You don’t speak Mexican?

If Mexican were a language, it would still be hard for me to speak it. The biggest reason would be that I was in Colombia and not in Mexico. Even though I was born in Colombia, I don’t speak Colombian. I know it seems strange doesn’t it. Now if people put a little thought into it, they would realize that words like Hispanic, Spanish, and Latin have more to do with language than actual ethnicity. Not too long ago I wrote about the subject and how I am proud of in a way being Mexican by being Latin.

There is something to be said about the American school system. I remember in Colombia learning about every country in the world, knowing what language they spoke, their currency, population, flag and type of government. I knew that in the United States they spoke English. While it could be debatable if Americans really speak the Queen’s English or an American version of it, the language is still called English and I have never asked anyone if they speak American. That would make a lot more sense since even the aliens on the movies speak English. The bad guys for some reason have an English or French accent but that is a whole other post.

Yesterday enjoying lunch with some coworkers the subject of ethnical identity came up; it was stated that to most non-Spanish people, when they see someone that looks Spanish they are automatically deemed Mexicans. Now this has been true for both Michigan and Illinois. I am not sure if in New York people think all Spanish people are Puerto Rican or in Miami everyone thinks they are Cuban, but in the Midwest being Spanish automatically makes you Mexican.

I had experienced this same conversation before with various groups of people. Most people then get very defensive when I tell them that I am not Mexican, and ask why do I care if I am called Mexican. I have nothing against Mexicans, my sister is married to a Mexican, I have Mexican friends, love Mexican food and furthermore I think that the Aztecs and Mayans were civilizations to be admired. However I am also very proud of my own heritage. I am very proud of being Colombian even though my country does not have the most positive image in the world’s eyes.

The other question that is often asked is: “What is your real name?” A lot of people, including some Spanish people think that I changed my name once I moved to the United States. I’ve had people try to call me Juan, which is the translation of John to Spanish… but not my name, I was born John, it is the name my parents picked. So talk to them about naming me with an English name. Do me a favor and don’t accuse me of “Americanizing” my name.

While language unites Spanish people, or Hispanics, or Latinos, or whatever it is politically correct to call us these days, we are not a united front. There are very deep division lines betweens people from different Spanish countries and a lot of people outside of our ethnicity do not realize that. People from different countries seem to just dislike you for being from a country different that theirs; I have experienced this dislike first hand. I do seem to get along with pretty much anyone, but because of food similarity, or music taste I have always seemed to get along with Cubans and Puerto Ricans. But it does not stop there, I am also a big fan of Spanish rock and thanks to it I was got to meet couple of guys from Guatemala during high school. I believe the only person that I know from El Salvador is JorgeQ. I hope that I never experience that country segregation and that someone will not read me just because I am from Colombia. Overall though there is a division, I am not sure if it is Central Americans vs. South Americans or what, but what I do know is that no one likes Argentineans, “they are kind of stuck up.” (Joking)

I am not trying to offend anyone here; I like everyone for who they are as people and like to find out where people are from just because I love to learn about cultures, not because I am not going to like you because of where you are from; Even if you are from Argentina. I am trying to point out how ridiculous it is to have all the prejudice that we see between Spanish people, or for that matter between humans of all races. It is cool to be proud of where you are from, of who you are, but make it a springboard for unity, find common ground. Do not make the color of your skin an excuse to find differences and things to divide you from your fellow humans. I am extremely proud of my flag and I wear it on my arm (literarily), but I want it to be taken as a sign of pride and not arrogance. While Colombians are very proud people, at times a little too loud and at times just annoying, I can tell you that as a group of people we have “ganas” (drive) and hearths as big as our houses.
On the spirit of humor one of my coworkers found a little Homies figurine depicting a Mexican Mariachi. I thought it was hilarious, now it is going to be eaten by my dragon.

18 Responses to You don’t speak Mexican?

  1. Hey Logtar, I totally get what you are saying here: YOU ARE TIRED OF BEING STEREOTYPED.

  2. One of my best friends is from Costa Rica.

    Someone once asked him if he knew Ricky Martin.

    It made me embarrassed to be born in America.

    My parents made me learn what the schools didn’t. I know all about geography, flags, languages, currencies, religions, etc. The ignorance of those things doesn’t help the USA’s image in the eyes of the world.

    When I was in New Zealand, they started teasing me about Americans’ ignorance of those subjects. There was a wall map in the room, so I told them to point to anywhere and I’d tell them what it was. I didn’t miss a single one. Hopefully I redeemed the country a little bit!

  3. Let me first congratualate you in such an insightful entry. I guess I’ve thought about the subject at times but I’ve never taken the time to fully anaylze the situation. You’re right about New Yorkers. Usually when people come across a Hispanic person, they’re quick to assume that they descend from either Cuba or Puerto Rico.

    I can’t relay say I’ve experienced any of the situations that you’ve described earlier. For some reason, people categorize me as either being Ecuadorian, Puerto Rican and sometimes even Colombian.

  4. Es horrible que eso pase y es lo que contribuye en gran medida a la mala imagen que se tiene de EE.UU. en el exterior, pues su pueblo a veces parece creerse redentor y salvador del planeta y nisiquiera sabe donde está Iraq. En fin, eso de los estereotipos no pasa solo en Norteamérica, cuando estaba de viaje en Italia me preguntaron varias veces como era Madrid y me pidieron unas cuantas más que les vendiera coca. (También me pidieron que hablara con una paloma, porque paloma en italiano se dice “colomba” y pensaron que Colombia era el país de esos animales, claro, la gente que me preguntó eso estaba evidentemente ebria)

  5. What? Your real name isn’t Paco?!?

  6. interesting but……….. you’re calling yourself and every one who speak spanish SPANISH

    no you’re not spanish, just like you’re not mexican

    you’re colombian

    I am colombian and i get very mad when people call me spanish because i am not from SPAIN, neither you are

    speaking spanish doesnt make one spanish just like americans are not english people simply by speaking english.

  7. Andrea, you are wrong… I am Spanish, because I speak Spanish, while I understand why you do not like to be called Spanish, it does not bother me at all… Spaniard would be the term used to identify someone from Spain.

  8. i want to learn spanish

  9. Pablo el bravo

    i agree with aundrea, mexicans don’t speak spanish WE speak mexican . it’s all latin based but at the sametime it’s all very different .If you are coloumbian them learn to speak coloumbian

  10. Pablo el bravo

    AND QUIT CALLING US LATINOS , THATS WHAT WHITE PEOPLE CALL US , YOU ARE WHAT YOU ARE FOR EXAMPLE, I ‘M MEXICAN.

  11. En él año 2020 habla 135 millones de hispanos en todo él territorio nacional de los estados unidos i él ESPAÑOL será lengua oficiál.

    la historia del Español de estos territorio he sitió siempré de la epoca
    de la colonia española asta hoy diá i vá para mas en potencia en inteligencia
    de la saviduria de la dinamica del español,Ganando terreno en los estados de los estados unidos de norte america con armonia con su graciá
    por que és el pensar i la manera de sér de los hispano que és inevictabre
    que los anglos no puede contra este fenomeno de hispanizar con mas fuerza
    hasta desplazar ál idioma ingles. Yo digo asín que se joda los anglos sajonos
    por queder destruïr ál idioma español.viva la cultura hispana,asta luego.

  12. Why do Mexicans get defensive if you say you are from another country other than Mexico? I’ve had that experience happen to me when I moved from southern U.S. to California.

  13. IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT PEOPLE MAKE FUN OF ME ALL THE TIME I KNOW WHERE YOUR COMING FROM

  14. yes i know what yo mean. i hate it when people think i am mexican and a wet back . i hate it when peaople say you speak mexican?? watta hek is dat. no i dont speak mexican i speak spanish but colombian style. i have nothing against anybody and i think that every latino( which is how ur supposed to say it) shud know spanish. their parents should speak to them in spanish. anyways i think being colombian is awesome as well as everyother country in latin america.. we need to luchar pa ser mekores and have a better look to the worlds eyes. everyone thinks that colombia juss has cocaine and shit. but no . we have flowers and coffee and alot of food. bunuelos,chicharron,ajiaco bandeja paisa, and alot of other things. q viva latino america. oh and my myspace is lapaisa_01

  15. g_man197666

    yeah, i hate it when people ask if i speak mexican as well. I’m from chicago and totally understand where you’re coming from. I am mexican and some people don’t understand how I have a french last name, Betancourt. People expect us all to have spanish last names. Theres been some whites at work who were amazed to see me talk to a puerto rican in spanish and then told me, “i didn’t know you also spoke puerto rican.” it was kinda funny for both of us that we went along with it. until this day, my white coworkers still don’t know that mexicans and puerto ricans speak the same language. as for the whole stereotypes, i hate them all. that’s why i hate those damn Homies figures! i don’t get offended when people think i’m from a different nationality other than mexican, but i know many who do. it also doesn’t matter to me if people call me hispanic, latino, or spanish because i know that people use these words to refer to people from latin america.

  16. Teotihuacano

    What we all need to understand as INDIVIDUALS is that divisions and stereotypes are all caused by ignorance. to say Spanish from Mexico is incorrect is just not accurate. Just like many other Latin American countries, slang is normally used by the humble or poor sections of society and they in turn, develop their own version of certain words, THIS IS TRUE FOR EVERY COUNTRY IN LATIN AMERICA. There is as many sophisticated, educated and well spoken Mexicans as there is in any other country. To understand why CERTAIN Mexicans get offended when you called them from a different country, you must understand who and where they come from. Unlike the rest of the countries in Latin America, Mexico is on the border of U.S. The vast majority of Mexicans that migrate to the U.S. are people looking for a better life, people who are poor “campesinos” or people who come from a humble beginnings who have struggled all their life and who are proud of their heritage (as they rightfully should) we must remember that Mexico, just like other areas of Central and South America have many native populations, some of them going back to the Mayans, Aztec and in my case, Teotihuacan culture, where I was born. They are not ignorant by choice but rather by circumstances. The burden lays on us, the ones who now understand this, but yet, we keep dividing ourselves instead of uniting ourselves. We should embrace and be proud of every country in in Latin America, we all have great traditions, land, food and history, we can ALL appreciate what we bring to the table as a group. As a Mexican, I have been called: Colombiano, Boriqua, Espanol, and Arabe (Arab) and all I do is laugh and then correct them, thats it! This only confirms my belief that we have more in common than we have differences. I also want to say hi to all my Colombianos out there because as much heat and bad rep Colombians get, I can truly say that Colombianos are as welcoming as any, I got nothing but good things to say about them, maybe thats why Mexicans and Colombians traditionally get along more than any other country in Latin America (smiles). Imagine what would happen if ALL Latinos got along! Scary how much influence we would have on the world.

  17. Pingback: Are you one of those “Habla” people?

  18. What we all need to understand as INDIVIDUALS is that divisions and stereotypes are all caused by ignorance. to say Spanish from Mexico is incorrect is just not accurate. Just like many other Latin American countries, slang is normally used by the humble or poor sections of society and they in turn, develop their own version of certain words, THIS IS TRUE FOR EVERY COUNTRY IN LATIN AMERICA. There is as many sophisticated, educated and well spoken Mexicans as there is in any other country. To understand why CERTAIN Mexicans get offended when you called them from a different country, you must understand who and where they come from. Unlike the rest of the countries in Latin America, Mexico is on the border of U.S. The vast majority of Mexicans that migrate to the U.S. are people looking for a better life, people who are poor “campesinos” or people who come from a humble beginnings who have struggled all their life and who are proud of their heritage (as they rightfully should) we must remember that Mexico, just like other areas of Central and South America have many native populations, some of them going back to the Mayans, Aztec and in my case, Teotihuacan culture, where I was born. They are not ignorant by choice but rather by circumstances. The burden lays on us, the ones who now understand this, but yet, we keep dividing ourselves instead of uniting ourselves. We should embrace and be proud of every country in in Latin America, we all have great traditions, land, food and history, we can ALL appreciate what we bring to the table as a group. As a Mexican, I have been called: Colombiano, Boriqua, Espanol, and Arabe (Arab) and all I do is laugh and then correct them, thats it! This only confirms my belief that we have more in common than we have differences. I also want to say hi to all my Colombianos out there because as much heat and bad rep Colombians get, I can truly say that Colombianos are as welcoming as any, I got nothing but good things to say about them, maybe thats why Mexicans and Colombians traditionally get along more than any other country in Latin America (smiles). Imagine what would happen if ALL Latinos got along! Scary how much influence we would have on the world.

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