On Being Latina

I am not your fetish.

My name is not Maria, “Oye, Mira,” Mamacita, or Bonita Applebum.

I am not your Malinche.

I will not do the Macarena for you.

Nor do I know how to make Pasteles from scratch.

When you meet me please refrain from telling me about your love for tacos.

I cannot be your Vida Guerra, Jennifer Lopez or Watermelon woman (Google it).

Nor will I press your shirts, wash your dishes or take your kids to the park.

I am not your Magdalena, Madonna, martyr.

I can’t be bothered to teach you Spanish.

Don’t assume I have a tattoo somewhere or a knife or some mace.

Resist the temptation to heap on the cultural clichés: caliente, spicy, hot Latin mama/lover, hot-blooded, chili pepper hot, spitfire…

No, I’m not from the projects.

I don’t practice brujeria nor do I know how to cast spells.

Don’t think if you play some reggaeton in your ad, it will make me want your product.

I’m not from the Block or on the 6 Train.

Don’t assume I have 8 kids (and, no, not having any doesn’t make me gay).

I don’t appreciate the bastardized language used to implicate any association with being Hispanic: “She spics well for a Latina.” “Ay, What a mes.”

My culture is not something I am looking to lose.

I am not your Hottentot Venus.

You cannot send me back to my country.

I am simultaneously and collectively black, white, and Taino.

I am all three and I am neither.

I am American.

I am Latina.

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