Why My Daughter Will Speak Spanish
How does something so simple go viral? I have no freaking clue. The last few weeks have been a crazy whirlwind of excitement. Messages, social media notifications, article after article linking back to my blog, showing off my baby girl. I'm still at awe at how many people are interested in something so simple: a birthday message for a man who makes our lives better every single day.
But, there are always those people who try to spoil something sweet. For every five comments of "Aww" and "She's so cute", there's a rude, obnoxious comment. The most hysterical one so far? "This is America, she should be saying Dad".
Listen people, if you feel this way, you should just stop reading now. I'm over it. I'm done. If you want to live in a world with no culture, no diversity and a lack of tradition that's fine by me... here, let me direct you to a nice boulder somewhere for which you can build a home and a community under. You and your closed minded buddies can all just go live there, under that rock, where you've probably been for the last 15 years or so. And there, you all can have meetings and rallies and make signs, and keep your bigotry and hate to yourselves. Because after all, that's what you're trying to promote right? People staying to themselves, people staying with their own kind. Because I have some news that may be quite shocking to you... something that I know might shatter your whole world to have to come to terms with: The Hispanic Culture isn't going anywhere. Now, people who know me personally, know my parents are both American. I'm pretty sure my Dad is the only White person left in Hialeah (<--- there's a link there for you that aren't familiar with this little Cuban Sanctuary). When I was 8, my mom married a Cuban man, and my introduction to the Latin world began. I suddenly gained an Abuela & an Abuelo. I learned that instead of just Christmas morning we now have Noche Buena and the holiday was suddenly extended an extra day. And, primarily due to my nosiness and need to be in everyone's business, I began learning Spanish. I may not have been born into the Hispanic community, but I grew up immersed in it. In college at the University of Florida, I actually worked at a restaurant called Virtually Cuban. My friends would joke with me CONSTANTLY that it fit me perfectly because that's exactly what I was. If it wasn't already obvious, Javy is Colombian. One of the original reasons the video was uploaded was because I knew his family all over the world, who can't live here with us, would like to see how much she loves her Papi. When the time comes for Alexandria to travel to Colombia, or Spain, you better believe I want her to be able to communicate with her family. Her Colombian culture will ALWAYS be important, it has been since birth.
And it will be, for the rest of her life.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a community in South Florida where I had friends who were from all over the world. I joke all the time that our group of friends is a branch meeting of the United Nations: Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela, England, China, the Philippines, Argentina, Nigeria... So, to play devils advocate, I can totally understand how someones fear of another culture could push them to hate. People are always scared of what they don't know, it's human nature. It's part of our will to survive. Early Man would come across something they've never seen before and run from it - because that was safest. But in today's world, where we're not hunting and gathering to survive, this fear should be replaced with curiosity. Instead of shying away from all that is unknown, why not try to understand? Why not try to learn? Why not try to adapt? You don't think most of the people who come to this country try REALLY hard to assimilate into American culture? Most learn English. I have multiple children in my class who have only been in this country for a year or so, and are working so hard to learn the language. It's all about adapting to your environment. Because unfortunately, if you don't, you're going to be all by yourself in that little town under the rock. In California, it is projected that Hispanics will be the new majority in 2014. And in the United States, Hispanic People will probably be the majority in 2043. Pretty soon, you're going to have a nation full of bilingual and multilingual individuals, and you're going to be all by your lonesome. The best part about all of this? My faith in humanity was restored yesterday. While the negative comments were flooding in, I tried my hardest to ignore them but they bothered me. Some were downright hilarious, like how Alex should be in speech therapy. Seriously guys, she's 27 months old. Your speech therapist license should be evaluated. But I digress. As the negative comments came in, the internet fought back. Person after person downvoted, or responded to the comments standing up for my little girl. Supporting our decision to raise her bilingual, and encourage further cultural diversity in the world. People lashed out about their ignorance. Users were forced to continuously defend themselves from their lonely hatefilled island they had put themselves on. Most erased their comments or just gave up. But knowing that so many people had our backs and we didn't have to respond meant the world to me. And it will mean the world to Alexandria when she's old enough to understand.