I wish being Mexican-American wasn’t so fiercely tied to politics anymore. Growing up Mexican-American and celebrating immigrant culture with an honest-to-God view of the American Dream, I’ve never in my life received criticism for who I am ethnically or culturally. I’m also lucky for that. I work in a place where I meet people from not just all over this country, but from all over the world. After being asked about all of the touristy stuff to do in San Diego, it’s almost routine to be asked about my family, how rare it is to be a native-San Diegan, and how even cooler my family’s tiny Mexican mountain town sounds. While I get to gush and love the town in Mexico I get to call my second home; people love it. People want to hear about Mexican culture, whether they’re visiting from the Middle East or Ireland, from Long Island or South Dakota. There are similarities people see in one another, from all walks of life and wherever they come from: that has nothing to do with politics. Those are the conversations we should be having.
And now you’re probably wondering where the hell that all came from. Originally, I was going to post that last paragraph as a caption to this picture on the left on my Instagram. But I honestly just never got around to it. The picture is from an exhibit on the SDSU campus at the moment titled Mextasy. And as you can see in the left center of the photo, which is actually the front and center of the entire exhibit, it’s all about Donald Trump. What he’s said about immigrants and that damn wall of his.
As a daughter of an immigrated family (my mom immigrated here, my dad was born here but his parents immigrated here as well), I celebrate the American Dream as much as I celebrate the immigrant culture. I am so damn proud to be an American, I can’t imagine growing up anywhere else, I am also Republican.
But I am also so damn proud to be Mexican. The Mexican flag gives just as much patriotism and feels as the American flag. I know American history far more than I know Mexican, but I do know one of my great-uncles (15 generations back) was one of the first Spanish settlers in Mexico.
My life is so defined by my Mexican-American culture that Spanglish is my first language, Frida Kahlo is one of my favorite artist, I pray to God my children speak Spanish, tacos are freaking phenomenal but so is BBQ chicken.
I, personally, didn’t have the best reaction to the Mextasy exhibit, but it could just be a biased opinion due to it bring up Trump at all. Trump has nothing to do with Mexican-American culture. Yes, his ignorant claims and unproductive walls effect Mexican-American culture, but that’s it. It effects us, it is not us.
A better representation of Mexican-American culture was the movie Everybody Loves Somebody. I was first introduced to Karla Souza in How to Get Away With Murder, and I can’t get enough. When she began to release information about her film I was soooo excited. Not just because I’m a fan of her but because she was so adamant about the Mexican-American culture of the movie.
Everybody loves somebody perfectly encompasses the life of Mexican-Americans. How easily we switch from speaking English to Spanish, the bomb-ass food, the culture of South East LA, and the importance of family. The fact that it was a rom-com made it all around better considering I love rom-coms. It was also personally relatable to me because she spoke the typical baja-Spanish: using words like no mames and guey. Both of which my family uses pretty regularly.
I don’t really know how else to explain it. But politics wasn’t brought up in the movie. It was without a doubt a feel good movie, it was honest, it was funny, it was mainly in Spanish and the subtitles weren’t over exaggerated. The amount of times she drove down to Ensenada in the movie, the bouncing from language to language; it all seemed so normal. Mexican-American was really well depicted within the movie, it’s easily now one of my favorites.