What are you?
I am Mexican.
3 simple words. With it comes tradition and superstition.
You sit there spreading lies and we are hated by what you imply.
I come from fiestas and mariachis, piñatas and maracas, sombreros and dresses.
I come from guacamole and a variety of spices in my meals. Pan, arroz con leche
It’s quite an appeal.
I come from religious values and a moral code.
Catholicism and faith.
I come from la Virgen Morena and god.
I am the creation of fine Mexican arts. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
Clay pottery, embroidered cotton garments, colorful baskets with angular designs.
I come from Aztec ancestry, Olmecs and Mayans.
The empires they built and the reputation that precedes them.
The creation of the calendar and telling time by keeping watch at the stars.
I come from green, white and red.
The beauty of the Spanish language
Rolling my r’s, soothing lullabies and heavy accents.
My spanish is rich, it is bathed with emotion and ties me back to my home.
Each word warm like the sands of Cancún drowning with love as they sing a cheerful tune.
I come from the many celebrations my people have every year
Quinceañeras, Día de los Muertos and many more.
I am made and represented by the eagle with a snake on its beak.
I am the result of passion, love and the support of my people.
The many legends that have been passed on for generations,
the life lessons and the customs that have been so carefully embedded into me
I was raised with a strict mom who tried her best to not turn me into a “malcriada”
Tried to teach me what my abuela had taught her. Passed on all her rules and advice
I too was taught to bite my tongue to avoid punishments from my mom
I come from extended families, 10-12 children and old fashioned machismo customs
I am the result of Spanish colonization and cultivation
What are you? They ask.
I am the minority you so strongly reject, the one whose culture you’ll never respect
I am the one Lady Liberty has so rudely shut the golden doors on
The one you have all been trying to keep out of your precious racist America for so long
I am the one you claim and wrongly accused of bringing crime and rape
The one whose long names you try so hard to abbreviate
The one who washes your clothes, mows your lawn and does your dirty work
But it’s okay ‘cause today I refuse to assimilate
I choose to not let you uproot the beautiful plant of pride my parents worked so hard to nurture
And I choose to never forget where I come from and where I belong
America may be my motherland, but a Mexican is exactly what I am
Nicole Mendez '21 (BHSEC Queens)