I’ve finally learned that culture is not a static thing. It can be if one makes an intense effort to not change at all, but in order to do this, you’d have to constantly and deliberately reject anything new that can influence you (music, books, the Internet, etc.)
It’s only natural that I’m not as “Mexican” as I used to be. The high school I went to had quite a bit illegal immigrants, that brought different mannerisms, their music preferences, beliefs and convictions, ways of dressing… My mom wasn’t from the same state that the majority of those boys and girls were from (she’s from Nuevo Leon, and a lot of my classmates were from San Luis, and those places are a little different).
Some of the Chicanos I’ve learned about in my Latino Literature class this semester believed that the best thing to do was assimilate, and never speak Spanish.
I know several Mexicans that hold onto their ways very tightly and are incredibly awkward and backward and unable to hold conversations with people of very different cultural backgrounds that I can effortlessly converse with, because while I love America, I understand that it isn’t the absolute center of the world, and it isn’t inherently superior to every single country in the world.
I feel like the best thing to do is to be in the middle. To “assimilate” some, because I really do love classic rock, as well as evangelical culture, and some pop music and country music… I love being Texan!
But, I also want to make a serious effort to hold onto some aspects of my cultural background. The “pagan” music I listened to in high school is still very catchy, but at least now I understand that it isn’t the holiest music, so I can enjoy it in small doses. I understand now that a lot of the music that I listened to as a teen wasn’t necessarily the best music that Mexico and Latin America has produced, but I will probably never get over how fun Gasolina and Asereje and Reggaeton Ripiao are.
Finally, what I considered to be “Mexican culture” was not what the Mexican Americans of the 50s and 60s considered to be “Mexican culture”.
This is kind of profound, because I considered Ramon Ayala and Bronco and Caldo de Pollo to be REAL Mexican music– but those artists and that song were popular in the 90s.
I grew up listening to these “newer” artists producing new music that would eventually be considered old by my brother and nephew, and new by a Mexican American that was born in the 60s.
I’m juggling quite a bit of cultures. I’m influenced by my dad’s love of TV shows and music from the 60s-80s, and I love evangelical culture because I have evangelical churches to thank for bringing me from being a newborn baby Christian, to being slightly wise. I’m an Aggie, and they brainwash you in Aggieland. ;) I went to a high school that had a large population of African Americans and Mexicans. And I got to enjoy a great glimpse into Asian American culture, that had evangelical and Baptist culture sprinkles on top.
I’m so ready to compile a list of songs, soap operas, and the other things that formed the Mexican part of my cultural background, so that my nieces, nephew, and brother will be able to get a glimpse of what “Mexican culture” looked like in the 90s and 00s, from my point of view. If I feel very far from Mexico, then these kids are hundreds of miles farther than I am.
And who knows, maybe one day this memoir I’m making will get published. :)