7 December 2012
I Thought I Was White
Imagine living an amazing life, comfortable in your own skin, having many friends who admire you and are proud of everything that you have ever accomplished, when you go off to college and notice that you are look down upon. What would be going through your mind? Would you have ever guessed that it is because you are a minority who knows nothing about your own ethnic background? As sad as it sounds, this is a reality that affects many people today. A woman named Anna Lisa Raya, who is the daughter of a second-generation, Mexican American father and a Puerto Rican mother, experiences the hurt of being considered an outcast. In her essay, she finds it extremely difficult to be herself once she finds out that she is a Latina because she is not able to live up to what other people think a Latina should be. According to her point of view, she was surrounded by students who were very judgmental, which made her feel insecure for not knowing anything about her background.
When Anna discovers that she is considered a Latina, she is just entering college and was certainly not prepared to be put in this particular circumstance of being made fun of. She grew up in a predominantly Mexican neighborhood in Los Angeles, but she never learned much about her culture from her parents. She did not even look Latina. Anna was always mistaken for Asian or white, and since she was not raised in Mexico, she never learned how to speak Spanish due to her mother thinking that it would make her life more difficult. She mentions, “I am none of the above, I am the quintessential imperfect Latina.” She states that she has no idea what it even means to be a Latina. She ends up learning later in her life that she is unique, and there is nobody else ho is like her. It took her twenty years to understand what three Nuyoricans (Puerto Ricans born and raised in New York) told her. She was surprised to have found out that the three of them had undergone the same sort of mockery that she did. One being that some of them were not even taught Spanish during childhood. One of them gave her advice saying that she needs to be true to herself, because people will always complain about what she is doing and what she is not doing, and that she may as well accept who she is because she cannot please everybody.
This particular essay was a bit tricky to argue with, being that it was more of a testimony or experience, rather than a controversial topic. Throughout the entire essay she goes on to complain about how difficult college was for her, being that she was not a typical Latina. She definitely articulates her thoughts well, in the very fact that she is passionate about her given scenario. The author does an excellent job providing exactly what it was that she was going through, as well as the thoughts that came along with the hurt, insecurity, and confusion that she was in. This feeling of misplacement is definitely something that many people would be able to relate to, since there are many minorities who may feel this way. I do believe that she was over-exaggerating when it came to her feeling out of place in New York. Something that I could not help but notice was that she did not provide the specific moment in her life that could have been the downfall of her confidence. The author should have included this specific point in her life because that would have added not only length to the essay, but would have been more of an impact to those reading Anna’s story.
One could argue that most twenty year olds or young adults tend to feel misunderstood and even out of place. The reality is that she placed this burden on her own shoulders. She was going through an identity crisis, which is actually very common within this specific age group. Her argument would not have gotten her very far because any person experiencing