by Cindy Tovar
How many of you think about your Latino essence on an hourly, or even daily, basis? I know I don’t. As I go along my day to day routine, the fact that I’m Latina doesn’t stay a constant in my mind. It’s a part of me that has shaped me with certain experiences that are unique to my culture, but I don’t always think about it.
But sometimes, as I go about my business, I hear a certain song or I hear a certain phrase on the street, that reminds me I’m Latina. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not that I forget. It’s just that in the course of a day, there are times I feel Latino, and times when it doesn’t really matter. Fortunately, I live and work in a place where I see all types of people, but I’m sure if this wasn’t the case, I might be made aware of my ethnicity more often.
It’s the music that does it for me. When a really classic salsa song hits my MP3 player, it’s all I can do to keep from dancing in the middle of the subway station. For a friend of mine, it’s watching fútbol. He takes pride in following the teams of our Latin-American countries. For others, it may be the food. A Tupperware full of rice, beans, and pernil being heated up in the microwave at the office may be enough to do it.
Sometimes, all it takes is an interaction, like one I had with the parent of a child in my class. I called to find out why the little boy had arrived at school with a black and blue mark on his cheek. It turns out he tripped and fell face first into a chair. Fine. But only a fellow Latino would have understood the remedy his mom chose: Vaporu, or as it’s most commonly known, VapoRub.
There are times when you’re reminded that you’re Latino, and you have to shake your head and smile, as I did while talking to this mom. Obviously, she didn’t know any better. But most of the time, all I need is to hear a great song through somebody’s earphones, and it brings me back to my roots, along with a surge of pride.
For some of us, just being from a certain country isn’t enough to make us feel Latino. Our sazón may season some of the things we do, but not at every moment of every day. Sometimes, all you need is a little platano maduro, or an announcer screaming “Goooooooooool!”, or Larry Harlow singing La Cartera, to remember where you came from. Sometimes, our essence is in the little things.
To learn more about Cindy, visit Dagny’s Dichotomy.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of
the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.