Latino culture clash
Re “In L.A., speaking ‘Mexican’ to fit in,” Column One, Nov. 3
I read this article with both amusement and dismay. I’m Guatemalan, and my husband is Salvadoran. It’s a point of pride for us to be Central American in a Mexican-dominated city. My socioeconomic circumstances have allowed me the luxury of wearing my nationality on my sleeve, and I don’t lose sight of that.
Still, it’s pretty tragic that Central Americans can’t be themselves in front of other Latinos for fear of discrimination. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about!
The tension between the Salvadoran and the Mexican cultures evokes painful memories of the tension between my parents during their 20 years of marriage.
My father, of German-Jewish lineage, could trace his family roots here back to the Civil War. My mother’s father was a Russian Jew who learned English as he sold newspapers on the trains between Boston and New York.
Although their ongoing cultural war undoubtedly contributed to my mother’s early demise at age 53, they were totally united in their insistence that their children “fit in.” For example, the only time lox and bagels were served in the house where I grew up was at the shiva prepared by the temple sisterhood after my mother’s funeral.
While some of the issues between Mexicans and Salvadorans may seem to revolve around differences in everyday speech, the real conflict -- as with my parents -- is the never-ending battle of class.
Ruth Kramer Ziony