Growing Up Hispanic in America


Rose Waldron

In western culture, some find it hard to fit in because they feel different or are alienated from their peers. When you grow up with western culture or try to fit in with it, not only you are pressured to fit in, but you’re also pressured to keep your heritage. 

Stephanie Luevanos, Ruth Rojas, and Steven Nevárez are all juniors who were born and raised in America. Unlike their parents, they all have a different view of the world and influences. 

Stephanie Luevanos was born and raised in Colorado. Her mom is from Boaco, Nicaragua and her dad is from Zacatecas, Mexico.

Since they immigrated here, Luevanos’ parents have built a good lifestyle and held onto their Hispanic heritage and culture while living in America. However, her parents and her share different views because Stephanie grew up with a mix of Mexican and Western culture. 

For junior Steven Nevàrez, life was very different in Mexico compared to America.

 “I’m not from the rich parts of Mexico, they really don’t have anything, said Nevàrez.” “Instead of going to school, I’d probably be farming.”

Growing up with both sides wasn’t hard for Luevanos but, as she got older, the choices she made were hard. She chose to go vegetarian and in Hispanic cultures, it can be difficult to go vegetarian because everything is meat based.

In Mexican culture, meat plays an important part in different meals. Since Stephanie chose to be vegetarian, it’s harder for her to find foods that fit her lifestyle.

 “Whenever we go out to eat, I have to tell my family members that I am vegetarian. It’s kind of hard and puts everyone in an awkward position,” said Luevanos.

Similarly, Rojas’s sister experienced similar contention when she announced she was going vegetarian. It isn’t common to be vegetarian in the Mexican community. 

“We would pick on my little sister a lot when she told us she was vegetarian because most of our food contains meat,” said Rojas.

For Luevanos and Rojas, growing up with the influence of western culture can often be misunderstood by their family. On the other hand, traditional food is a vital part of Nevarez’s heritage.

“For us, our food has been passed down by generation, instead of finding something on the internet,” said Nevàrez.

Ruth Rojas grew up in a white neighborhood and went to a private school that lacked diversity. 

“Growing up, I mostly struggled with being different in a way because my mom would try to put me and my siblings in a very protected neighborhood which was mostly in an all-white community.” 

Rojas often faced discrimination from a young age as it would make her insecure and dislike her culture.

“Growing up, being an outcast affected me in a lot of ways. One of the main reasons I ended up not liking the way I looked was because I was too dark. I wanted to fit in the beauty type. I ended up having low self-esteem because of it,” said Rojas.

“At one point I hated being Mexican.” 

Nevárez also talked about his experience with racism. He told a story about the time he was eating out with his family and was judged by a random stranger they never knew. 

“Me and my family were eating out and this one old guy came up to this veteran and say ‘Thank you for your service.’ Then he looks at us and says unlike these b**ners who steal our jobs,” said Nevàrez. 

But as Rojas got older, she learned that being Mexican is who she is and she shouldn’t be ashamed.

“I didn’t like being Mexican because I would get made fun of, but once I got a bit older I started to realize how beautiful my culture actually was,”  said Rojas. “I started to accept it little by little.” 

Even though growing up with a different heritage and trying to fit into western culture can be hard, all three have embraced their heritage. 

“While growing up, I started to help people who are also struggling like me,” said Luevanos. “It made me feel more comfortable about being unique and different from everyone else.”

Growing up in western culture can be a struggle for anyone who has a hard time accepting it. 

Hopefully, in the future, people can accept growing up in both parts and realize they aren’t as different from anyone. 

Mexican culture is filled with vivid colors, foods that involve many spices, and beautifully detailed clothing. Rojas, Nevàrez, and Luevanos all described their culture being colorful and artistic, making sure to hold onto the expressiveness of their culture. 

Growing up in the western media and trying not to lose their heritage is hard. Mostly if you are judged and face racial discrimination against your kind. At times your parents don’t understand and think you’re rejecting your culture. 

Rojas, Nevàrez, and Luevanos all went through their struggles by growing up in western culture and Mexican culture, but would never leave their heritage behind. 

“My culture, what my parents grew up with, my grandparents grew up with, it’s tradition,” Nevàrez said.“ It’s part of me.”