Friday, January 20, 2012

Reaction: Losing Our Spanish Heritage

Today I read two articles about losing our Spanish-language heritage. Wow. But to be quite honest, it really is happening. Although I am a bit biased because I live in Philadelphia where the predominant population is Puerto Rican. However, if you go to these area schools, there isn't a lot of Spanish-speaking going around. The author of the Huffington Post - Latino Voices article said, "I was often invited to meet up with the other blogueras here in Los Angeles, but I denied or ignored their invites. I didn't feel Latina enough for them." Should she not feel Latina enough?

It's the never ending question of what does it really mean to be Latino? I was very disappointed when my mom and dad one day called my brother and I, "Gringo." It really hurt and the only reason they called me that word was because I was born in the United States. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, only 38 percent of third–generation Latinos—United States-born kids with foreign-born grandparents—are proficient in Spanish, compared to 79 percent of the second generation. I speak Spanish, not super-awesome-great Spanish, but I can survive and work with the Spanish I know. Of course it can be better, but that doesn't give you the right to put me down.



A Latina.com article stated, "But this loss of language across the generations cuts deeper than simply being unable to communicate with older relatives. It impacts Latino identity as well." And it's completely true. If you're younger and can't communicate with older relatives, your sense of pride and culture are lost. You all of a sudden don't want to order arroz y abichuelas, you don't want to listen to Grupo Niche or anything even remotely close to your culture. It's sad. It's not just our fault though. If Arizona can ban Mexican-American studies then what's next?! Let's just hope one day no one ever tells me to NOT speak Spanish, that might get a negative reaction from me :).
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