Unlike my other blog posts, this is not a devotional piece. I just want to express something that has been on my mind for quite sometime.
Before I can begin though, I would have to go back in time to my more younger years. So just bear with me.
Both my parents are first generation Dominican, so Spanish was my first language. Until I started elementary school. My parents put me into to an all African American school near my home. I stayed there until I completed the 6th grade.
The kids in that school were rough. My siblings and I were some of the very few light skinned kids in the school. Some of us definitely got bullied because of our appearance. My classmates never understood the concept of me being Dominican. I was always Puerto Rican to everyone. After a while, I just accepted it. I even remember wishing I was Puerto Rican to just make life easier.
This kind of ideal stuck with me as I moved on to Junior High School.
The Hispanic demographic was mostly Puerto Rican so I was quickly pinned as one again. I didn’t really have many Dominican friends so I really felt disconnected to my culture at school. I eventually lied to others about my nationality, claiming to be Puerto Rican- American.
In high school I was surrounded by more Latin American students, mostly of South American and Central American descent. Unfortunately, there were only a few Hispanic classmates that I really did interact with.
Throughout my adolescence, my parents always encouraged us to discover our culture and learn the language for ourselves. Both my mother and father are proficient Spanish/English speakers. They always spoke Spanish to my siblings and I in conversation. Still, it felt extremely awkward to have a conversation with them in Spanish. I believe that because I felt so disconnected to my Dominican heritage at such an early age, it was difficult to embrace the culture as I got older.
Now that I am older, I feel as though I am experiencing an Hispanic-American identity crisis.
I would be lying if I said that I even feel 40% Dominican. Sometimes I find myself feeling no real connection to my Hispanic nationality.
I regret despising such a big part of who I am. I wish I would have been more prideful of being Dominican earlier in life.
At times, I struggle with speaking, writing, and reading in Spanish. I am faced with the reality that I am the person that I never wanted to be. A Hispanic-American out of touch with their roots.
As I observe many of my Hispanic-American friends, I find that the state of cultural disconnect is growing. They are frustrated with their lack of Hispanic knowledge but passive in learning more about their native culture.
Is the Hispanic American identity crisis a by product of flaws in parenting? or is the child who consciously rejects their parents culture to blame?
I would love to know your thoughts!