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Sunday, March 26, 2023


Guest column: America betrays its bicultural citizens

Children who grow up in this country with Hispanic families learn to incorporate both cultures into their lives, but America betrays its bicultural citizens by discriminating against them daily.

“Spanglish is unrelated to any other language because it is not a language itself, but rather an overlapping and mixing of Spanish and English lexical items and grammar,” according to Wikipedia.

It is funny to think that overlapping two languages has its own term, especially when these two languages are the most dominant in the U.S.

The Hispanic population is growing, however, and there seems to be a disconnect between the two cultures, although there are clear overlaps such as Spanglish.

Both the Hispanic U.S. citizens and DREAMers share a common betrayal from the country they call their home — DREAMers face a lot more legal obstacles.

Bicultural children and adults are able to merge two cultures so well that it is hard to determine the culture to which they belong.

They embrace their home country, the U.S., while appreciating their family’s native country, or their own country of origin.

However, there are a lot of problems with being bicultural. A person may feel like que ni eres de aqui ni de alla (that one is neither from here nor from there). There goes my Spanglish.

A lot of the Hispanic U.S. citizens’ children and DREAMers can relate to both cultures, yet feel disconnected, to a certain extent, from both.

Discrimination happens to anyone who is not a Caucasian male. U.S. citizens’ children and adults who are of Hispanic descent look and sound Hispanic most of the time. This opens the door to oppression.

The DREAMers and Hispanic citizens experience the same oppression with the added stress and fear of living in the shadows. However, both of these groups are sometimes too Americanized to be “real” Hispanics. They can manage to find an identity, but it might be questioned.

As stated earlier, the DREAMers’ struggle is very much like the one of the bicultural US citizens but without the benefit of being called a citizen.

They have been raised, educated and have acculturated to America, yet they cannot receive any of the benefits that being an American entails. These young adults and children are in a much more complicated position than the Hispanic citizens.

They have grown up here and identify as American, yet they are not recognized by America. Yes, the DREAM act has passed, and hopefully this has shut them up, right?

No. It has not, and I hope it does not.

Hispanic children became their family advocates from early on, since many times they are the only ones who knew English. They know how to advocate, so we cannot expect them to be happy with an unrecognized status.

This legality just adds to the betrayal of their American dream and their oppression.

Just remember that their countries of origin were either dangerous, poor or both. They sought a better life, and to a certain extent the U.S. provided that.

Their parents would not have fled their homelands without a good reason, and even though people from these countries are not legally recognized as refugees, they have similar traumatic experiences.

Hispanic-Americans — yes, this includes DREAMers and any bicultural individual, for that matter — already have an internal struggle of identifying with Americans, so do not add to it.

Learn to appreciate the beauty of different cultures and the wonderful people they bring. Learn not to add to this systematic oppression.

Just as Hispanic and American cultures have already been merged in Spanglish, the disconnect that still exists is hard to bridge — but not impossible.

Our country betrays me and countless others, but everyone has the opportunity to advocate for this community, and that includes you.

Astrid Tzoc is a social work graduate student. 

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