Yup….and I didn’t think it was a big deal either… until I moved to Los Angeles, CA.
Growing up in New York, the melting pot of diversity, I didn’t think twice about my husband’s ethnicity. He’s Latino, I’m Latina, we are a match!!!
Not so fast sistah!
Firstly, I quickly learned not all Latinos are alike which is why we are such a complicated community to rally behind. His culture and upbringing are very different from mine. How they celebrate holidays was utterly different from mine.
I remember my first Christmas, I cried myself to sleep. Where was the pasteles, Arroz con gandules, pernil, lasagna, guineo en escabeche, Ensalada de Tomate, flan, pudin, Arroz con dulce. He had no idea what I was talking about. These delicious plates were never a part of his upbringing until he met me. I am happy to say that they are now apart of our holidays along with his tamales, pan dulce, and occasional menudo!
Living in Southern California ethnicity is something that goes before you. It’s the immediate judgment someone makes of you without even knowing your story. They immediately place you in a box!
Growing up in NYC, I always walked around freely, never thinking that my ethnicity would be an issue. Not so here in Southern California. Here they immediately question your citizenship. Our family is a blended culture. Mexico and Puerto Rico. Our sons are Mexiricans, and we have raised them to be proud of both. I never imagined that marrying outside of my ethnicity would create such a divide between them and us. We have decided to change that narrative on how to see each other and treat each other.
In our current climate, them and us have become a definition of the social and ethnic divide.
Yes, our food might be different, our music and our culture. But our ability to love and share and give and embrace is the same. We all need each other! Let’s stop creating such a divide among ourselves and start embracing what we know to be the same in each other.
We must remember that we are no different than the differences that we create…
Happy Hispanic Heritage Month