Making America (Immigrant) Again!

When I think of “America” I think of South, Central, and North America—that’s one of many flaws in Donald Trump’s campaign slogan. He is perpetuating the idea that “America” strictly applies to those of us in the U.S.A and belong to the dominant group or share the dominant groups views.

I am left wondering, Donald Trump, are we going to make ALL of South, North, and Central America “great” again?

Immigrants have made this country, the USA, a place of refuge. I think you know who we should thank for the space, Native Americans. If only those in power would recognize that this land was colonized by immigrants. Immigrants seeking refuge due to religious, economical, and/or political oppression. The face of the immigrant has changed over time, but the reasons for coming here remain largely the same.

Therefore, as a stand against a hateful rhetoric towards undocumented immigrants and immigrants seeking asylum I make the following declarations about my own identity to remind others that we are all immigrants. Immigrants that have shared a journey in making the U.S.A our home.

I am a second-generation Mexican immigrant.
Which generation are you?

I am multiingual in Spanish, English, and Spanglish.
How many languages (do you speak that) have been past down from your ancestors?

I am an American.
I love the America I know that embraces ethnically, racially, and linguistically diverse communities.

BEING AMERICAN MEANS BEING AN IMMIGRANT.

We are a nation that does not have an official language because we speak a plethora of languages.

We are NOT a homogenous nation!
We are brown!
We are black!
We are multilingual!
We are a nation of many creeds!
We are NOT what you, Donald Trump, say we are!

We will continue to stand up and speak up for marginalized communities!
We are united!
We will resist!
We will rise!

Spanish as a right: We do what we please with our bilingualism!

I have been speaking to my daughters in Spanish since they were in womb. I have made zero accommodations for anyone in the way I choose to navigate our bilingual lives. I have had a range of experiences in which I was asked to simply speak English in public spaces to being asked when I was planning on exposing my daughter’s to English (even though we live in a country where the English-monolingual identity is powerful and influential).

I’ve started to think about what our bilingual world would be like now that an anti-immigrant/English-first (synonymous with America-first) POTUS is in power. Now more than ever (at least for me as a parent/academic raising bilingual children) using Spanish becomes a right, a political statement, a weapon against a hateful rhetoric that essentially put Donald Trump in the position he is now as POTUS. For these reasons alone, I have decided to speak Spanish a little “louder” in public spaces. I started to think about the idea that, we (Latinx’s who speak Spanish) can do what we please to do with our bilingualism.

On another note, it’s not uncommon for Spanish speakers who live abroad to try and make hotel reservations in New York City while planning a vacation. What if an individual abroad happens to only speak Spanish? What if they call Trump Tower (perhaps oblivious or indifferent to the way Trump feels about some Spanish-speaking immigrants) and can only try and make a reservation in Spanish? Would someone be willing or able to help them? What would happen? Would they get hung up on because the receptionist doesn’t speak or understand Spanish? Would the receptionist be so tired of pranks to Trump Tower and threaten to report their phone call to police ALL because they have no idea what the Spanish speaker is saying? Even if it was simply, “Hello, I’d like to make a reservation” in Spanish.

Do we now live in a U.S.A. where speaking Spanish to someone who doesn’t understand Spanish be considered a threat? Is speaking Spanish now liable as a report to the police? What could the police actually do? Would they arrest you on the premise that English is the accepted norm (even though the USA does not have an official language)? What would happen?

Language is a right! We should be able to navigate public spaces in whichever language we see fit! After all, this is how we do being bilingual!

¡Ni un paso atra, hermanxs!  ¡Ser bilingue vale por dos!