Latino Life Stories: Part 1 (Identity & Assimilation)
This is the first in a series of video stories that PalacioMagazine.com will feature. This one comes from a random search of YouTube and was uploaded by Rocio Posada. Students at the University of Richmond, Virginia discuss the challenges of identity and assimilation. The students range from U.S. born Latinos to those from Latin America. It’s a fascinating look at young people define themselves today.
I’ve always been fascinated with identity as a New York-born Latino with a Puerto Rican father and a Mother from the Dominican Republic. I started out life knowing very little English, speaking Spanish fluently. It was only after the first couple of years in Catholic school that my parents began speaking English exclusively to me. By the time I left grammar school, I had totally left Spanish behind.
But it wasn’t just my parents. I grew up in a mixed demographic neighborhood and city. My neighbors and friends were Irish, Italian, Jewish and Black. The children spoke English.
My first two years of High School in upstate New York were filled with 99% white english speaking students. In fact, my first year, I was the only non-white student in the school. I would come home for holiday break and summer to my old world of predominately Puerto Rican and Black. Talk about cultural confusion.
But that’s been my life. Often, being the first in all white environments. Moving in and out of predominately Latino or Black environments. I was the first Latino to work at Howard University Radio Station and at WTOP radio and television in Washington, D.C. (The city was affectionately then called Chocolate City).
How do first and second generation young Latinos and Cambodians in Long Beach today define themselves? How do they feel about the culture and language of their parents and of their world today. This will be one of the stories we will be exploring in 2016 as we explore issues ranging from identity to undiscovered history.