Not everyone has the privilege of growing up surrounded by their cultura, with parents there to pass on knowledge of traditions and customs from home. That, combined with heavily opinionated internet trolls, has led to many people struggling to feel confident in their identity. In a digital world that tries to force us all to fit into boxes, what does “Latino enough” mean and how do you know if you’re there?
Recently, we asked our Instagram community “what does being Latino mean to you?” and although some responses had details in common, for the most part they were as unique as every member of the community itself. There is no one definition of Latinidad, and therefore there is no way to measure what exactly makes someone “Latino enough.”
“It means that I have something to identify with and be proud of because of my family members, my culture, and the things that I participate in as a Latina.” – A.C.
Side note, this was a personal reminder that we represent the community wherever we occupy space, whether we realize it or not. We are all participating in things as members of the community.
What’s something that, as a Latina, you are proud of?– mitú
“The strength and endurance that we have. I’ve seen it in my dad, his family, and so many others and it makes me feel proud as well as encouraged to achieve my goals with the same mindset as them.” – A.C.
While they may not be perfect (and let’s face it, who is?), our parents are the definition of hard working. Remembering that their blood runs through my veins always keeps me going when the going gets tough. Si se puede!
What Latino figures inspire you? – mitú
“Selena, even though she was an artist that I didn’t really grow up listening to. When I found out who she was, she was someone who I related to because she was a Mexican-American learning to speak and sing in Spanish, while breaking a lot of barriers that people had set up around her.” – A.C.
La Reina del Tex-Mex was a trailblazer indeed! Who else could forget Selena’s iconic “diecicuatro” blurb when she appeared in an interview with Cristina Saralegui? The important thing to focus on is that she was TRYING! As long as we’re all working on improving and being the best versions of ourselves, that’s the best we can do, and it’s okay to make mistakes along the way.
Name one meal that, no matter where you have it, always reminds you of home. – mitú
“Homemade tamales!!!! 100%” – A.C.
You know we love some good tamales, so naturally our next question was…
Where is your family from? – mitú
“My dad is from Mexico and my mom is from Ohio.” – A.C.
Mmmm…Mexican tamales 😋
Have you ever been to those places? – mitú
“Yes, both places. I went to Mexico when I was really young, maybe about two times, and then I’ve traveled to Ohio on various occasions to see family. I was young each time I went to those places so they’re little memories I think of when I miss my family.” – A.C.
What would you say is the most “Latino” item in your home? – mitú
“We have these blankets from my grandma that I grew up using. I thought they were normal blankets but then I saw on social media that almost every Latino household has some and I was like hmmm, what do you know?” – A.C.
What would you say to people who think that not speaking Spanish makes you less Latino?– mitú
“I think it’d definitely be nice to know the language fluently but some people aren’t taught Spanish growing up and that’s not their fault. Not speaking the language doesn’t mean that they don’t have the same customs or should be rejected from the culture that their family is from. I decided to learn on my own because I’ve always been interested in Spanish, and also so I could speak with my family and I see that’s what a lot of other people are doing too.” – A.C.
One more time for the people in the back: not speaking Spanish doesn’t make you any less Latino.
How do you celebrate your Latinidad? – mitú
“With pride. I wouldn’t be who I am today without influences from my family so it’ll always be something I carry with me and proudly show throughout my life and career.” – A.C.
What do you hope people take away from this trend? – mitú
“That Latinidad is something you’re born with and it can’t ever be taken away from you,” – A.C.
So forget about the opinions of other people! All they’re doing is projecting their beliefs onto you and that is not an actual reflection of who you are. We hope you are inspired to embrace your Latinidad on your own terms, and that you walk more confidently in your identity. So duet us on TikTok and don’t forget to use the hashtag #AreYouLatinoEnough to join in on the fun!
Did we mention quarantine has not stopped Alaina Castillo from dropping new music? Check out her latest single, “tonight,” below!
What does being Latine mean to you? That’s the question that we asked our Instagram community and their responses really got us thinking.
There is so much to love about being Latino – from our community and our familia, to our cultura and our resilience, our drive to be better and work harder to reach not just our dreams, but the dreams of our pápis and our abuelos too. There is no single definition of what being Latino/Latina/Latine means, and, as expected, where we fall on the Latinidad spectrum varies depending on each one of us. That being said, there is no wrong way to be a Latino or to feel Latinidad, and we hope that these answers give you the courage to accept it, embrace it, and carry it proudly.
But first, the response that left our jaw on the floor:
“I consider myself Indigenous Latinx. I have a trilingual experience growing up with listening and speaking a mixture of Mixtec, Spanish and English #indigenouslatinx” – @jeanettejaguar.
Wow Jeanette! That is so beautiful, thank you for sharing with us. If you ever want to talk to us about your Mixtec cultura and your upbringing let us know, we’re all ears!
Being Latine means embracing the skin you’re in…
“Being a Latino means I’m beautifully brown.” – @pepelokz
“Means brown is beautiful! Was taught at a young age the girls who had brown skin, brown eyes, and brown hair like me were the prettiest. 💕” – @_cynnreneerose
…and not letting anyone tell you how you should or shouldn’t feel.
“It means being unapologetically brown and proud and not letting other oppress our culture and beliefs 👏🏽” – @_ottootto_
“always persevering and continuously learn about ones culture or cultures as to not repeat the same mistakes of the past! I’m a proud Mutt of Mexican born parents! Never have I denied my culture and being what I am I would gladly die fighting then on my knees ✊🏼🇲🇽” – @immanuel_rosa
“Being a Latina is being unsure if it’s okay to claim being Latina. It means fear of being rejected by both cultures that make up my being. It means to laugh at myself as being white wash so that i can pretend it doesn’t hurt when I hear from family and friends around me. It means to constantly be looking for my roots because neither groups want to claim me.” – @miszjean
First of all, whoever made you feel like you weren’t enough is projecting their own beliefs onto you! You said it yourself, both cultures make up your being. You are not either/or, you are BOTH, and that’s something that’s within you, regardless of what other people have to say. Do whatever makes you feel more secure in your identity; if it’s not knowing enough about your cultura that you are self conscious of, all the knowledge in the world is just a Google search away. There’s always going to be people telling you what to do and how you should feel, but that’s their problem, you are supported and loved and you are accepted just the way you are, and if you don’t think so, keep reading to check out Ana Martinez’s answer a little further below.
“Well I feel like I am not living up the standards of being resilient. I am struggling to get my career or studies done, I just feel overwhelmed about the pressures of being an immigrant, disabled, and with chronic issues. I don’t know how my grandma did it coming from a indentured farming family to a businesswoman in her prime time in Mexico- considering that she was not a white woman or a criollo or from a rich family. I am very tired of fighting. I am exhausted. I don’t think I represent anything of Latinx/Latina/Latine, but my grandma DOES represent that. 🇲🇽🌻” – @pandapanda_26
It’s not fair for us to compare our obstacles and challenges to those of anyone else, especially our parents’ and abuelos’. Granted, sometimes it’s hard not to, especially when we consider the lives they led and the sacrifices they were forced to make along the way, but we’re never going to feel like what we do is enough if we’re always comparing ourselves to them. It’s hard not to feel intimidated when things seem to go wrong or when things get tough but mija, you’re doing amazing! Growth is hard and uncomfortable and sometimes we fall but the most important thing is that we pick ourselves up and keep going. That’s exactly what we saw when we read your response: someone who has overcome many challenges and is tired af but is still here, growing and learning and echandole ganas. Think about a time when you overcame something you thought you wouldn’t. See? You can do anything as long as you actually try, your abuelita’s blood is in you, and you cannot fail. *Sending you a big virtual hug*
“Being Latina means being proud of your culture, and being a princess and a warrior.” – @j98oo
“What being Latina means to me: you have the upmost knowledge and first hand experience of struggles( it be family, self, work) getting by just to stay afloat(financially, emotionally, physically) but most importantly the exposure and lessons embedded in us by our adult leaders(parents/ guardians/grandparents) in our life. But on the other side of that coins what makes us Latinas unique is beside all of the above we still are shown how to hard workers, humble, and resilient.” – @tati_rivas90
“It means I love to dance. It means family will always be the most important thing in the world to me. It means I might sound like a gringa to some pero the spanish comes out real quick when im angry, smitten by a cute dog, or in other situations I better not say. It means I belong to a group of people they act like they can’t see. It means I have to explain myself to my white boyfriend over and over again. It means every time I go back home to miami a part of me that’s always empty gets filled. It means vallenatos, mi abuelita, My finca in colombia, the navidades that can never be the same again ❤️” – @saraamayaaa
At the end of the day, remember that where we are born does not determine who we are.
“It means that just because we were born in the 🇺🇸.. being children of a Mexican immigrants… we are Latinos” – @anamartinez67
We hope that you are feeling just as inspired by these responses as we are.