Introducing or describing myself to others has always been difficult. Nevertheless, I have learned to define myself through my values and experiences. Others describe me or define me through the color of my skin. The values that define me include my strict Catholic upbringing. My experiences have made me into the womxn I am today.
On July 4, 2018, the most “American” day of all I suffered from discrimination due to the color of my skin. My tan brown skin, big brown eyes, and bleached blonde hair gave it away from my false identity. I was perceived as someone that did not belong at the festive event. The Independence day festivity that I attended this year was held at the National Mall. I was stoked to attend because of the well-known artists that were going to perform. The first performers were the Beach Boys! Consequently, I started to record the Beach Boys performance as any would millennial do at a concert. However, I soon felt eyes on the back of me. I turned around and noticed the eyes, they were staring directly at me. I felt uncomfortable. I moved, from a crowded area to another. I moved four times to be exact. Each time I looked around, and each time the eyes followed.
The eyes belonged to a tall white man. I gave him a look, so he could back off. Yet, the eyes did not want to leave mine. I am a 5’4’’ womxn that had to stand up for my personal space to a minimum of a 6-foot tall white man. Unfortunately, when I gave him the look I noticed the hat. Then I noticed the matching shirt. At that moment I understood completely what was going on. I was shocked. The hat and the matching shirt was indeed the infamous “Make America Great Again” slogan, or MAGA for short. This slogan has a negative connotation to immigrants. The MAGA apparel illustrates the belief that America is not “great” due to immigrants. Subsequently, I feel intimidated and flustered because of the implication that the man was making by wearing the MAGA apparel meant that he did not like immigrants. My skin color gives away the fact that I am an immigrant or come from an immigrant background. The man with the MAGA apparel was making a statement of discrimination and unwantedness to my person. I felt attacked and disappointed that on such a festive event celebrating the country built on immigrants, a Hispanic American citizen womxn was being discriminated against.
“I wonder why the man with the MAGA apparel thought it was okay to back away from me when I was with my tall white male friend, yet not when I was alone.”
Thankfully, a friend called me over not even realizing what had happened. Then I questioned why the eyes did not follow me. I realized my friend that called me over was a tall white male. I wonder why the man with the MAGA apparel thought it was okay to back away from me when I was with my tall white male friend, yet not when I was alone. I define him as a true coward. The tall white man picked on a short womxn, but backed off when a tall white man like himself was present. I define a coward as someone that can only pick on another if they appear inferior, yet when another individual is of the same physical appearance they are too scared to confront them. He is the true definition of what a coward means to me.
Although, my legal status and identity was judged on such a prideful day, I am glad my identity was questioned. I love my identity, but in this political climate, there are times when it is scary to represent my identity. Everything happens for a reason right? Well, I believe that this unfortunate sign of discrimination that has been encouraged throughout the current administration made me reassure my identity. I am a proud young Hispanic first-generation student that plans to work in politics in the future. Although more negative energy, like hatred, bigotry, sexism, and racism has been brought upon us, I still believe that we can do a lot of good for the sake of democracy. I will not give up on hope. More negativity may be in the eyes of those that look downwards on me and my colleagues for the color of our skin. Nevertheless, more unity rises. The unity comes from young womxn like myself that believe we are strong enough to change the world, because we are.
No man can intimidate me with the narrowed look into me. No man can define me or my worth. No man with the hat can define me or my worth. No man with the matching shirt can define me or my worth.
This is not about being better than that tall white man with the MAGA apparel. This is about womxn changing the world for the better because womxn are great. America deserves greatness, and a young strong independent Hispanic American citizen womxn like myself can make America greater than it already was. Therefore, my advice to anyone searching for their identity is not to look at their skin color, gender, nor past but to look from within what truly matters and what truly represents you. Your identity is what you want to represent you as a human being. Once you find your identity feel proud of it and wear that identity on your sleeve.