By Analia Marinelli
I’m an immigrant. I admit it. I own it. As such, I find myself many times observing the strange things Americans do. So many topics are taboo here that I never know when I’m offending someone or another, for not knowing the rules of what is politically correct, or what is approved as “organic” values. If you are missing a piece of history, you end up putting your foot in your mouth unintentionally. We are so overly sensitive to the words other people use in everyday conversation. It’s the 21st century, yet, I don’t know what is ok to say anymore. There is no real freedom of speech. Between the color, gender, religion, eating habits, age, and I don’t know what else, I feel so incredibly socially clumsy! We are all fighting for acceptance in such a way that we make it impossible to accept anything. Instead of achieving a maturity that would allow us to coexist and move on from the outer layer that dresses us up, we become too nit-picky and overly sensitive about how others perceive us. We have to whisper when saying certain words, and we feel bad if we offer a piece of meat to a vegan without knowing that they were one.
I am white, but I am Latina. And that’s a big L. People talk in front of me in a certain way because they don’t even suspect that I am a “double agent” and I become the audience to certain comments because of the color of my skin, because people assume that because I’m white, I’m “white.” I could take it personal, become offended, and make a big deal about how my rights have been violated, and so on. But you know what, who cares? I’m done with that. I don’t really have the answer, but in reality, we don’t like everybody, and not everybody likes us. And that’s ok.
I am very proud of my background, but at the same time, I am grateful to be here. As much as I eat my asado with a lot of chimichurri (look those up), I am also a sucker for BBQ ribs and burgers, and animal fries. I am proud of my past, but I am also proud of my present. It was a pregnancy that took nine years to come to full term, but I paid my dues, and paid them with interests. I have earned my place. This is my home now. The same way that Korean immigrants in Buenos Aires learn Castilian and embrace the culture, I did the same here. My country made me who I am, and this, my second home, gave me the opportunities that my homeland couldn’t offer. That may be why I feel like we should stop making such a big deal about the differences, and start paying attention to what we have in common. As an outsider, it seems to me like we’re missing the point. We are so privileged, we take so much for granted, and we have so much time on our hands that we have become very selfish and self-centered. I think it may be time to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and focus on more positive things. There are enough real problems in the world.
As for me, I wear the colors of two flags. Together, they coexist in my heart.