There’s Something About Being Hispanic

Kassie Araque, Feature Writer

There’s something about being Hispanic that makes me who I am today. I can’t quite put my finger on it and maybe I’ll never be able to, but there’s something about it.

Growing up ‘ethnically ambiguous’, there are some phrases you get used to hearing.  

Where are you really from? 

Why don’t you know more Spanish? 

What are you? 

To answer all of these burning questions: I’m from the United States, I never spent enough time learning it, and I’m Asian, Hispanic, and White.

I was born in the very small, sleepy town of Wentzville, Missouri. Everything was so uniform, the streets filled with cookie-cutter houses, it was the epitome of “the American dream”. 

However, you could basically count the number of Hispanics on your hands, including my father and me. I grew up having no one who looked like me, around people who had dated beliefs and made blatantly racist remarks.

Despite going to a bilingual Pre-K, the only people of color in a room of 25, five-year-olds were me, a kid named Tre, and my teacher. People would see my curly hair and olive-toned skin, and whispers behind my mom’s back at grocery stores. So naturally, I figured if I don’t fit in here, I’d fit in with other people of color. 

It took me the better part of my childhood until I embraced the culture and I felt like it embraced me.

I didn’t understand the jokes, I didn’t watch the shows, I didn’t get it.

My childhood was saturated with Asian and American culture; my Japanese grandmother lived with us and we went to the Asian market every weekend. I also watched Doraemon with her in the morning, and then American shows in the afternoon. I didn’t realize how disconnected I was from parts of my own culture.

I didn’t start feeling like I belonged until I moved to California. Mi abuelita had just passed away and the family was reaching out to each other more often. We spent nearly every weekend at mi tía Maria’s house, helping her cook for everyone. We all united together and shared stories about life and love.

The comfort I found in that house surrounded by people who loved me and made me feel welcome, has stuck with me and helped me accept who I am; me.

There’s something about being around other Hispanics that just puts me at ease. There’s a sense of community I just can’t find anywhere else, no matter how hard I try. 

There’s something about pozole that will always make me find room in my full stomach for more, there’s something about Spanish music that never fails to make me dance like a tía at parties, there’s something about singing dale, dale, dale around a piñata that just puts a smile on my face. There’s something about being Hispanic that warms my heart, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world.