No Spanish, Not a Latino?

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September 19, 2012 by jmendez14

To each and every person the definition of being a Latino is different, so how can anybody decide if speaking Spanish makes a person more or less of a Latino? In my opinion, speaking Spanish does not define what it means to be a Latino. Not speaking a certain language doesn’t make a person any more or less of part of that Latino culture than anybody else who does speak the language. While I comprehend Spanish I am not a fluent Spanish speaker. To me though, I don’t feel any less of a Latino than someone who is Spanish-speaking dominant. I know others who are Latinos fluent in Spanish or use Spanish as their first language, but I feel just as much as Latinos as them.   All language is communication; it varies all over the world. There are people who live in Latin American countries who don’t speak Spanish. They consider themselves as Latinos even though they may not speak the official language of that country.

I define being a Latino by embracing your heritage and Latin American background; to take pride in your country of your origin. Taking part in Latin American customs and keeping your ancestors’ traditions with you is what makes up the Latino definition. Being a Latino is about embracing the food, the music, and Latino values.

A person’s inability to speak Spanish or not speak it well may hinder others’ opinion of that person. They may see that individual is not fully embracing the Latino culture, but in reality that is not necessarily true.  I partake in the cultural elements of being a Latina. I eat Latin foods; I have Spanish customs, have values that derive from the Latino culture. Those some of the things that help define someone as a Latino. Having proper Spanish speaking skills or broken Spanish or no Spanish speaking ability does not label a person as a person of Latino culture.

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