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Photo: The Center for Generational Kinetics 
Photo: The Center for Generational Kinetics 

[OP-ED] A "Billennial's": "We dream in our native tongue..."

We are a nation of Pakistani halal food trucks, Mexican film directors, Chinese bridal fashion designers, Italian cartoonists, African feminist icons. The term “American” is attached by hyphen to our rich ancestry, an inclusion of the Greek, the Haitian, the Colombian, the Armenian we have sowed within North America’s soil.

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We are a nation of Pakistani halal food trucks, Mexican film directors, Chinese bridal fashion designers, Italian cartoonists, African feminist icons. The term “American” is attached by hyphen to our rich ancestry, an inclusion of the Greek, the Haitian, the Colombian, the Armenian we have sowed within North America’s soil. We are the children of immigrants, or we already are the proverbial immigrants, and our future children will come into this country with a shiny first-generation birth certificate teeming with opportunity we already know they are deserving of.
We are not just a cohort of Generation X, Y, and Z members that have difficult names to pronounce or eyebrows that are too pronounced. We are bilingual and we are bicultural. We dream in our mother’s tongue, and we speak in our father’s. We attend school, university, work in one English-speaking, American-thinking identity, and return to change into our “cultural sweatpants,” that which we were raised to feel most comfortable enveloping our personas in, that which we refer to as our home.

You are not my abuela, Mrs. Clinton. You only wish you had the courage, the grace, the sheer perseverance that my grandma came into this country with, having lost everything in order to give something- anything -to her children and, later, to her nietas y nietos. You only wish you had even a fraction of these struggles that she faced, that so many immigrant women are subjected to, to call yourself this term. Do not pander to us. Believe in us by embracing what makes us different, believe in the truth that the individual experience we bring to this nation is beautiful and great, and only then will we believe in you.

We are not rapists, Mr. Trump. We are not terrorists, Mr. Trump. We are not something you can grab, you can throw-over a wall, you can blatantly dehumanize on national television. In fact, our grandparents, our parents, and even us, have provided countless working hands for your big-time executive successes or flops, have fed you, have raised and educated your children. One of us even gave you a child.

Some of us are here illegally. Some of us are not here illegally. Some of us are dying to become citizens of The United States; others have died while trying. Many of us “billennials” have relatives or friends in any of these categories. Many of us are neither there nor here, walking on eggshells with our native culture’s expectations, the expectations of our country, and the domestic and foreign policies and stereotypes perpetuated by our politicians and our candidates that make surviving on either side of what makes us who we are overwhelming and exhausting.

We have already made this country great, Mr. Trump. We have the ability to make it even greater. You’ve poisoned the cowardly hearts of many who hail you as their savior, but we will prove their bleeding Confederate flags and slogan baseball caps wrong. But, Mrs. Clinton, if we’re voting for you, the woman with experience and the “nasty” woman rising above the insidiousness of Trump’s rhetoric, help us prove them wrong. Maybe then, you can become our honorary abuela.

 
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