You know I already have to take it from one group
How I’m not really Latina enough.
I go to my Latino groups,
It’s uncomfortable to be the only one there with an Anglo last name, funny because it’s actually Irish and I don’t see Irish ever being comfortable as an Anglo
And then they say my Spanish sounds white; does that mean my English will sound brown?
It’s weird seeing Byrne in a list of Lopez, Chavez, and Ramirez
Double weird because Ramirez is my mom’s last name
I honor my Colombian heritage; I work so the Latino community recognizes me as not just white.
All they see is my skin
I am the only South American in a room identifying itself as Central American or Mexican— it feels foreign
“You’re not brown enough”
I’m accused of selling out because I don’t live in the barrio, but I never made that choice
Then I think does raza restrict me to one hood only?
Are The Heights too good for us? Are we just afraid to accept that we have every right?
How many times have I heard that Colombia is a province of Mexico?
Whose chief export is cocaine, and no I don’t know a good dealer.
Yes the coffee is good, but it doesn’t mean we serve it with burritos and tacos
Mariachi is not Shakira
James, James does not play for the Chivas
And I’m not afraid of the Chupacabra
La Virgen De Guadalupe is not Colombian and Cinco de Mayo is not a national holiday
And I do not paint my face on the Day of the Dead
Then the other group asks me what I’m doing here?
My Irish dance partner challenges my presence in her class
What are you doing here? Seeing my hair is brown instead of red or blonde
didn’t I prefer salsa?
My family doesn’t drink green beer on March 17
I don’t like corned beef that much
Cabbage is okay
I’m equal for rice or potatoes
I hate chipotle sauce just as much as vinegar on my fish and chips
Raw jalapeños turn my stomach in the same way as boiled tomatoes
My dad doesn’t spend every night in the pub—at least not for 25 years
My mom didn’t swim across a river to get here nor pay a coyote
She and my dad’s family both waited in long lines at American embassies
Where bored bureaucrats waited to stamp visas after asking useless, endless questions
About American history and government that most Americans can’t answer themselves
So, I can salsa, cumbia, merengue, and I can jig, hard shoe, and soft shoe
I like Shakira, Juanes, U2, and The Script
Sofia Vergara has always made me laugh
Saoirse Ronan has made me both laugh and cry
Mainly cry as my grandmother tells me yet again how she went to school with her grandmother
Me gustan las arepas con queso
Just as much as black pudding
And both sides make killer rice pudding or arroz con leche depending on which side is serving
I have my mom’s family on December 24
And my dad’s on December 25
I am not brown enough.
I’m not white enough.
But a mixed color works for me
Anne-Cecilia Byrne ’16