What Do You See?
Real Relationship Advice
What do you see when you look at me?
Do you see a woman whose mother was greeted with the bird every day at work from a coworker when she first arrived in this country and she thought it was a way to say ‘hello’?
Do you see a woman who was born in East Los Angeles to two Cuban immigrants who were working 5 jobs between the two of them?
Do you see a woman who was the first American in her entire family?
Do you see a woman who was raised from the age of 2 weeks in a women’s sportswear factory where most of the employees had questionable immigration status?
Do you see a woman whose biggest accomplishment when she was 4 was to receive her own trimming scissors so that she could work with her parents in the factory?
Do you see a woman who struggled in first grade because she spoke Spanish and bilingual education did not exist in the early 70’s?
Do you see a woman who spent night after night with her mother and sister learning English so she would not be retained?
Do you see a woman who was labeled as retarded in her grade school cumulative record because she did not speak English?
Do you see a woman who met Desi Arnaz when she was a little girl because he ate where all the Cubans ate in Los Angeles?
Do you see a woman with a graduate degree?
Do you see a woman who has spent most of her life translating for other Spanish speakers?
Do you see a woman with rhythm who can dance the salsa and merengue?
Do you see a woman who if she stood next to her uncle she would appear to be an albino sans the pink eyes?
Do you see a woman who has always gotten her jobs because she speaks Spanish among other talents?
Do you see a woman who married a ‘white guy’ even though she is whiter than him?
Do you see a woman who has an older sister and a daughter who have a lovely mocha color?
Do you see a woman who teaches her children that they are Cuban American and they should be proud of that?
Do you see a woman who teaches her children that her father risked everything to fight the Castro government and was almost executed for his beliefs?
Do you see a woman who heard a man refer to her father as ‘Paco’ by a bigoted asshole?
Do you see a woman who can only think in Spanish when she gets really angry?
Do you see a woman whose idea of comfort food is white rice and fried eggs, tamal en casuela and a tortica de moron?
Do you see a woman who aside from living in the states her whole life is inextricably Cuban and thus not just an American?
Do you see a woman whose parents have never noticed being discriminated because they believe in this country so much that they are blinded by their perceived freedom?
Do you see a woman who has lived in the United States for 46 years and will never go to Arizona as long as ‘Show me your papers’ Law is in effect because it is so un-American?
I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am Cuban. I am a Latina. I am an American. I am not my papers.
So next time you look at someone you have to ask yourself, “what do you see?”