Hello everyone, I hope you all are doing great! This is the third and final part of my series! Today I’ll be writing about some experiences I’ve had with being first-generation American and being Hispanic.
Throughout my elementary education, I was in a program called ESOL; this program was meant for children with a second language or for students who were new to the country and needed help learning English. After the morning announcement, I would go to a different classroom with other ESOL students, and there we would do practice work. One morning a guest had come to visit our class to teach us something about writing, I forget what it was, I had started on the assignment she gave us, but I had to leave to go to my other class. I stood up and explained my situation, “oh yes, of course, you can go! But what is ESOL?” she said. I said it was for kids who speak a second language. She was surprised and went over to read what I had written: “oh wow, your English is very good!”. I was confused by what she said and not wanting to make it awkward with my confusion. I smiled and said, “thank you,” and I left. On my way to ESOL, I kept thinking about what her last phrase meant. Why wouldn’t my English be good? Was it the way I had written it down? I knew how to speak English, and I knew how to write it. It’s not until recently where I realized she had made a microaggression. She thought that because I spoke a second language, she assumed I wasn’t able to write English.
As I’ve said in one of my earlier posts, I grew up in areas where diversity is common, so the idea of racism was not something I was familiar with or something that even existed. The first time I experience this was when I was about 10 years old. My father, sister, and I had walked to the bank because we only had one car at the time. My father had finished his business, and we were on our way out the door. I had noticed in the corner of my eye two older men sitting at an outdoor patio of a bar next to the bank. I could feel their eyes on me as we passed in front of them, and as we one of the men, I don’t know which, but had muttered under his breathe “look at them, they bread like rabbits” just loud enough for us to hear. At the time I didn’t know what he meant, but later on, I realized that when that man saw my sister and me, he was thinking to the fact that a lot of Hispanic families have many children, but what he did not know was that my sister and I are 7 years apart. I was not angry, it just made me sad to know that there are people out there who think this way.
These experiences have made me realized that we don’t live in a perfect world but that hasn’t stopped me from doing what I want.