Breaking from My Roots | Teen Ink

Breaking from My Roots

December 18, 2018
By alexx_05 BRONZE, Round Lake, Illinois
alexx_05 BRONZE, Round Lake, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

This might not be an interesting story all by itself, an American girl in AP and Honors classes, an American girl who is the MVP of her lacrosse team, an American girl whose family is middle class, an American girl who already has scholarships in store for her. Add in the fact that she is a minority, can speak two languages, and is the daughter of immigrants, and the story now becomes interesting. She was bright since she was young. She wanted to defy the odds. People assumed she couldn't speak English so she was but in ESL classes. In reality, she had parents who wanted nothing but for her to succeed so, they learned english to teach her both languages. She watched learned spanish Dora the Explorer just as much as she learned english with the Wonder Pets. She feels a border between her identity and culture. She must be Mexican in her home to feel accepted but must be American in school to feel welcomed. This forces her to develop into a teenage girl who speaks of herself in third person, as if it will force the two identities she has been pushing together for years into a perfect puzzle piece.

Mexican-American kids growing up in America are expected to have the same resources as American kids and not take advantage of any of them. They are expected to stick with there people, have eight kids, and work on minimum wage while living off the government. I avoided this and latched onto kids like me. Kids who knew our parents didn’t risk their lives crossing a border and worked minimum wage everyday, just for us to fail. They wanted us to badly. Even when they told us that we were equal and that we were valued just as much as the kids with a lighter pigment than us. They wanted us to take the jobs they would never do just so they could scream in our faces that we were taking the jobs away from Americans. Those who followed their expectations lived a sorrowful life knowing they could have done more in the land of the free.

I dismissed their expectations. I was clever. I was worthy. I knew what was at stake and knew I could not live a life knowing I could have done more, and knowing that I let them get to me. I understood that some didn’t want me to fail. I knew that some wanted me that some were rooting for me just as much as my people were. I knew that I had to rely on myself to make my dreams come true. I knew I had to make my parents proud. I knew I had to make a life for my future kids. I knew I had to get out of the $8 an hour salary my roots were tied to. I knew I had to make up for the lives my family members gave up so I could get an education. I knew I had to keep trying even when I wanted to give up. I knew I had to keep moving forward and could not afford to fall into their line of assumptions. I loved school and enjoyed every minute of it, but I also understood why it was so important. I was trying to become equal in the land of the free.


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