Descending from minority-driven ancestries, it’s hard to truly call myself an American, ethnically at least. Scratch that. I’m going to dispel the notion that being an American is a way of describing someone. No one is truly American, not even natural born citizens. We are all descendants of either Natives, Africans, Asians, or Europeans, and even those ethnic groups were derived from even earlier ancestors. The point is: the suggestion that an American identity exists, is a myth. Granted, people who live within the borders of the United States do share certain customs that are unique to them, but for the most part, what we identify as American would be better labeled as Nativasiofrindiapean. The foods we eat, the music we drown in, the dances we practice, and the language we speak, are rooted in other heritages. That’s exactly what the American experience is about: syncretism. And that’s exactly what I am: a melting pot of African, Hispanic, and American ethnologies.
Since I moved to the U.S. from my native city of Cali, Colombia when I was only four, I acclimated to the atmosphere here fairly quickly. Frankly, I don’t even remember life prior to moving to Florida. Nonetheless, my Colombian (or should I say “Hispanic”) heritage remained firm in my household and the surrounding community, South Florida. Littered with Colombians, Venezuelans, and Caribbean Hispanics, my hometown, Pembroke Pines, reminded me of the Latin American traditions that my parents grew up knowing. The food, although not an exact replica, served as a close imitation of what you could find in Colombia and the rest of Latin America. The people interacted in a similar fashion to people in Colombia. You would also hear Spanish genres blaring on t...
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...c, exceptionalist “Americans”. You know, your typical bullies in a movie about racial inequality. It’s the people who believe that America has one face and one face only. It’s the people who claim America as their home and refuse to share it with anyone else. Sometimes I wish I grew up back home, with only my people. Sometimes I dread the fact that my parents made the decision of coming here, both because of the racism I and my parents have faced, and the lack of fruition in our goals at times. However, as I grew older I began to realize that those haters are few and far between. Most of us who live in this land of opportunity understand what it is to be an American. Most of us appreciate the fact that we all come from different places, come in different skin tones, and carry different customs and beliefs. Those are the people that define America and I am one of them.
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