Walking to the bus stop with three kids last Thursday, the topic turned to who is more American and who is more Dominican. The three students were all born in the D.R. and have lived in the U.S. for about four years combined.
“He’s not cold at all,” one girl pointed out about the boy, “He even has his sleeves rolled up in this weather. Que Americano.”
“Pero mira,” but look, said the other, “she’s got gloves and a scarf!” referring to me.
“Does he even eat rice and beans?”
“I eat rice and beans all the time,” I interject, hoping to push them towards taking a broader view of what it means to be American.
“Yeah but you’re an honorary Dominican,” one of the girls giggled.
“Gracias! What an honor!” which elicited peals of laughter from all three. These three will always be navigating their Dominicaness and their Americaness, working through their identities, languages, and cultures. Can America be as inclusive as these kids are with their Dominicaness?