College and its assumptions

As I gave a presentation this morning words fell,

tumbling one by one: Educational Professionalism, E…eductional, E…educational.

I get nervous, my palms start sweating, and all I can do is talk.

My heart beats faster, I look around and I see my classmates looking at me.

The light complexion of their skin filled the room.

Suddenly I found myself in a battle.

A battle between the conquistadores and the Mexicas.

My face was bright, my cheeks were pink

I look down at the paper, Professionalism.

Profesionalismo, my accent comes out.

Todos me miran, they all see me

And I was a shame.

Perdon, I’m sorry.

It’s who I am.

I’m Mexican but I am also American.

I am a xicana.

The color of my skin may not be as light,

The color of my skin may not be as dark.

My Spanish is not good enough,

My English is not “Professional”

as my professor said.

I’m trying, I’m learning, and making change.

I’m not apologizing for wanting a brighter future.

I did not cross the border to give up.

I did not chase the American Dream for so long to conform.

I am here to stay and enrich this world with acceptance.

My culture is beautiful and nothing to be ashamed of.

I don’t like spicy food, I can’t translate every word from English into Spanish and I don’t know all the history of mi tierra, mi Mexico lindo.

No se, I don’t know

So What?

I tap my feet to the beat of the Beatles and Michael Jackson.

But I also move my caderas, my hips to the beat of Salsa, Merengue and Cumbia.

My guitar plays from the latest hip hop song to Cielito Lindo and Mexico Lindo y Querido.

When I speak with my amigos solo se escucha esto a sentence donde hay Espanol and English.

We stick together when we get looks for speaking Spanish.

When people ask, where are you from? followed by, no but really where are you from?

When people assume all Latinos are Mexican.

When the color of our skin stands out in the crowds,

Pero siempre ganamos la lucha

we stay strong and teach others the importance of where we come from.

America Latina, Latin America.