It seems like a common theme with “White America,” for lack of a better way to reference the majority of Americans, is that they are absolutely confused and terrified when it comes to Latinos. My boss today was speaking about driving towards Hialeah and said “and then you will be in Cuba” with a tone of such disdain that made everyone know that he felt that those trips should be avoided at all costs.
I also spoke with a manager in ATL and through conversation I mentioned I was getting married in Dominican Republic she asked me if I was from there. I said no I was from Puerto Rico. She then asked me “what is the difference?” Later in the conversation we bagan discussing Miami and she kept telling me how much she couldn’t stand the “atmosphere” in Miami but she wouldn’t directly tell me what it was about the city that bothered her so much. I would venture to guess that she was referring to the extraordinary amount of Latino influence.
It scares a lot of “White America,” the language, the culture, the food, and the customs. Our loud voices and our lack of knowledge of personal space and boundaries oftentimes. But are those things all that scary? Are we all really that different?
When she asked me “what is the difference,” I simply responded “What is the difference between someone from Alabama and Georgia?” Not much really, they are both American and southern. But they both have very distinct pride in where they come from and the nuances that make them unique. It is the same as Latinos. Being Mexican, Caribbean, Nicaraguan or any other flavor Latinos come in is just that, a flavor. We are all so similar yet we hold certain subtle nuances that make us proud about being who we are. These things are not seen by those who don’t take the time to know more about us. Just like a Northerner won’t know what makes a person from Alabama and Georgia different if he didn’t take the time to get to know them.
One day we will be able to put our fear aside and gain a greater sense of understanding. That will be a beautiful day, and that day will make a beautiful America.