Hispanic in the South

Have you ever seen the movie 'Selena'?

It's about the Mexican-American singer who was shot and killed in 1995 at the age of 23.
(This movie also made J.Lo famous)
Anyway, there's this scene when Selena's dad, Abraham, is going on a rant on how difficult it is to be Mexican-American.
"We've got to know about John Wayne and Pedro Infante...Oprah and Cristina... American food is too bland and yet when we go to Mexico we get the runs!... We have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans, both at the same time! It's exhausting!"
It's a humorous part of the film and maybe he's exaggerating it a bit, but I can somewhat relate.
(Check the scene here, jump to 6:50 in the video)

Since I grew up in Miami it really wasn't that big of a deal being Hispanic-American. My friends and I were all weird hybrids. We love frijoles and cheeseburgers, Salsa and classic rock, Que Pasa USA and Friends. We all identify with the countries of our origins ("I'm Puerto Rican," "I'm Cuban," "I'm Nicaraguan") without having to add the silly 'American' part. We speak in a blend of Spanish and English, Spanglish. And it's fine, nobody minds, we all understand each other.

Whenever I've gone to Nicaragua (or other Latin American countries), though, I am straight up American. I trip over my words and can't relate to their way of life.
Here in the South, though, I am decidedly not American. I don't like college football, seersucker anything, or Paula Deen...nor can I relate to any of that. And WHAT is the deal with people around here having parties with no dancing? No dancing?? Sad.

I'm not American enough and I'm not Nicaraguan enough.

Again, in Miami this wasn't a big deal...we're all hybrids, remember? Now that we're living outside of Miami, however, the differences are more evident. I wonder how it'll be for future generations in our family, my kids and grandkids. Every generation will be less Hispanic and more American. I would hate to lose our culture to a fully American culture...not that I don't love America, I do! Honestly! But I'm proud of our roots. I love the Spanish language, I love my Abuelita's Nicaraguan cooking, I love getting together with my loud crazy family over the holidays, I love salsa dancing at every get together. I don't want to lose that.

Anyway... I'm not sure where this blog post is going, haha. These are just thoughts that have been swimming around in my head today.
Any thoughts of your own to add???


Kristel Acevedo4 Comments