Latino Americans Blog


September 7, 2013 12:10 PM by Sabrina Avilés

I have been asked what it means to be Latina. A loaded question. Well, this is what it means to me, a half-Dominican, half-Puerto Rican Latina. (And of course, this is different for everyone.) 

It means being able to go back and forth in two languages without ever noticing that you’re doing so (unless some monolingual person in the room reminds you that you’re being rude because “you’re speaking in Spanish!”) 

It means talking with your hands. 

It means embracing your curves. 

It means food: platanos, tortillas, cilantro (now oh-so-chic), tamales, empanadas, arepas, rice, beans, avocados (WE always knew it was good for us!), and all those strange root vegetables whose names change depending on where you’re from. 

It means cafecito con leche. 

It means not being afraid of color. 

It means feeling a sense of pride when one of your people (that’s right, those people with the difficult-to-pronounce last names like “Sotomayor”) gets recognized for their accomplishments. (¡Ay, Sonia, bendito sea Dios!) 

It means guilty pleasures (like watching those telenovelas with your mami or abuela, and asking them, “Why do you watch that crap?”, but staying in the room to see how the episode ends…) 

It means not being afraid to express your emotions. Like greeting your friends with a kiss.

Or conversely, being on the receiving end when your tia says, “Have you put on some weight?” 

It means pointing with your lips. (Because you don’t want to be rude and point with your finger.) 

It means having your non-Latino friends overhear a normal family conversation, and pull you aside to ask, “Why is everyone angry and yelling at each other?” 

It means not having to take salsa classes (because, you know, you grew up dancing salsa, and you can’t COUNT salsa, and why would anyone ever take classes?). 

It means being bicultural. 

It means being passionate – it's about el entrego with which we approach everything we do…. like these people: 

·                Ryan Lochte (Cuban mom)

·                Vanna White (Puerto Rican dad )

·                Frankie Muniz (Puerto Rican father)

·                Raquel Welsh (Bolivian dad)

·                Ted Williams (Mexican mom – yes!! did you hear that South Boston??)

·                Bruno Mars (Puerto Rican dad – and he’s playing in the SuperBowl halftime next year)

·                David Blaine (Puerto Rican dad)

·                Louis C.K. (Mexican father!! WHO KNEW… Louis lived in Mexico until the age of 7 before moving to the U.S. His first language is Spanish.)

·                Noomi Rapace (the original Girl with a Dragon Tattoo; Spanish father) 

source: Huffington Post online “Latino Voices” Sept 11, 2013 


Finally, it means being lucky enough to have been involved in the most important TV series about us, that will demonstrate to our fellow (non-Latino) Americans that Latino history is American history.

blog comments powered by Disqus