Stop doing the MOST for those doing the LEAST.
*This post is gonna come off mean or offensive, sit with it, lean into it, learn.
Look... sometimes we go out of our way to please people without recognizing the toll it takes on our identity and growth.
A cultural example:
I grew up in a Spanish speaking home, in primarily first-generation immigrant communities. Spanish is my first language. I am equally proficient in both it, and English.
Until I moved to Greeley, CO it was rare to find myself in situations where I could not find people to speak to IN Spanish. Other than teachers or officials, it was rare for me to spend a lot of time with people that ONLY spoke English. Broken Spanish or Spanglish in the least, I always felt the comfort of my switching tongue.
In highschool still, I always had those strong connections to culture.
And then I left school.
After high school, I started going to college classes with primarily American peers. My first real job was at a Mexican restaurant with a primarily white staff. I started attending a primarily white church. My entire in-law family is primarily 2nd/3rd generation or beyond and with rare exceptions speak Spanish to me.
I got married and around that time my mom and best friend moved to Mexico. My brother went off to school. With the exception of 2 unsafe fam members, everyone in my family lived at least 50 miles away in Denver. (a sudden reminder that I couldn't legally drive till I was much older because of my status...).
In a matter of a few years, I COMPLETELY lost connection to MY community.
In my head, it wasn't necessarily a "bad thing". I was open to connections with any culture and it was my pride to be a person who could represent while being in those spaces.
Here's where my points STARTS...
I'm writing this in English. I built my online presence in English. I explain immigration topics in English. I share MY life online in English. Let me be very clear that I significantly dumb down all my very important and vital topics in English for the sake of those who ONLY speak English.
A big criticism I've received over the years...a big reason why I know I've struggled to stay connected with MY community and culture IS that I post in English.
I can hear my abuelita's lament that she SEES me on FB but can't understand what I'm saying.
And for years, with a pained shame my response had been...if I write in Spanish, people won't read what I write.
👉 let's be more honest, I KNOW many of whom who will be straight up OFFENDED or even go so far as to attack... so, I pleased the crowd...in my writing, in my connections, in my decisions... in my life.
I have spent YEARS talking immigration with folks that purposely go on to ignore the topic or ignore what I post or...at my appall, get annoyed.
I have spent YEARS bending to the culture of this country.
This morning as I shared yet ANOTHER immigration CALL TO ACTION, my morning tiredness and hopelessness led to a quick and short Spanish caption and my sad brain kicked in with its critique...."they're gonna ignore THAT!"
I worried about how people may not be able to understand...and then, my now awaking and much more HEALED brain gave me a great retort.... "WHO in my life has greater ACCESS to technology that can help them translate?
It's not my Spanish speaking grandmother who doesn't know how to work this complicated app right?
So WHY the FUCK, have I been catering to people who I KNOW, for virtue of just luckily being born in this country, have had a lifetime of training, teaching, and financial access to KNOW better... to WANT to do better, to WANT to learn and understand as a CHOICE!?"
Why has ALL my energy always been with making it easier for people who would not go so far as to click on a site to learn more about my community's experience let alone click the "Translate to English'' button on a FB post.
This is an angry post, and if you've gotten this far, it should be read angrily.
Community are the people in your life who make the effort to commune with you. Not "tolerate", not "allow", not "force"... SHARE. Share in life, in responsibilities, in pains, in struggles, in interests, in goals, in wants.
That's what I WANT.
And it's something I let go of and dismissed because of my fear. Because of my people-pleasing and my lack of strength in SELF…
It's not worth it.
Many of us are doing this, maybe not culturally, maybe in our work, our faith, our marriages, our other identities...but,
It's not worth the loss.
I am eternally grateful for the many people who HAVE and CONTINUE to genuinely invest in MY experience but I know that even adding that caveat is my way of easing off feelings of fear that I may offend the "good ones" (as it's said).
Do the most for the people that do the most for you.
Culturally and Socially speaking...para mi gente... el apoyo y el trabajo y riesgo que las communidades de color nos dan a los inmigrantes en este país es una maravilla. Es un don de Dios, un brillo en lo que a veces se siente como eterna oscuridad. Gracias. 💖