This I Believe

pasqual - Nipomo, California
Entered on July 5, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I Believe……

I believe that I should be respected for who I am. Eventually some one might experience some type of disrespect in their life time, maybe more than once. I know I have, more than once, but there’s a particular time in my life time that I’ve been disrespected, and it still happens till this day. Ever since my eighth grade year, I’ve been asked the same question over and over. “Why don’t you speak Spanish, your Mexican?” Every time I hear that, and it’s usually people of my own kind, I just want to strangle them, but I just keep my cool and tell them I never was taught the language. As soon as I tell them that, they leave shaking their heads in disappointment, which I feel is rude and disrespectful.

It all started in eighth grade after science class. I was walking to lunch when two Hispanic girls came up to me and said “hola” which means “hi” in Spanish. At that time, I didn’t know what the hell that meant. I responded with a confused look on my face, “What does that mean?” I asked. They both looked at each other with disbelief and started to laugh and giggle. Still confused and feeling kind of stupid, I asked, “What’s so funny?” one of the two girls said, “you’re Mexican, and you don’t speak Spanish?” That’s sad; your white wash”. At that moment, I never felt so disrespected and so out of this world, especially with my own people just because I didn’t know how to speak my own culture’s language. Throughout my bus ride home from school, I thought to myself, “Why don’t I speak Spanish”. As I got off the bus at my stop, I started running home, knowing my parents were there. To no surprise, my parents were at the kitchen table talking to each other about bills. I walked by them, not saying anything until I opened the refrigerator door and rudely interrupted their tall talk, asking, “I’m Mexican right?” my mom said, “Yeah why?” I ignored my answer and threw another question at her. “Why don’t I speak Spanish?” she simply replied, I don’t know, I just didn’t”. Then, my dad said, “My parents never taught me Spanish either.” At that moment, I felt back at earth. But I didn’t feel like asking why his parents never taught him. As I shut the refrigerator door, my dad said, “The reason why your mom didn’t teach you Spanish is because there was no need to, every body around us spoke English”. As my question was answered, I just walked away.

I’m a college student at a community college, and still till this day, I don’t speak Spanish. Speaking Spanish isn’t going to make me fit in to make more friends or make me a better person. I just believe that everybody should be respected for who they are, and I believe that I should be respected for who I am; even though, I don’t speak Spanish.