by Ulises Silva
Being Latino means that, unless you’re a young intern who saves a senator’s life, you’re not going to be invited to Jan Brewer’s next BBQ. It also means that, on your way to another Arizona BBQ, you might get pulled over if you commit the grievous offense of looking too brown.
Being Latino means you wake up knowing that you’ll see or hear at least one thing today that’ll make your blood boil, be it a state’s descent into xenophobic madness, or someone’s idea of good-natured humour.
Being Latino means that you’ll have to endure courageously anonymous comments on message boards about how you’re a stupid third world culture that’s accomplished nothing—ironically written by people who’d lose in the first round of a 2nd grade spelling bee.
Being Latino means that you’re the scapegoat de jour, the same way the Irish, Italians, Chinese, Japanese, and so on, were blamed for corrupting the very fabric of not only American identity, but the space-time continuum. So despite the fact that you’re a big spender and wield buying power to the tune of $1 trillion, you’re somehow bleeding the country dry.
Being Latino means that you’re expected to fail because you’re more interested in being a gangster than in being educated.
Being Latino means that you’re a work in progress, because while you hate being discriminated against by white people, you might still look down upon blacks, you might still be a homophobe or a machista, and you still might dislike other Latinos because they hail from a different country or island. You also have the highest high school dropout rate, so you know you’ve gotta address that.
But being Latino also means that you’re a sleeping giant, a political force of tens of millions that has yet to awaken. And when you do, no politician will be stupid enough to propose another SB1070 ever again.
Being Latino means that you have to fight tooth and nail for what others are given, but the fight makes you stronger. That chip on your shoulder gives you the fire to prove your doubters wrong, and your eventual achievements will feel that much sweeter.
Being Latino means that your brain might be in better shape than most if you know and speak Spanish despite being told to “Speak English or die” by folks who unwittingly prove that study so very true.
Being Latino means that you’re a Nobel laureate, a Supreme Court judge, a revolutionary musician, a rising filmmaker and a brilliant actor who could be Oscar-bound, a philanthropist, and more. (I could go on, but there’s a word count to heed.)
Being Latino means that you’re now nearly 50 million strong, and you have the opportunity to create a powerful legacy in this country—preferably one that shows all those folks afraid of you that they have nothing to fear because you love this country too.
The horrible truth about being Latino (horrible for those at Jan’s BBQ, anyway) is that we’re here. And we’re here to stay. We’re on the rise.
And our finest hour is yet to come.
To learn more about Ulises, visit Digital Decaf.
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.