A recent conversation with a good friend made me think about how the media makes it very difficult for people who are bicultural to fit in the U.S.
I remember the day my granddaughter asked me this question for the first time, it left me speechless: "Abuela, what's better? To be Mexican, or American?"
I had to think carefully about what my response was going to be. But, because I had already read many books and heard many stories of Latina leaders talking about their identities, I was able to give this response: "Baby, you don't have to choose. That's the beauty of it. You can be anything you want; you can, and should be, proud of both."
She hasn’t asked that question again. And she cheers for the Mexican team during World Cups, or Olympic games, just as much as she roots for the USA teams. And we have a lot of fun when it’s Mexico vs USA games!
Now, going back to my point on why I think the media has played a big role in this. I think it’s because we have too many "Take This Quiz to Find Out How Latino Are You," or "You are a Real Mexican if You Eat/Watch/Grew Up/Say" quizzes.
I wish there was an easy way to explain how much damage we do to kids when we don’t encourage them to be proud of their Latino heritage. But there isn’t. However, I can tell you what helped me to better understand it. It was by reading, and paying close attention to what other community members have gone through.
All I can say for now is that I am relieved to see my granddaughter, and my daughter being proud of who they are, and I'll keep working towards supporting those who feel they have to choose one identity over the other, just because someone, or something, told them they are not "really" this or that.
|Andrea (my granddaughter) proudly showing how much she loves tortas.|