Cultural diversity broadens the mind and fuels our spirit of adventure. It’s enlightening to explore the rituals, traditions, and intricate nuances of foreign cultures. And I feel deeply privileged to live in a country where I can experience this type of phenomenon.
The biggest impediment to a multicultural society, in my opinion, are:
We see them every day in memes, and twitter hashtags that go viral, inducing riotous laughter. I have even spent hours laughing at caricatured Hispanic memes. Little kids running from the chancla (sandals) the number one weapon of choice for many moms to discipline their kids. I also laugh at the memes that depict how Hispanics store pots and pans in the oven (Ok, I’m guilty)
I’ve read countless articles about what not to say to Latinas, and they’re all funny. I decided to share my own list of never ever say or mock based on my own experiences as an immigrant:
1. I’m learning a new language, so please don’t mock my accent.
I have had wonderful American friends who have helped guide my cultural and linguistic transition. Working and speaking with other Americans has improved my vocabulary, diction, and grammar. But, unfortunately, I’ve had to endure cretins who laughed at my accent and mocked my inability to verbalize an idea in English.
Not all of us over exaggerate our accents like Sofía Vergara does. Hello!
2. Just because I was born in a third world country doesn’t mean I’m stupid.
Living in extreme poverty is tough, but somehow I managed. I met wonderful Honduran musicians, poets, and writers who continue to work themselves numb for a chance to show their talents to the world.
Where I come from doesn’t determine who I am. It’s a central element of my identity, but there’s more to my personality than the cultural milieu of my formative years.
3. Please stop irritating me/us with these irritating questions:
Does your country sell Coca Cola?
Does your country have shopping malls?
Do you have to wear loin cloths?
Pardon me, but not only do we have malls and buildings, but we gorge on McDonalds & Wendy’s, and even wear Gap!
4. Please don’t generalize impressions of Hispanics. We are a dynamic cultural and social force.
I bristle at the ignorant homogenized impressions that showcase Hispanic women only worthy of cleaning houses while Latin men all congregate lazily in front of convenience stores & Home Depot.
Furthermore, contrary to Donald Trump’s bloated pontificating, we are not a race of rapists or thieves, period.
5. Another infuriating generalization:
If you’re a Latina, then why is your skin light and why do you keep dying your hair blond?
I must confess, this is a tough one to swallow. But what can I say? Should I blame my mother for her obsession with Caucasian names and my Spaniards ancestors for lighter skin? And my hair? I just happen to like blonde hair, deal with it!
6. All Hispanics can dance salsa.
Ok, I admit that after a few mojitos I hit the dance floor, leaping from merengue to salsa (I can do an excellent impression of Iris Chacon, a famous vedette dancing to Tito Puente).
Hispanic culture is a dizzying spectrum stretching geographically from the Rio Grande all the way down to the Tierra del Fuego (just a short hop from Antarctica). And each of the nations in between those distant extremes sport an array of cultural mores and customs that are just as foreign and intriguing to me as they are to most Americans.
7. “Oh, you’re from Central America? So you really like spicy food, right?”
Yeah, I have encountered this remarkably dumb and provincial assumption countless times. While I can’t speak for others, I personally lack that overgeneralized Hispanic culinary affinity for anything spicy.
My apologies to Tío Tapatío.
8. “Oh, you speak Spanish? So, are you Mexican?”
I won’t even answer this one…
9. I’m a Latina but I don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Again, this is a celebration from Mexico!
I don’t even think Mexicans celebrate 5 de mayo…
10. Please don’t ask a Latino about their legal status.
If one of your friends happens to live illegally in the U.S. what are you going to do? Call the migra or Joe Arpaio?