As I was thinking about this new blog and what it will be about. A thought came to mind. It was part of a skit from Russell Peters’ standup. I caught his latest video on netflix and during his standup he spoke about his brown skin and how he hates going to Miami. Because of his brown skin people automatically assume he is Latino. He goes into his routine, telling the story about how un viejo cubano, started speaking to him in spanish. Of course Russell tells him he does not speak spanish. The old cubano looks at him and says, “What do you mean you don’t speak spanish! what kind of Latino are you!!!”. Insert wide eye old man pointing at Russell Peters in disgust.
As I clutch my stomach and fell onto the couch, roaring with laughter. Thinking, “OMG that is so true!” In my subconscious I had to really think about that and reflect on my own dealings with other Latinos and the whole, no habla espanol? Porque?
As I wiped the tears of laughter from my eyes. I had to remind myself that yes there are Latinos who DO NOT SPEAK spanish. Unfortunately, there are alot of Latinos who do not speak spanish.
Daddy just got back from visiting Abuelita in Puerto Rico and of course he brought back gifts. On this particular day I was wearing a T-shirt that said Puerto Rico on it. This guy asked me where I was from and my family etc. ( If you don’t know Puertoricans can have a heavy accent) I didn’t understand him. Not one word, because of my lack of understanding it was assumed I am not “REALLY” puerto rican! I often had to ask myself, “what does that mean?” What makes a person Latino?
Growing up in a muslim household, life was very different for me. We did not have parties. We did not drink. It was a very religious home. We prayed 5 times a day. We fast during Ramadan. We were very active in the muslim community. For someone to tell me Im not “REALLY” puerto rican was very perplexing to me. What else would I be?
My Latina sisters and I have this conversation on a regular. The feeling of trying to prove to other Latinos, yes I am muslim AND latino. As well as, proving to other Muslims, yes I am Muslim.
Alhamdulillah (All praise to God), ALMA (Asociacion Latina Musulmana de Atlanta) has had a great response from sisters in the Atlanta area. We all seem to feel the same thing. Finally we are not alone. There are Latino muslims in Atlanta. It is great to come together to share stories of life and great spanish recipes. Alhamdulillah (All praise to God), we have had a great response from other non-latino muslims who are very excited to see Latino muslims in their city. Insha Allah (God Willing) our numbers will increase. Ameen.
In the end it is great to sit with people from your cultural background and share your history without having to prove who you really are! And it’s nice to know we speak the same language, we pray 5 times a day, we fast together and see each other at the same Islamic venues.
Finally we can say, “Si, Estamos Musulmanas y Latinas, Alhamdulillah!”
Insha Allah (God Willing) you enjoyed the Blog.
Tu Hermana en Islam,