Just a few days ago, I read a very fascinating interview with Jessica Alba in Latina. In it, she addressed many of the accusations and insinuations that she’s not latina enough. I admit that I was one of the people that were against her. I remember how Alba’s father said how he didn’t speak “Mexican.” At first, I thought that it was ignorance. However, after reading the article, I saw that the ignorance wasn’t her father’s but mine.
The gist of why Alba isn’t latina enough had to do with two things: her being multi-ethnic and not being raised around Spanish. At one time being a part of different worlds and yet never being completely accepted by any. Her story is that of many latinos in the United States.
The strange thing about the lack of acceptance is that it’s not just confined to those people that are multi-ethnic but even those that are 100%. I’ve had situations involving groups in SW Detroit where I haven’t been accepted despite being 100% Mexican, speaking the language pretty fluently (minored in Hispanic Studies) and having been back to Mexico a number of times. The fact that I don’t dress the part or that I speak with a different accent makes me an outsider. I have been punished for leaving the group.
I’m calling for everybody to get past their ignorance, respect everybody and listen to others’ stories. While we might have taken different journeys, we’re all going toward the same destination. All that we want is acceptance. If we can’t be accepted by our own, then how can we be accepted by others?