I’m a student of Cultural Anthropology & Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I was born to a mother of Colombian descent and a father of El Salvadorian and Honduran ancestry in Los Angeles, California.
The term “culturally homeless” was something I had never heard until I got to college. Among some millennials, it seems to be a growing form of identification and the ideology behind it really resonated with me. Although I am of mixed heritage, I am not well-versed in customs, languages, or traditions of my cultural background. Growing up in a cultural melting-pot like Los Angeles, people always assumed I was of Mexican heritage, perhaps it is the proximity that L.A and Mexico share compared to that of other Latin American countries. This assumption never offends me. Naturally, there is this electrifying pride attached to one’s heritage and I have never been exposed to it in my upbringing. I viewed these moments as an opportunity to share something small I know about my heritage with someone who may know nothing about Colombia, El Salvador, or Honduras.
Not being fluent in Spanish is something I’ve strangely had to struggle with. An assumption that did bother me was that I spoke Spanish. Being approached in Spanish and having to reply in English never boded well with others. I would be shamed for not knowing it, my parents would be shamed for not teaching it to me. I have always been able to understand it because I heard my parents speak with their parents and I picked some words up with my inquisitive nature. My parents would translate for me but speaking Spanish was something they were warned against doing when I got into preschool because teachers at the time believed that it could hinder my learning. This in turn began to affect how my parents culturally raised me. They abandoned their cultures so that the three of us could assimilate into American culture and lifestyles. As a student of Anthropology I was taught to view American culture as a compilation of the worlds culture’s. Not being able to categorize myself into a particular culture or set of them opened up a worldview that excitedly drew me into every culture. My lack of a cultural identity allows me to absorb and experience another culture without a bias of my own. This is why I fell in love with Cultural Anthropological research, it gave me a sense of belonging as I partook in someone else’s beloved traditions. I hope that as I grow and learn, you too will be inspired by a culture showcased here.
Thanks for your time,