THIS essay got me thinking.
My maternal grandmother was born on Santa Catalina Island, raised most of her children in Villa Guerrero and Temastian Jalisco and when she returned to Califas she refused to speak English. My mother carried the burden of Spanish through high school, in a violently unfamiliar but always brown English-only Los Angeles. A reminder to my mom that she was definitely not Mexican-American. Fast (not so far) forward to my birth and childhood, when English forced my mom into becoming a definite Mexican-American, I learned that grandma always understood her grandchildren, something we felt beyond language barriers. As a child I always wondered if it was her stubborn ways, but as an adult I realized she's just the badass matriarch of the familia Ramos.
But where does this leave me, and my pocha ways? With big responsibilities. If English makes us Mexican-American, what are we without Spanish?
Should some of us adopt a Spanish-only rule, I'm pretty sure that I don't have too far to go before I can fairly declare myself Mexican-American. But Spanish first.