Thread: Too American?
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:45 PM
Jippers Jippers is a female United States Jippers is offline
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Too American?

My father is fully Puerto Rican while my mother is half Puerto Rican and half Mexican. This makes me 25% Mexican and 75% Puerto Rican. I was born in Bayamon, but the vast majority of my life has been spent in the states, unlike my parents who had always lived in Puerto Rico until adulthood. I spent a few years moving back and forth between the states and PR because my father was in the Army. The times I had lived in Puerto Rico, we lived in Ceiba: a military base, which was considered US ground. Today my parents are both divorced and remarried to different people, and I'm still living in the states.

My mother (just my mother) often gives me a lot of grief because I can't speak Spanish, and to make matters worse, according to some people I: "don't look like a Hispanic". Because apparently all Hispanics are dark. I'm pretty light, yellow-ish even. I've been mistaken for White, Asian, and even Native American. I don't fit many stereotypes, either; I'd choose a cheeseburger over rice and beans any day & despite common belief my favorite genre of music is heavy metal... and don't even get me started on the fact that I like to play Zelda... Many people are surprised when I tell them of my heritage. These "stereotypes" don't bother me what so ever, though. The main problem is, as I've already mentioned, is not speaking Spanish.

It's odd that I'm being criticized by my mother for not being "Puerto Rican" enough for her, or for being too "American". It's hard to tell sometimes whether she's joking or being completely serious. I know she really means it, though. It really hurts me. I've told very few people about this until a few months ago: in English class we had to write a short essay about an experience we've had concerning racial discrimination, and I wrote about my mother.

I'm not going to change myself, because really, I haven't done anything wrong and don't need to change. What bothers me however is her constant bringing up about it. It happens every few weeks or so, which is too much in my opinion. It's not like I'm ashamed of being Puerto Rican or anything; I'm very proud to consider myself both Puerto Rican and American. I was just raised differently.

Is it wrong for me to feel this way? I love my mother dearly, and we get along fairly well. This is really the only problem that I have with her. She insists that it's my fault. I don't think she's one to talk, however, I mean, if she has such a problem with it she should of taken action, instead of merely bugging me about it. She apparently did try to teach my brother and I Spanish as little ones, but it didn't soak in and she eventually gave up. Really though, I'm kind of grateful she hasn't tried to change me, I just wish she'd stop criticizing me every time the topic comes up. I've been trying to learn Spanish, at a very slow place, since I was 15. My mother hasn't helped me, by the way.

I know that this problem (and even vise versa: "being too foreign") pertains to many people; being the first generation in their family to grow up in America, therefore being too "American" or too "different" in comparison to the older ones in their family. "Losing touch with their heritage" and all of that crap. It's highly ironic because it's usually the parents/ones before them that moved into the United States in the first place. Some people don't really take into the consideration that growing up in a different country can have that affect on people. I don't think that it's something to feel bad or guilty over, I mean, we are who we are. We do feel bad about it, unfortunately, because of the opinions of our loved ones.

Your thoughts? Experiences?
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Last Edited by Jippers; 06-21-2011 at 12:55 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote