Growing up a bilingual Latina in a predominantly white Northern, NJ suburb before it was “Cool” to be Latina presented its challenges. As an adult, I learned that my experience as the daughter of Latino immigrants was not unique. Translating for my mother and grandmother, helping them navigate life in suburbia, rude comments and nasty looks when we spoke Spanish in public; this I learned during many a Latino networking event, was a shared experienced.
Alas things have changed. It is now Super Cool to be a Latina. Having what was considered a “Big Butt” when I was growing up is now an asset, quite literally. The foods we had to trek to NYC to buy, such as cilantro, platanos, malta, are easily accessible in the local Shop Rite. Spanish is commonly heard anywhere I go now when I visit family and friends in Northern Jersey.
It’s a new era! An exciting time to be Latina and to enjoy everything that speaks to our unique experiences.
So when I came across this Cosmopolitan.com list of 24 Problems Only Latinas Understand I just had to share it with others who can relate and have a chuckle!
I definitely identify with 13, 14, 15, 22 and 23. What do you identify with?
24 Problems Only Latinas Understand
1. People butcher your last name. You have to politely smile and correct them without letting them know you feel humiliated.
2. Not realizing when you’re speaking Spanglish. Balancing two languages isn’t as easy as it seems.
3. Having to suppress the urge to slap someone in the face whenever they call you Spanish. Unless you’re actually Spanish, of course.
4. Having people rudely remind you that they don’t consider you American, even if you were born in the U.S. “Where are you from? No, I mean, where are you from-from — like, Mexico or something?”
5. Knowing that Saturday Night Live’s Cecily Strong will likely play a movie about your life, or some other person who is not Latina.
6. No matter what, when you get mad, people chock it up to your “Latin temper.” “You are feisty, chica! Latinas don’t play!”
7. You’ll probably experience being the token Latina at some point in your life. And suddenly, you’ll feel like everything you do stands out and makes you seem so different.
8. People call you spicy or caliente. If it hasn’t happened, it will — trust me.
9. Contrary to popular belief, you’re not guaranteed to have a big, firm booty. This is an unfortunate truth — we are not all Jennifer Lopez.
10. Finding makeup that matches your skin tone is pure and utter hell. Sometimes you feel like your complexion is a mix of every skin tone in the world.
11. Moving out of your Latino enclave only to realize that you really, really miss eating authentic Latino cuisine. What is this crap, and why do I have to pay $40 for a plate of Latin food at some fancy restaurant that isn’t even authentic?!
12. Some government forms insist that you identify as either a “black Latino” or a “white Latino.” Um, it’s not that simple.
13. Getting into random debates about which is better: identifying as Latino or Hispanic. Again, this is one of those super-complicated things.
14. People think you only eat rice/beans/tacos, dance to salsa, and wear red all the time. We eat “regular” things too, you know.
15. You automatically become the office’s official translator without agreeing to it. I didn’t sign up for this.
16. Guys tell you that they “know” you’re good in bed. Apparently all Latinas are “freaks.”
17. People assume that you were a chola growing up. Just don’t even go there.
18. Having to explain that Brazil is a Latin country, even though they do not speak Spanish. This goes hand in hand with having to explain that Spanish and Portuguese people are not Latino.
19. Trying to eat healthy when your abuela keeps bringing you fatty foods all the time. “Mija, you’re looking muy flaquita lately.”
20. People are shocked that you have a “normal” name. No, my name isn’t Guadalupe, Maria, or Chiquita.
21. Walking the line between two beauty standards that directly conflict with one another. If you’re curvy, Latinos praise your body, but some mainstream media make you feel like crap about it. If you’re really thin, Latinos make you feel like a malnourished traitor, but the mainstream media praises you.
22. People automatically assume you’re an amazing dancer. The truth is, all you know how to do is two-step.
23. People are shocked that you’re Latina because you’re not tan. We come in all complexions.
24. Not having a Disney princess to look up to. Yes, this is a real problem