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This blog is part of a series of first person essays about identity written by UTEP honors students during the spring semester. I identified as a Mexican-American, but was always wondering what makes me Mexican-American.
Is it because I am dark-skinned, or because I eat Mexican food? Coconut is a derogatory term for Mexicans who are so-called brown on the outside and white on the inside.
I took offense when he called me this. When I was growing up in the border cities of El Paso, Laredo, and San Diego with parents whose first language is Spanish, people would assume that I knew how to speak Spanish, but I never learned the language.
Although I remember singing in Spanish as a child to songs by Selena, a famous Mexican-American singer, I stopped speaking and singing in Spanish altogether when I was nine. I was terribly shy and hardly spoke a word at school in either language.
Instead, I let my classmates and teachers think I was just a shy little Mexican girl. I was picked on as a result but was too afraid to speak out to defend myself.
During middle school in El Paso I became even more reserved. As a defense mechanism, I stopped speaking altogether except to the teachers. At home my parents would ask: My younger and older siblings spoke Spanish better than I did and my parents spoke to us in classic border Spanglish.
I felt either guilty or stupid, especially when I went to visit my grandmother on the weekends. She had much to share with me about her life as a first generation immigrant and single mother, but I understood little of what she said and when I tried to respond in Spanish my words would never come out the right way.
In high school I considered enrolling in a Spanish class but then this thought crossed my mind: What if the other students laugh at me for not knowing Spanish? My high school boyfriend, who was born in the U. Thus he concluded that I was assimilated and somehow had lost my Mexican identity over the generations.
My parents, grandparents and great grandparents were born in the U. Then a few years ago I was visiting cousins in Forth Worth, and walked into a gas station to get a bite to eat.
I noticed immediately that I was the darkest person in there. The others, mostly white, stared at me as if I was an unknown creature who had invaded their territory.
The incident made me realize I am proud of my Mexican heritage. Now in my retail job, when I am approached my customers who ask in Spanish for prices or certain items and I respond in broken Spanish, somehow they understand me.
I am even able to communicate with my grandmother in our native language.
Studies show that by the third generation immigrants lose their native language. The cause could be our education system, societal beliefs, assimilation, or other reasons. The truth is we are taught a very one-sided view on our American history classes, skewed in favor of white Americans and anti-immigrant to boot.
I now identify proudly as Mexican American, not because what I eat or how I look but because of what I am. And I am certainly not a coconut.By focusing on Mexican immigrants to Los Angeles from to , George J.
Becoming Mexican American - George J.
Sanchez - Oxford University Press Twentieth-century Los Angeles has been the locus of one of the most profound and complex interactions between variant cultures in American history. This essay delves deeply into the origins of the Vietnam War, critiques U.S. justifications for intervention, examines the brutal conduct of the war, and discusses the .
JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources. In the year since President Trump’s inauguration, Washington Post photographers set out to explore what unites Americans, through portraiture and audio interviews.
Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of first person essays about identity written by UTEP honors students during the spring semester.
EL PASO – All my life I have had problems with identity. I identified as a Mexican-American, but was always wondering what makes me Mexican-American.
THE GREAT ADVENTURE:PRESENT-DAY STUDIES IN AMERICAN NATIONALISM [Essay] 7. LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH. PATRIOTISM means to stand by the regardbouddhiste.com does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in .