A few days ago, I had to do a presentation before a federal agency. I had the opportunity to talk about the role of the translator and Hispanics in the U.S. and, more in particular, the usage of the Spanish language in this country. According to the U.S. Census, there are about 48 million Hispanics in the U.S. Of those, 78% speak Spanish in their everyday life, and 60% of them prefer that language to English.
Accordingly, I started thinking about myself and my Hispanic roots. In a couple of years I will reach the point where I have spent more than half of my life in the U.S. And that fact made me wonder who I really am. My culture is definitely enriched with Hispanic traits. But, at the same time, I do feel I’m no longer 100% Latina. I have adopted a lot of the behaviors and beliefs of the American culture. But not all. Those values and teachings I acquired while growing up are still part of me. They have not changed and never will; they are part of my essence as a human being. But there is now as part of this mixture a large number of new and replacement values, beliefs and behaviors I have had to learn over the years for survival purposes.
I am not a true American and never will be, despite the number of years I live in this county. But I am also no longer a Latina or, to be more specific, I am not an authentic Latina anymore. Part of that experience has merged with another. Every day I adopt something new into my culture spectrum. Then, who am I? Well, I am simply a “hybrid”. That’s who I am.