The majority of Latinxs in the United States are of Mexican descent. So, it’s natural that all Latinos are exposed to, and influenced by, Mexican culture and customs. We are grateful for the Mexicanos, their presence here, and all they have done to enrich our lives. However, non-Mexican Latinxs can feel left out, misunderstood, or completely erased. Here are some things that all non-Mexican Latinxs can relate to.
People Automatically Assume You’re Mexican
There are those who believe that if you are Latinx, and/or speak Spanish, you are automatically Mexican. Even worse, there are those who ask if you “speak Mexican.” Latinos, as we know, come from over countries in Latin America.
Not Finding Cool Gear from Your Country
Mexicanos have the best selection of cool tees, jewelry, bags, and more reppin’ their culture. You have the cool Chicanx items that pay respect to the old school while being on-trend and relevant to what’s happening today and you have the serape print, emblazoned on all kinds of cool stuff. Other Latinxs sometimes struggle to find something cute to rep their country, that doesn’t come off as generic.
Feeling Left Out of Relatable Latino Memes
We’ve seen all those hilarious memes that say “Mexicans be like,” or “Mexican problems.” But a lot of those cultural points refer to Latinxs as a whole. Case in point: My Colombian family also says “sana sana colita de rana” when someone is injured.
Feeling Left Out in General
It could be that most of the Latinxs in your area are Mexican, most of the Latinx culture in your city is Mexican, and the majority of what you see in Latinx media is Mexican. While that rocks, you can feel left out if you are from another Latinx country.
Knowing Mexican Culture Better than Your Own
The upside to this is that you really get to know Mexican and Chicano culture. It’s an opportunity to know something Latinx outside of what you’ve experienced at home which is pretty awesome. Think of all the Mexican novelas, great food, music, heroes, actors, style moments, and more that have become a part of your life and have influenced your culture.
Not Having a Local Restaurant from Your Country
This one sucks. Mexican food is great but try finding restaurants from countries like Honduras, Guatemala, and Bolivia, and it becomes a lot harder.
Having Customs No One Understands
I’m part Colombian and was raised completely in the Colombian culture, as some of you were raised in your country’s culture. We have some random cultural things that other Latinxs won’t immediately understand. One cultural distinction from Colombia that a lot of folks don’t get is that we put cheese in our hot chocolate and it’s amazing! Try explaining that to a lot of non-Colombians, and you’ll be met with some funny looks.
You Eat More Mexican Food than Your Own Country’s
Thank you, Mexico. No, really. I was literally grown in the womb from Chicano Mission-style burritos from San Francisco’s Mission District, and have eaten way more Mexican food in my life than Colombian. Mexican food is big in San Francisco as it has one of the largest Mexican populations in the U.S. and I’m are so here for it.
Holding it Down for Your Country (Sometimes by Yourself)
I’m a Colombian in the San Francisco Bay Area. Colombians out here are a rarity. So when it comes time to celebrate Colombian Independence Day, or watch a Colombian soccer game, it’s usually a party of few (relatives), or one (me). I do like being one of few Colombians here, though, because we totally come off like Latinx unicorns.
People Don’t Believe You’re Latino
This one is silly, especially since there are people of all colors, races, and backgrounds who are Mexican. Same goes for other Latinxs. So even if we don’t look like what you are used to seeing a Latinx look like, doesn’t mean we aren’t Latinx. It means you need to broaden your understanding of what Mexicans and Latinxs in general, look like.
You Lose the Accent of Your Country
Whether you retain your accent or not happens based on who you are speaking Spanish around the most, and what you see and hear in pop culture. Some people’s accent doesn’t change at all, while others will find themselves speaking like Latinxs of different countries the minute they are around them. In a place where you don’t have many speakers from the same nation, it’s expected that your accent will change and evolve a bit.
You Adopt Mexican/Chicano Customs and Words
Orale, chingona, andale. These are words used in Mexican Spanish that aren’t used in other Latino American countries but they rule. It’s fun to learn words from other Latinx cultures, that you wouldn’t normally use at home. While basking in all the things we have in common, it’s great to learn about what makes us different and celebrate those things.
We Are Not All Mexican, But We Love and Support Our Gente
Latinos are quickly becoming the majority. While we should recognize and celebrate our individual cultures, we are also all one gente, who need to stick together and uplift each other. Imagine the power we would have if we quit having these issues amongst countries, saw all the great things we all have to offer, and realized how we can create change as one. No matter what Latin American country we come from, we are all Latinx. What affects Mexicans, affects all of us and vice versa. It’s time we finally see it that way.