My Spanish proficiency depends on my usage, directly.
For Day 4 of the A to Z Challenge, D is for Dificil. As in, the Spanish word for difficult. It’s difficult to raise children in a multicultural home when the most ethnic thing about me is that I know all the words to La Bamba.
And that I can eat refried beans without your run-of-the-mill Caucasian repercussions.
I placed out of foreign language requirements in college, but I’m lousy at being Latino.
I don’t use my Spanish enough. I wish I did, so that my kids could learn too. My oldest now probably knows more than me because she has good grades in her Spanish class. Me? I mispronounced deportes in a work meeting this week – the Spanish word for sports.
I’d know how to speak the language, not just eat the food.
Know how bad it is? Besides the fact that I don’t fit in my Mexico football shirt anymore …
The last Spanish dish I made – came from a white lady’s website.
Sometimes … I buy tortillas. At Aldi.
I can’t even tell the nice Latina Jehovah’s Witnesses who knock on the door that they shouldn’t waste a Watchtower Pamphlet in Spanish on me.
I grew up in a white neighborhood and live in a black neighborhood.
I can order tres enchiladas de queso, con frejoles y tres tortillas de harina, but if the server asks a question that deviates from the script?
Um … hablo un poquito Epsanol. Lo siento. (I hold up my finger and thumb an inch apart).
But if someone who sings like Adam Levine can star on a show called The Voice, couldn’t a dad like me fake it to raise his kids with some Latin culture?
I was a sports writer – who never went to j-school.
I’m a mom blogger – who’s a dad.
My sister and I carry on the tradition of making Christmas tamales.
I’m short – like a Latino race jockey (only I weigh as much as two of them). My kids might have Anglo first names, but Chicano last names.
I even negotiated my release from detention in a Mexican immigration office. Kind of.
Hell, even Ted Cruz followed me on Twitter. (What? He counts.)
I’ve got this. I’ve got work to do, too. Elise says she’s Hispanic. Grace, half Hispanic, half white. Marie claims 100% Caucasian. How’s that even possible?
It’s going to take more than pinatas and pinto beans.
More than tostadas and tacos.
Yo no soy marinero, after all.
(*-I’m not a sailor – I’m the captain!)
**-A post on Sand in My Toes blog inspired this.