Latinos Who Don’t Speak Spanish Object to Getting Criticized for It

Samantha Corza, Reading Eagle Press (Reading, Pennsylvania), January 20, 2009

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Many people say that if people who are of Latin descent don’t speak Spanish, they are not considered Latino.

Celestino Corza, 13, a seventh-grader at Wyomissing Junior-Senior High School, says, “I think you’re a Latino even if you don’t speak Spanish. I don’t. But my dad was born in Mexico so I still consider myself a Latino.”

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So what do you call it when Latinos discriminate against other Latinos?

Anthony Perez, 16, a sophomore at Reading High says, “Other Puerto Ricans treat me different. They don’t really consider me Puerto Rican because I don’t speak Spanish. But it’s not fair because it’s not my fault.”

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Nick Revilla, 16, a sophomore at Reading High, says, “I tried to learn Spanish at school but it’s not easy. I wish my parents would have taught me when I was younger.”

Parents often wish their children would learn a second language but some parents miss the opportunity to teach their native language to their children.

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The fact that these students don’t speak Spanish doesn’t stop them from feeling proud to be a Latino. They still represent their ancestors’ countries and celebrate the same customs.

Antonio says, “I like being Mexican because I’ve seen the worst sides of other races and I feel like we work harder for the things we have and (we) have gone through more.”

Many Latinos celebrate their countries’ independence day in the United States and make big celebrations.

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Anthony says, “That’s my favorite thing about being a Latino. My skin color is so nice. It’s like a caramel color.”

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Nick says, ” I don’t think they would accept me because I don’t know Spanish. They don’t really think you’re Puerto Rican if you don’t speak Spanish. If I went to Puerto Rico today, I wouldn’t have as many friends or life as I do here in the U.S. They would probably make fun of me.”

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Anthony says, “Some of my friends are Latinos and then they start to speak Spanish, and I feel a little weird ’cause I don’t know what they’re saying, but they understand me. They accept me here. I wish I could say it would be that way in Puerto Rico.”

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Just ask around and see if people of other ethnicities know their country’s native language. Many would probably say no, so why are Latinos getting put down for it?

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