La anti-Latina

by Libby Juliá Vázquez

I recently returned from living in Puerto Rico where I spent time getting to know my island, my family and my culture.  My experience there only confirmed what I’ve always known: I love everything about being a Puerto Rican Latina.  I love the fact that almost any occasion turns into a party the minute someone says, “Hay me encanta esa cancion, sube el volume.”  I love the culture, the traditions and of course THE FOOD. Despite this love for all that I am, I’m often told that I am not Latina enough and once I was even told that I am the antithesis of a Latina, or as I like to call it: La anti-Latina.

What is la anti-Latina you ask! Perhaps a genetic mutation caused by eating under-seasoned food during pregnancy. Don’t know, but my Mom swears that a big caldero and a good man may just be the cure.

Could you be one too?  Compare her traits and see…

She’s too quiet. In 5th grade I had a crush on a boy named Alex.  He liked me but couldn’t like me because I wasn’t Puerto Rican. He got my phone number from his brother who was in my sister’s grade and called me. The conversation went something like this…

Alex: “You can’t be Puerto Rican.  Puerto Rican girls are loud, you’re too quiet.”
Me: “Umm…”

Having only my Mom and sisters, who were most definitely loud, as reference, I couldn’t argue with his logic.

She doesn’t have an accent. After living in Utah for four years, I lost my accent; the only one of my siblings to do so.  Upon returning to Chicago, my Latino friends were traumatized by this and constantly said, “You sound like a white girl” with such disdain, it compelled me to try a Rosie Perez impression, unsuccessfully I might add.

She rarely cooks. The kitchen and I are acquaintances at best. We see each other in passing, nod politely and occasionally hang out during holidays.  Not cooking doesn’t equal not having the ability to cook, but really…who needs to know that.  If they think you can’t, they won’t expect it *wink*.

She doesn’t think it’s her job to serve her man. I dislike any function where the ladies gather in the kitchen to gossip; ready and waiting to attend to their sports- watching men’s needs. I love sports, I drink beer and to the person heading towards the kitchen, I say, “Since you’re going that way, can you bring me another one too?”

She’s not married, doesn’t have children and isn’t sure she wants to. This may be by choice or it may be by circumstance (see the two traits above) either way it is what is.  I can spend my life bemoaning the facts or I can  not only accept them, but enjoy the freedom they bring.  This of course, makes me an anomaly.  As a Latina, shouldn’t I want those things above all?

Ssshhh, wait…I think I hear my Mom shouting a resounding !

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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17 Responses to “La anti-Latina”

  1. Awesome piece!!!

  2. I carry a few of these “anti-Latina” traits and I often get poked fun of for it. I’m better known as “La Blanca” and I don’t let it phase me. Great piece Libs!!

    • I agree Arlene, at first it used to hurt because my pride in Being Latino is bigger than my pride in anything else… Nowadays? I could care less if I don’t fit the “typical” Latino mold.

  3. JajajJa Libs this piece is AWESOME!!

    When people first meet me I get told I’m more like a white girl and less like the “typical” native Dominican. I have been told I couldn’t possibly be Latina because:

    1/ I’m definitely not loud
    2/ I don’t have the traditional “Dominican accent” when I speak Spanish
    3/ I don’t miss my Rs and S’s
    4/ They can’t notice my accent when I speak English and the vocabulary is proper

    However, dance with me, taste my cooking, browse through my MP3, notice my passionate spirits, and ask me about my culture… There’s no way in hell you’d miss the Platano in me 😉

  4. Chica, I think we were separated at birth! I share many of your same traits. And at this point in my life, I don’t care, either. The beauty of being multi-cultural (which I am) is that you get to be totally unique and enjoy bits and pieces from the whole melting pot, without having to ascribe your likes/dislikes to anything in particular.

  5. I moved from CT to Puerto Rico almost four years ago and I get the Gringa, Nuyorican, De alla fuera comments all the time. I don’t mind it because when I lived in CT and went to an all Anglo school, I got the white girl comments from the nieghborhood kids and family because of my Education. So for me it doesn’t matter where I live, I am the Gringa Latina. Good post.

    • @luckychica- LOL finally, my twin found me! “Bits and pieces from the whole melting pot” LOVE IT!

      @Lucy, that’s how I felt in PR too. I thought I was speaking Spanish so well and was constantly reminded that no, in fact I wasn’t.

  6. I think this is ridiculous I think I fall under many items on this list and as far as I’m concerned who is anyone to judge and determine how latina you are so b/c a woman doesn’t have a whole bunch of kids, cook every single day, is a slave to the house and a machista she’s not a latina that’s BS. “Blanca” yep that’s me too also stupid since we come in all shapes sizes and colors. If someone let’s themselves be defined by the stereotype they’re stupid and if you think you can judge some on that criteria also stupid. I’m very independent don’t like cooking but can defend myself clean up but I’m also an individual too. Latinos are also individuals can’t put us all under one umbrella

    • You totally missed her point.

      If I am not mistaken, the writer of this post plays with the notion that there seems to be anti-Latina traits because of the fact that the description of a Latina has been so laid out.

      There’s nothing ridiculous about this post. What is ridiculous is the fact that you couldn’t read exactly what she wrote and not what you think she wrote.

      Nowhere in the post does the writer say, “There is for a fact a way to measure your level of “latinoness”; if you fall under these categories, you’re def not latino enough.”

    • Meow!!
      Now I know You are true Latinas !!!!
      Cat Fight! Cat Fight!

  7. You can’t be the anti-Latina cuz there seems to be a whole lot of us! I match everything except being Puerto Rican. Worse – I am 41 and still get pressured to have a baby. People don’t appreciate when I tell them my boyfriend has already replicated me, him & his ex-wife (three great kids). He has enough cooking talent for the both of us!

    Just thought you might want to know that a few years back, I was interviewed for someone’s dissertation. The focus was Latinas who are choosing not to bear children. The research should be out by now. Obviously, there is more than one Latina who chooses a non-traditional path 🙂

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