I recently applied for a minority mentorship program at my school, something that I typically would have been too shy to do. I thought I would share my response on here in case any of you have a similar experience with being an invisible minority, or would like to know a little more of what it’s like.
“I am a white-passing, straight-passing, lesbian, Latina. While this seems to give me the upper hand in how we currently define and distribute privilege, it has also been an incredibly alienating and burdening experience. I have often faced discrimination from both sides of each identity. Labeled as “too American to be Latina,” “too Latina to be American,” and “too pretty to be gay.” I have felt the pressure to assimilate into the majority and keep my sexuality and ethnicity as a secret or a “fun fact.” I often keep quiet about my identity when networking or applying to jobs, only revealing it after I have been hired. I have also felt too guilty to join minority groups and programs, such as this one, because I feel the burden my privilege brings to others trying to connect in solidarity. I can never truly empathize because I have the option to keep my minority status to myself. Yet, in college, I found that all of this resentment I had towards the societal pressure to assimilate is embodied in the Chicano movement. There is an entire community of Mexican-Americans who are refusing to assimilate into the American majority. I have learned to become an advocate for my minority groups and use my privilege as a way of drawing attention to the fact that not all Latinos or queers look the same. Some of us look just like the majority, and that is no reason to silence our culture.”
As I close out this application, a little voice in the back of my head still says that I am appropriating a culture that is not mine. Even though I was raised by two first-generation Mexican parents, and fully identify as queer. A little voice will always tell me that I should just be “normal” and live my American life.