Learning Spanish Is Helping Me Connect to My Heritage

It’s one of the most frequently asked questions in my life. “Spanish?” When I was young, I remembered the scripted answer to this question. “”Hablo un poquito.. “As the first generation daughters of Chicano and Mexican immigrants born and raised in Texas, the answer usually disappoints people. Their facial smiles change from friendly to immediate judgment. ¿Porquéno?“The truth is, my” poquito “is mostly a blasphemous language and a spanglish home. Broken phrases and grammatical mistakes are combined with pretty decent Mexican accents and ample pronunciation of menu items like “Enchilada Verdes”. My parents were talking about it around us with my grandparents, Tios and Tias, but there was an almost implicit understanding that the language was only for them and only for adults. .. Closed the shame about not being able to speak SpanishIt didn’t affect my life enough to create a desire to learn for myself. It’s until 2016, when my whole world changed.

As a new mother with my baby son (half of Eastern European Jews and half of Mexican Americans), I say the newly elected President Donald Trump looks down on our people. I heard you are there.I saw countless times Video of “Calends” Shout adjectives like “Go back to Mexico!” My indigenous brown brothers and sisters definitely have more indigenous heritage than “Karen” wanted to brag in the church. And anger soon began to brew in me. With that anger, determination was born. I regained Spanish and devoted myself to learning. I never thought that the path to learning would heal my mind and bring me spiritual well-being.

Dr. Manuel Zamaripa Chicano Institute / o Psychology In Austin, Texas. He said learning the language of our ancestors can be healing for several reasons. “Language is the way you express your existence,” he said. “The extent to which we want to learn Spanish is the extent to which we want to feel close to our people and our family.” This is why we started our lessons online. Explaining RingodaAfter logging off, I shed tears of joy at myself. I told my friend that I finally felt like I was allowed into a locked out room for the rest of my life. And, as Zamaripa said, I was able to feel familiar with my deceased loved one, my living elder, my estranged father, and my little son (who is learning Spanish at school).

I know there is no right way to be Latin, but learning Spanish is a good experience for me. Zamarripa said this is common. “For the majority of Latin, Spanish is an ability wrapped in our identity.”

“For the majority of Latin, Spanish is an ability wrapped in our identity.”

Given the history of Latin Americans in the United States, it’s easy to see how and why parents didn’t think it was important (or advantageous) to make sure we spoke that language. Spanish-speaking children in the United States were often subject to corporal punishment when speaking Spanish at school. Civil rights leader Cesar Chavez told a story about the indoctrination of this kind of racist in his own life. He said at schoolI speak Spanish.I am a clown“Cultural erasure of indigenous peoples, Africa and immigrants is a deeply rooted tradition in the United States, so Zamaripa said Spanish should not be embarrassing if it is incomplete, broken or not spoken at all. Don’t reduce the Latins. “The fact that we speak Spanish … It’s a kind of resistance.”

But even this familiar language was not the original form of expression for our people. Most Latins are a mixture of indigenous and African people who have encountered violent historical crossroads with Spanish colonists. Spanish is the historic colonial language of our people. Zamarripa said there is a lot of healing that can come from realizing and accepting both parts of our history. As Latin people, we are partly colonized and partly colonized. Accepting that history and working to do better today (through learning, listening and working for fairness) is a way we can appear in the world in ways our ancestors did not. ..

As a Latino, it can be difficult to trace the lineage of your particular ancestor. Slavery and genocide have separated our ancestors from their culture. Zamarripa said we live in an era when we have the opportunity to regain and rediscover that culture (if we choose to do so), and it may heal us in the process. not. For him, it is rooted in the Aztec tradition, Nahuatl With his family. For some, it may mean discovering or tracking the ancestors of African or Native American tribes to find rooted sensations through community, rituals, clothing, and language. For me, it’s learning Spanish for my son, “Karenzu”, and the little girl in me who always felt she wasn’t enough.

“On the road to reconnection, there is more than one right way to do that.”

Zamarripa said this “insufficiency” pervades our culture and is a tool of systemic repression. We further contribute to the harm caused by our colonial ancestors as we perpetuate the unattainable ideals of colorism, language gatekeeping, and one right way to be Latin. .. And to heal, we all have to embrace the complex path of walking as a Latino. As Dr. Zamarripa said, “on the road to reconnection, there is no right way to do that.” It’s up to you how to root, reuse, and reconnect (or in that case). But if you’re like me, have lived your life feeling like someone else, and never stayed at home, you might find it on your journey to self-discovery. Remember: ya somos suficiientes. It’s enough.

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