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Adalida Baca
Englsih 110
Micheal Flores
September 24, 2016

Lonesome to Latino

Her deep large green eyes and light milk chocolate skin with the longest legs and the
plumpest lips that can be seen through any crowd is my roommate Amber. She is a Latina that
sounds British and is from Redwood City, California. She grew up in poor neighborhood in a
Religious house hold and attended a private school. She is a diverse human that has been
exposed to many different cultures, ethnicities, and races. She often felt conflicted with her own
identity due to this exposure especially growing up in school. Ambers experiences throughout
her life shaped her perception of race today and her own identity.
As a child growing up with a Latino background was often confusing for Amber Victoria
Cuenca. When asking her how she grew up and what she thought she identified as she said that
she wanted to say [she] was Mexican but growing up [she] never spoke the language. Due to
that she felt that she couldnt truly identify as Mexican without being judged because of societal
views. People would tell her that she wasnt really a part of it even though [her] parents said
[she] was because of the language barrier. She described that her own grandparents would scold
her for not speaking Spanish. Her parents originated from Mexico and they spoke fluent Spanish
but they spoke English in the household to try and learn the language. Her parents only learned
English for the sake of getting better jobs so that way that they could afford to love a comfortable

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life. This shows that Amber was stripped and deprived of growing up with the Latino culture her
parents experienced because of the pressures of society and the issues they impose on Latinos.
Later, when Amber entered middle
school and attended a diverse school that
shaped the way she looked at different cultures.
She often went to school mostly with white
people and some Mexican a few Asians and
Pacific Islanders and some black people so she
learned a lot about different people and
backgrounds. Therefore, this often confused her
more on her own identity because she was

Amber visiting family as a child

experiencing so many diverse cultures. She felt that it seemed so easy for others around her to
identify as something but not her. Due to this [she] was never taught about race till middle
school because [she] grew up with many cultures so race wasnt really a thing instead she just
went with whatever her parents told her she was. She always identified in middle school as
Latina because it was what she was told. She explains it that it was the way I was told because
they would ask where my parents were from and it was different than me because I was born in
the United States so they would just tell me what I identified as I and I went with it but didnt
fully understand why. This made her feel even more confused about her herself. She didnt
really understand why people would categorize her and why race even mattered. Amber talked a
lot about what growing in a middle school mostly composed of people that spoke Spanish and
how she didnt. She describes it as if she was shunned from her other classmates because she
again wasnt considered a full Latina just because she didnt grow up learning Spanish like

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everybody else. This only contributed to her being confused because the people around her and
societal views were choosing her identity for her which pressured her into her own self category.
Therefore, she mostly hung out with another Latina girl and knew her from [her] mom because
[her] mom and the friends mom were best friends and she was confined in friendships as well.
Thus showing that not only did Amber struggle where she stood in the ethnicity spectrum but the
people around her pressured or denied her access to other possible identities.
Finally in high school Amber began to have a better understanding of her own identity.
She spent time with a mixed group of people that didnt really shun her because she lacked the
ability to speak Spanish. She noticed that it was different in high school because nobody cared
about other people and who they were or were not they usually cared more about themselves.
Thus Amber had more time to divulge into what she wanted to identify as. She had grown up
thinking that it had something to do with your
background but mostly how you were raised;
however, she changed her mind to it mostly being
about your background and if you choose to accept
that part. Thus she was able to accept the different
identities she felt she could identify as.
Amber and her friend

Finally, Amber has now come to

understand her identity as Latino. She believes that she doesnt need to know Spanish to be
accepted into the Latino identity. She realizes that she can be a part of that culture because it has
to do with the past and where ones blood has traveled. She believes that her history is the only
one that can say what can be her identity. After that she didnt really care what people thought
she was because she had already decided that it was the United States ideology of race that

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drilled the idea into her head that she couldnt be Latina. After that she was no longer going to let
those stop her from her true belief of being Latina. Amber Victoria Cuenca went from a
lonesome mixed identifier to a proud Latina.