March 02, 2011

Bi-lingual, Bi-cultural and,

Now that I have your attention… he, he, he

Don’t worry this is not a service announcement about me swinging both ways sexually. I mean I may have started believing that way back when I was in my 20’s and thinking sure, I can do this (I mean who isn’t capable in their 20’s right?) I must be bi; but I’m here to say that as the years have passed I’m probably a Kinsey 5.3?—ok I’ve shared TMI already. This posting isn’t about that.

I met a new friend shortly after the holidays and as he was asking things about me: Where was I born
How long had I lived in Utah
How I had ended up in Utah of all places
Blah, blah, blah…

Then he blurted out:

Miguel, you’re a coconut!
Me: ?
Friend: You’re brown on the outside, but white on the inside.
Me: Um, really? I hadn’t thought about this in that context.
Friend: From all appearances you look like any other Latino guy but once I start peeling the layers you are very much able to speak, articulate and think just like a white guy
Me: Well I don’t think I do it intentionally. I mean I don’t sit here trying to be a white-wanna-be, I am who I am and I really don’t think about it. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Friend: That’s definitely a good thing!
Me: :-)

After that I started thinking exactly what it meant to be a coconut as my good friend called me--I don’t take things in an offensive way, it takes way too much to offend me, life is too short! But then I started thinking a little more what all this means:

--Yeah I speak fluent Spanish and English---most of the time I don’t even think about flipping back and forth, especially if I’m with another bilingual person. I do that even with the babe, who I am glad speaks enough Spanish to get by and I’m sure is getting used to my Spanglish. Although my workday is spent around a lot of English speakers I am able to talk about the Today show, The Beatles, Movies, Musicals, Utah politics and current events as well as I can talk about Mana, Cantinflas, Selena, Vicente Fernandez, Telenovelas (I can’t watch them, I get hooked!) and I like to read Latin American papers online. If I really want to think about it I navigate just fine as a pseudo-Mormon since I’m fluent in Mormonese thanks to my years as a missionary and active LDS member—does that count as some kind of bi, as in bi-religious or bi-spiritual?

I have a point, I promise. I found it kind of funny to be called a coconut and I found it quite amusing to be honest but just like being a son, a dad, a brother, an employee and all other magical things about me, it is just part of who I am, me! It is NOT the one thing that defines me--I guess I just had to get that out!

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