In honor of Hispanic heritage month, I thought I would share some of my struggles of being a fourth generation Hispanic woman growing up in the Midwest.

Now, a brief history of the Fuentes family. My great grandparents came to America from Mexico before my grandmother was born. Then my grandma was born and grew up in Chicago where she later raised my dad. My dad moved our family out to the southwest suburbs and I realized from a young age that I was caught somewhere in the middle of being a minority and being a part of the majority. To be perfectly blunt, I only look Hispanic in the summer and look extremely pasty in the winter.

The funny part about this whole arrangement is that my mom speaks Spanish and my dad knows absolutely none. The only reason why I can speak broken Spanish is due to the years and years of terrible Spanish education provided by my high school. Somewhere along the Fuentes family tree Spanish seemed to fall off.

With this I’ve seen both sides of discrimination against Hispanic heritage. I remember once while on a vacation to Niagara Falls, my dad was basically interrogated at the border. It seemed that other cars breezed through border patrol. I truly believe that we were stopped because my dad looks very Hispanic. This isn’t the first time this has happened either; I have a sneaking suspicion my job applications sometimes go ignored because of my last name.

I won’t lie, I don’t know all the culture norms that go along with being Hispanic since I’m so far removed from the culture. I have been called ‘less Mexican’ because I don’t speak Spanish fluently or grew up in Chicago. It’s made me feel like I don’t belong in the minority when I definitely don’t belong in the majority either.

I truly believe racism is alive in this country, but its very subtle. It doesn’t help that Donald Trump is going around blaming all of Americans problems on the Hispanic community. Being Hispanic has been associated with ‘stealing jobs from hard working Americans’, what exactly does being American mean anyway? It makes it seem like I should be ashamed of my Hispanic heritage in this day and age.

I’m glad to say that I am extremely proud to be Hispanic. It just infuriates me to see people so filled with hate, for any minority. It especially drives me insane to hear someone use the line “in America we speak English”. America has no official language, and I will speak Spanish poorly wherever and whenever I want. All arguments for “we speak English here” could have been made by a four-year-old, such as “you came to our country you have to learn our language”, and then those same people go to other countries and expect everyone to speak English. I am proud of who I am and what being Hispanic has done to make me into the woman I am today. Everyone no matter what ethnicity should be proud of who they are.