¡Viva la patria!
Those three words sit at the very core of every Hispanic person.
They are laced with love and adoration.
They hold pride.
They rumble deep within us and escape in a loud cry as we celebrate and love one another.
From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, America celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the vibrant culture and rich history of Hispanic Americans.
However, America’s recognition is sorely lacking.
Hispanic Americans are losing their sense of identity and America’s only concern with this group of people is how to deport them.
Many Americans—including Hispanics—do not know when Latin American countries broke from colonial rule.
Sept. 15 marks the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The following day, Mexico celebrates its independence from the Spanish with el Grito de Dolores. Chile and Belize join in on the independence celebrations Sept. 18 and Sept. 21, respectively.
For the sake of education, and to finally break the typecast, Hispanic and Latino are not interchangeable terms, nor do they refer to race or color. Hispanics are people of Spanish-speaking ancestry therefore, not all Hispanics are Mexican.
In the midst of Donald Trump’s offensive campaigning and the rise of racist America, the need to celebrate and understand Hispanic Heritage Month is imperative.
There are many things to be said in regards to the struggles Hispanic Americans face. However, I’d like to focus on the lack of attention paid to this community and its repercussions.
In ignoring this large group of people, Hispanic Americans lose their cultural identities. The U.S. school system briefly covers Hispanic history as if it were a footnote in the grand scheme of America. Consequently, uneducated Americans wrongly assume all Hispanics are from the same place and are wrongly depicted, resulting in oppression.
Hispanic students are chastised for speaking Spanish in schools or ridiculed for their accents. The consequences of white-washing and assimilation can trickle down into the culture itself, creating internal conflict.
There is often a divide between Spanish-speaking Hispanics and those who do not have a good grasp on the language. Hispanics unable to speak the language are told they are too American or not Hispanic enough. It is impossible to please either side.
Being a Hispanic American is not about choosing sides. It is not about letting the American racial divide break us down.
Texas State is notably a Hispanic Serving Institution with Hispanics making up 33 percent of the student population. These titles and statistics are nice, but the university is lacking in its actions.
As a Bobcat community, we should follow the example of our most notable alumnus and former U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1968, LBJ recognized the importance of the Hispanic influence on America and saw it fit to celebrate our histories, cultures and contributions. Hispanic Heritage Month is ours. We should feel proud to celebrate our intricate gene pool and vibrant cultures.
Hispanics do matter and we will not be forgotten.
-Elena Lara is an English sophomore