“No hablo español.”
I never learned how to say it without feeling embarrassed.
Maybe I was just being sensitive, but I swear people would look at me differently when I told them, as if I had just offended them.“Oops,” the look said. “Sorry. I thought you were Latino.”And I was. And I am. But I didn’t have the words to tell them. And then you say no and the person asking usually frowns with disappointment and disbelief. Because they see you as someone who looks like them.
If you’re like most people, I know exactly the look on your face right now. It’s one filled with confusion and a little judgment — what kind of Latina doesn’t speak Spanish? Are you even really Latina if you don’t?I can’t speak Spanish — and it has been a wall that has separated me from my culture for most of my life. However, I do understand it (somewhat), but I can read & write it without a problem. Strange, huh?
I’m sure many non-Spanish speaking Latinos can relate to this scenario. I, just so happen to be apart of this crowd. You might have noticed that I said I don’t speak Spanish, instead of I can’t speak Spanish. A little backstory: I’m biracial. My father is Puerto Rican, and my mother is Mexican & White. Also, there is the small factor that I didn’t grow up with my parents; I was adopted at a very young age. I grew up in a predominantly white household. Growing up in white household my family was non Spanish speaking. So, I never learned….of course being raised in Texas a lot of people speak Spanish, and it is taught in school but to no avail….I never learned to speak.