Identity Crisis

October 9, 2012
By
Secretly I have always been disappointed in the fairness of my skin, the deception it has created by its resemblance to those of a different origin. My last name is the only subtle indication of who I wish I was, the culture I’ve forever tried to embrace. Neglected by those I wish would recognize me as their own, generalizing every ounce of my being on the skin which I have been burdened to wear. I am foreign because there is no race or ethnicity that could have molded me; the clay which has constructed my appearance has failed to conceal its own imperfections. Society segregates that which I know and that which I will never understand, two worlds which have never allowed for any connection. Despite the many triumphs history has recorded, none have gone the distance in eliminating that which has forever been fought. I am Latina or Mexican-American.
Upon introduction, my future is limitless; my path holds little obstacles that will yield me from which ever dream I wish to pursue. Unlikely to realize they’ll notice my skin and the judgments and ideas they create will be shaped by the pasts of those they associate with it. Society has blurred the concepts of ethnicity and designed generalizations with certain minorities’ ideas that have forever struggled to be altered. When I find the courage to correct them of their mistake friendly eyes change to confusion, the gears in their brain are almost visibly changing, and whatever impression I may have left before has long been forgotten suddenly no more than a statistic, a hiccup in the education system, soon to be forgotten. Always stuck between who I long to be recognized as and the stigma that it carries with it.
Living so close to a border many around me link one word with the ethnicity I desire to be attached to; immigrant. People poke fun at those who fit their image of an illegal, slurs are loosely thrown around and it pains my heart to believe that the dream I’ve always wanted has become a curse and burden to those that have it. Acceptance that I longed for never really existed, no matter what shade my skin may be people continue to believe their preconceived notions. Silently I struggle coming to terms with what the world has decided for me, the things that generations of relatives struggled to give me has gone unrecognized, little support from my own community has diminished my own confidence. Disgusted faces are offended at my ancestors desire to be involved within a world that offered prosperity; limited by a belief in what we can accomplish.
It wasn’t until I first started high school that I became more aware of these attitudes. My junior year I struggled, I began to believe that maybe I wouldn’t find success because of the label I carry. An incident that occurred one day in my last period class made me vulnerable to all the negativity. I remember quite vividly a comment my teacher made that day “Latinos are not capable of making it much further than the fields, let alone college.” He quickly recanted his statement but it was far too late, there were three Latinas in that class myself included and as you might imagine it erupted into quite a controversy. That day I realized how passionate I am about my heritage and how eagerly I was able to defend something I never felt connected to. Teachers are supposed to be handed respect from students because of their position of authority but the respect I once had couldn’t be replaced. I couldn’t find it within myself to respect him the same because he’d proven he was incapable of respecting me. How could someone highly educated make such an ignorant comment? Not until that day did it really resonate with me how society has shaped peoples beliefs.
Throughout the span of my life I’ll face adversity and will come across many people who will criticize me but I can’t allow them to hold me back. I am a Mexican American and I will forever be proud to correct anyone that assumes otherwise; I am no less deserving of any opportunity that may be presented to me, and no skin color can determine my potential.





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Kimberly M. said...
Mar. 11, 2014 at 6:39 pm
This is incredibly amazing. I love everything about this and your cultural identity. I agree that this is really a crisis and i go through the same ting i myself am polish and vietnamese. It is hard to tell whether im both or neither but yet i take on both cultures and i simply deal with it everyday.
 
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