Who remembers the scene in the movie Selena when her dad says, “We have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans, and more American than the Americans.. both at the same time! It’s exhausting!”
Ain’t that the truth!
Mexican-Americans have always had to deal with this struggle. But being Mexican-American shouldn’t take away from either of our identities. We are just as proud of our heritage as any Mexican-born person, and we are also forever grateful to our parents, grandparents, etc., who sacrificed their lives in Mexico to come to the United States, left everything behind, and gave us more opportunities.
The reason I was inspired to write a blog about this is because of Becky G’s (@iambeckyg) recent Instagram story rant about how critics always judge her for singing in Spanish yet speaking in English. (Something Selena used to do)
As I was listening to her, I couldn’t believe how relatable she was! When we founded Charro Azteca, the goal was to keep our traditions alive. We are the children of Mexican immigrants and we strongly believe in passing down the traditions and culture that our parents brought with them from our beautiful Mexico to our kids and future generations. Yet somehow, we are often criticized for not being “Mexican enough.”
But being an English-speaking Mexican in the United States does not make us any less Mexican or less eager to represent our roots with pride. We may not speak Spanish perfectly, but to be honest, the same applies when we speak English.
Becky G made a great point; she gets criticized for not speaking Spanish enough, but when she does, she’s called a “pocha” and gets mocked for not speaking it properly. It’s sad that instead of being proud that a 2nd generation Mexicana is thriving while staying true to her heritage and inspiring other Latinas, some still scold her for not getting it perfect.
This brings me to another point: “Dicen que el peor enemigo de un Mexicano es un Mexicano.”
This is a quote many of us have heard before and it is somewhat a sad reality that is hopefully changing. We get criticized when we don’t teach our children Spanish and pass our traditions down by saying phrases like “con el nopal en la frente,” yet when we do try, we get criticized for doing it "wrong." Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.
But in reality, nosotros somos de aqui y de alla. Being Mexican-American hasn't always been easy here and in a time where we can show our pride in it, we will - y con much orgullo. We may have been born or raised in the United States, but our blood is Mexican. We eat pozole and tamales at home, we just happen to like burgers and fries too. We have Quince’s, we just might play some hip-hop for our bailes sorpresa. Yeah, we may have an accent in English, and we may forget some Spanish words, but we’re perfectly fluent in Spanglish. And hey, without Chicanos, burritos wouldn’t be as popular as they are!
In a political climate that’s already trying to pit society against us, we need to support each other, not tear each other down. Representing our heritage should be a beautiful thing, no matter if we were born here or in Mexico.
If you want to check out Becky G's instagram post/rant, here is the link