any other Latin- American, Mexican, Brazilian, Honduran, or Chilean, might not have learned or spoken Spanish but are Latinos. Quite frankly it is as if we Latinos were at a crossroad; too much Spanish is ghetto, no Spanish we are no longer Latinos? Again it does not matter what we speak. If we are Latinos at heart, then we make up the Latino culture. Speaking Spanish does not define Latino. If it would then Spanish people would be Latinos too? No, it is just another aspect to their culture like language is to ours. So fluent, broken, or no Spanish makes no difference. Being Latino is a privilege an every Latino is privileged and language will never take their culture away. In conclusion speaking Spanish will never define a Latino, so never must one say “your not Latino because you don’t speak Spanish.” That is just irrelevant.