Poll: Is speaking Spanish necessary to be Hispanic?

I am probably going to catch some flak for this blog post but…

On a recent Pew Research Center article a question was posed: Is speaking Spanish necessary to be Hispanic? Most Hispanics say no.

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Even more than half of the foreign born Hispanics said that it was not necessary to speak Spanish.
And it does makes sense for most ethnic groups as well. I do not expect second-or-third-generation Italian-Americans to come up to me speaking in lingua italiana.

Brad Pitt’s best role to date.
But to me, personally, speaking Spanish is one of the many things that make me proud to be a Hispanic and not just another English-speaking Puerto Rican with a Hispanic last name.

I do think it is important to make an effort in learning your language. There is something magical about preserving your culture, learning history, stories, mitos y leyendas folkloricas in language.

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Nothing magical about that haircut though. #peakhispanic
Sometimes things like poetry and music lose its essence in translation. For example, one of my favorite bedtime stories was the poem A Margarita Debayle by Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario. The translation of the poem does it no justice.

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In the future, I plan on teaching my children the language of my ancestors and fully immersing them in the culture that many generations of Hispanics miss out on when raised in the United States.


What do you think about that poll? Do you agree? Disagree? Are you trying to learn your native language?



2 thoughts on “Poll: Is speaking Spanish necessary to be Hispanic?

  1. I would have to disagree. Personally I am extremely thankful my parents taught me Spanish and planned trips every summer to Mexico to visit our family. It enrichened my curiosity for my culture and built an understanding and respect for people of my parents’country. I continued my education in college, taking Spanish Lit courses only because of that initial respect that I believe was instilled in me as a child..
    But as for my cousins in the states who were not as privileged as I was, whose parents were not as intentional about speaking Spanish at home or being able to afford trips to Mexico where they can submerge themselves in the language, I don’t blame them.
    Spanish was my first language but it wasn’t by choice. And I wouldn’t count my cousins who don’t speak Spanish, or who can hardly speak it any less hispanic than me.
    I think it’s a matter of identity for them. They’re not Mexican, but they don’t feel American. I can see why they consider themselves hispanic.
    I think the question here is: What is the definition of “hispanic” and is that definition up to interpretation?
    I would really love your thoughts on this. This is an interesting conversation for me šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Caro!

      I also do not think of Hispanics who don’t speak Spanish as less of a Hispanic than I am. I have cousins who moved to the states at a young age and they do not speak a lot of Spanish. Same with my nephews growing up in Miami (although with the crazy amount of Cubans there it’ll be like they never left home!). But to me personally it is a huge part of my identity and one of the many attributes that make me proud to be Hispanic. It helped me embrace the culture and learn about my ancestors. I am proud of where I come from and proud to be able to learn of so many Latin American cultures because I don’t have a language barrier and can learn colloquialisms and traditions during my work travels.

      Being Hispanic is up for interpretation nowadays. A Hispanic born in New York who has never visited the motherland but is sort of in-tune with their culture and has their flag plastered all over the place probably feels just as Hispanic as I do, a born and raised rican, and I can’t really go up and tell them, “you’re not Hispanic.”

      I really do think people from every country should make the effort in learning their language. It’s such a beautiful thing to be able to not feel like a foreigner when visiting where you’re from. You feel like you belong. Also, totally makes you stand out on your resume!

      I think that as long as we don’t have a Rachel Dolezal situation in our hands (lol), being Hispanic is up in the air.


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