I’m not from Mexico!

At first we laugh, but then after a while we get mad. Nobody likes to be called the wrong name, or be confused as another person. Well for certain foreigners like myself, this is something that happens many times a week.

When I first got here to the U.S, my arrival at my elementary school was not all that pleasing. I got made fun of my first week, people looked at me like a strange alien and of course whispers surrounded me.

Elementary school was the first time I heard a question that was going to follow me even until now. “So, from what part of Mexico are you?” I have completely nothing against Mexico and the people, after all we are all a Hispanic community. What bothers me is how culturally illiterate some people can be. Whenever I would answer that, no, I was not from Mexico, the next question would come firing at me “oh so you are Puerto Rican? Or Cuban?” After I could finally say that I was from Chile, and that I was not a foreign exchange student, people would be shocked. They would make fun of me and ask if we ate a lot of chile peppers, laugh at how “Chilean” sounded and even ask me how I crossed the border. It really surprised me how people reacted to other cultures here, since the U.S is the place that has the most mixed races all in one country. When I came to high school, some people were more open minded. They would ask me how it was, where I liked it better, why I came here, how hard it was to adapt and so on. I realized I would end up talking to three or four people by the end, because people would find out some really interesting things about me and my culture . That is exactly my point. People need to open up. Don’t judge a book by its cover. We hear that all the time, but it’s true. If we just took the time to ask something as simple as “So, where are you from?” we would all know so many interesting things about each other. We need to learn to look beyond the typical. I noticed myself doing so, and found out that there are people from all over the world in our school, who are not foreign exchange students. So, take the time, don’t just assume, because there might be a huge story behind a person that needs being told, but only if you would just give them the chance.