As an adult, I learned English was my mom’s second language.
& that living through Chicano history in San Antonio was complicated for a girl wanting to fit in.
She never talked to me Spanish. I was an Oswalt, not a DeLeon. I wouldn’t be made fun of for my accent or the way I pronounced things. I would not be lost in translation.
She was a different ethnicity, a minority in this country. The first thing they made her forget was her language. The first thing I’d be good at would be communication.
The pressure to just be normal makes sense.
I forgive her for barely teaching me the bad words in spanish. For not being Louder. For not knowing how to fight back. She found her own way as a young mom taking a job at SMCISD working directly with parents who spoke Spanish. She could speak it when it mattered.
& maybe she was protecting me the only way she knew ho.w. & maybe teaching me an important lesson in empathy. She was trying to make the future better for me, & for others, & ultimately the thing that made her feel different is the thing that defines so much . I learned perseverance from the best.
I see clearly the privilege my mom gave me with a white last name & fair skin. But I am forever proud of her maiden one. & her inability to burn.
Read about this piece of forgotten history below.
Step Into My Office, Baby