Growing up in the Bronx, New York, I have been exposed to many different cultures. Everyone knows New York City is one of the largest melting pots in the world. One’s nationality is not assumed, as someone could be of any race. I have learned to love and enjoy my culture. Being Puerto Rican is a part of both me and my life.
When I went to college, I decided to go to Miami to try and get away from the 9/11 attacks and the drama. In Miami, everyone assumed that I was Cuban. I usually didn’t care but at times I just wanted to be me…Puerto Rican. Then I moved to Baltimore, MD. Yes, I guess I did move a lot. This time, though, I moved in with my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time). Many of his friends knew that I was Puerto Rican but assumed that Puerto Rico was a city in Mexico. Other people I met in Baltimore just assumed that I was Mexican. When the recession hit us we decided to move to Kentucky. Here in Kentucky I am an illegal immigrant from Mexico. Oftentimes people ask me if I am a US citizen.
Why can’t I be myself? I totally understand that ignorance runs deep throughout this nation but is it so hard for people to ask what nationality you are? It’s a simple, “Where are you from?” I have no problem stating that I am Puerto Rican and proud of it. I just wish people would stop thinking that I am something other than who I am. I have all the love in the world for my fellow Latinos and Latinas, and enjoy the beauty of being Latina, but I would like to be acknowledged as being me and expressing my culture.