From Latinopia June 11, 2012:
I’m a pocha who grew up in LA with family from Texas who speaks Spanish I learned between Monterrey and the South Texas border. If you were to put me into a cultural category by myself, I doubt I’d have a lot of company. But, for whatever reason, for most of my life, I seem to get on splendidly with the children of Salvadoran and Mexican immigrants — although I cannot honestly say we share many of the same experiences. Even when I’ve found myself amongst Argentines or Puerto Ricans or Cubans, there always seems to exist an immediate kinship.
I’ve heard accusations that Latinos grouping together is a racist phenomenon, but I demand to differ. There’s a lot more to it than the fact that we all have Hispanic surnames. It’s not as simplistic as speaking the same language or sharing a similar history, because the fact is I can barely understand other Latinos’ Spanish sometimes and I can’t seem to get any food down without adding chile. Rather, the thing that I personally feel I can share with the cacophony of Latinos I’ve encountered in my life is just a little bit more understanding a little quicker than I get from other folks.
Although the Argentines I once prepared quesadillas and chile for looked at my food strangely, asking if the two went together, at least they knew that tortillas weren’t a strange thing to eat. I always joke that Mexicans dance cumbia to everything — even salsa music — but the Caribbean folks I’ve met have never begrudged me for my lack of dancing finesse. My Salvadoran friends don’t always understand the culturally Mexican words that I use, but they have the patience to figure them out from the context of the words, and the grace to give me chile to put on their pupusas.