I still occasionally get a good-natured ribbing from my Latin American colleagues about my inability to roll my r’s, and since I’m older, wiser and no longer in high school, I can laugh about it and it’s all in good fun. But when it comes to real teasing...
"What's a Cuban?" was the typical response to my ethnic assertions. Given the proximity of the Mexican border, it was conceivable that the Latino population was prodominetly Mexican. Similar to the Cuban population in Miami and the proximity of their borders...But I wasn't Mexican; nor are the two cultures that similar.
I’d watch as the children around me would dig out the wondrous contents of their lunchboxes. Little Debbie snack cakes, tiny individualized bags of potato chips. Perfectly uniform factory made fruit pies, as uniform as the children around me.
What a contrast my lunches were to theirs. What a contrast I was to them. Me, in my homemade jumpers, with my homemade lunches.
I was in the kitchen setting the table for dinner with a great friend of ours, when I heard Mari in the other room saying, “No, it’s Mah-ree-SOL. Mah-ree-SOL. It’s Mah-ree-SOL, Nathan.” I ran in to see if I was hearing correctly; I was–she was correcting our friend’s pronunciation....
For U.S. Latinos, not speaking Spanish is often a source of insecurity or even shame. Lacking Spanish fluency brings with it judgment from other Latinos in the community as well as a loss of opportunity...
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