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joscketSeper's avatar

Are 1st generation sons of immigrants That don't speak much, not part of any Culture?

Asked by joscketSeper (323 points ) March 18th, 2010

i’m in my 30s male. I’m born in USA son of hispanic parents.

I feel like i don’t fit in any culture. Hispanics and Americans try to place me as being part of the hispanic culture.. But i dont really do anything that hispanics do.. I don’t even have hispanic friends so my spanish is like that of baby( also the fact that i’m quiet and shy contributes to this)

I dont do parties, i dont like loud stuff, i dont do quincieaneras, dont like being outgoing etc. A lot of hispanics like that.

At the same time, I dont feel American at all. And being that i’m shy and i didn’t pickup the perfect American accent, i don’t feel like American people like me… and i dont have american friends either.

I also don’t do anything that Americans do. I’m pretty much a loner and i don’t speak spanish well and i don’t speak english well.

So, why is it that people try to say that i’m part of some culture or ethnicity when i don’t feel like any of them and i dont even speak the languages of those cultures.

Language is one of the most important things that characterize a culture, right?

I keep feeling bad because every american and hispanic keeps speaking Spanish to me like they try to say that i’m a hispanic fresh of the boat, just because i look hispanic when i dont even speak well.
And then i also feel bad because due to my spanish accent, American companies, people at work, people at school and everywhere, think i’m not even American.

So there ya go, people don’t accept me as anything so how can i not be confused

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19 Answers

thriftymaid's avatar

Here you are again. I think you should talk to a counselor about your sadness and lack of a feeling of belonging.

bob_'s avatar

@thriftymaid Dude. Harsh.

thriftymaid's avatar

@bob_ I don’t mean to be harsh, but I recognize some of what he says as desperate and I don’t think our advice will be helpful.

HTDC's avatar

Harsh but true.

kheredia's avatar

How do you speak with a hispanic accent if you don’t even speak spanish? I didn’t even think that was possible.

Vunessuh's avatar

@joscketSeper You are just wallowing in self-pity. Start taking responsibilities for your own actions. Stop blaming your problems on everyone else. They are your problems. Stop saying that people don’t accept you because of this and that and this and that. Boo fucking hoo. You’re not going to be liked by everyone. People who constantly feel sorry for themselves don’t get anywhere until they snap out of it. I’m not going to be the one to reinforce this behavior of yours. It’s not acceptable. Go get professional help. Period.

escapedone7's avatar

I PMed you twice my friend. I sent a link I really want you to read.

NuGoonie23's avatar

Well try not to live your life by what society says you are, or which group society puts you in. You are who you are, whether you have an accent or not, whether your origins are foreign or not.
You keep saying you don’t do the things that Hispanics do, or the things that Americans do. Who says these “things” that “they” do are correct? Who says you HAVE to live your life as “a Hispanic” or as an “American”. Don’t stress yourself, everyone can feel alone sometimes.
You don’t need professional help, you know who you are, you just feel like others will not accept who you are because they are out of line by societies’ rules! Live on my friend and don’t worry about the things you can’t do or can’t live up to.

lillycoyote's avatar

It’s got to be very difficult to be 1st generation, not fitting in either way. I’m not really much for support groups, but is there somewhere you can meet with and hang out with other 1st generation people of your age and background? Maybe they have had some of the same experiences. I do know that there are all sorts of people who feel alienated from their own culture for all sorts of reason, not just the one’s you have stated, even people like me, whose families have been here for a while. You must have friends. What are your friends like, what are their backgrounds? And if your English is at least better than your Spanish, then you might want to work on making your English better, or on becoming bilingual, so you can make your way in both worlds. There are practical issues, like language and then there is the sort of existential issue of not feeling like you belong in either world.Gosh, I really don’t know what the answer is. You might just have to make your own way in the world, as hard as it might be, you might have to carve your own niche here. What do you do for a living and what do you like to do, what do you enjoy doing when you are not working? That may be a place to start to find a sense of belonging.

NuGoonie23's avatar

@kheredia it’s possible, because if the people around him have a hispanic accent, he too can pick up on this accent without even know much spanish.

kheredia's avatar

I’m the daughter of Mexican immigrants and I have to tell you, this question actually bothers me to a certain extent. I consider myself a mixture of two cultures. I am an American first and a Mexican second but I would never consider myself as someone who has no culture or is not accepted by others. Again, I think you have serious self esteem problems and you need help. I grew up in a Spanish speaking home and I am fluent in both languages. I don’t understand why you are not fluent in either. Perhaps you should pick up a book and practice so that you can get better with time. I’m sorry if I sound a bit harsh but you seriously need to do something about your issues.

gorillapaws's avatar

One way to build up a low self-esteem and sense of not belonging is to help others. Have you considered volunteering for a charity on the weekends? You might meet some nice people, and get to feel good about yourself for helping others. Some ideas might be working at a soup kitchen, volunteering for the special olympics, mentoring a child though the boys and girls clubs or whatever they’re called, or working with habitat for humanity.

iphigeneia's avatar

@kheredia I think he learned English from people with a Spanish accent (his parents).

You don’t need to fit into an accepted, boxed in culture. I don’t think an identity crisis is your main issue: I think you need to build your self confidence and self awareness.

You will have to deal with people making assuptions about you all the rest of your life. Don’t beat yourself up over it: there can be many great things about being a 1st generation, and you don’t have to speak Spanish! I know my situation is much milder for many reasons, but I am the daughter of a Singaporean immigrant, and I’m very glad for the influence my father’s culture has had on me. With the right attitude, you can find the rewards in anything.

elenuial's avatar

My father is Okinawan and emigrated in his mid 20s. My mother is American. I can understand where you’re coming from.

The biggest thing is that you have to be comfortable with you. You weren’t raised in your parents’ home country, and although there are probably enormous pressures for you to find some identity there, clearly you feel that disconnect. Then there’s the fact that white culture is held up as an ideal, but you’re very clearly held apart from it. Plus, there’s the Hispanic box that white culture wants to put you in.

You’re going to be subject to a lot of pressures, and you’re not going to fit into any of the boxes. When it comes down to it, you have the responsibility to form your own identity out of the combination of cultures you’ve been exposed to. You don’t have those easy boxes to rely on. It’s a tough burden, but it’s also wonderfully freeing when you accept that.

When your parents emigrated, they forced this choice upon you, but it is at least a choice you get to make, and you must face it with strong countenance. Learn to be who you are, whatever that is, and learn to accept it, love it, and others will come to do the same in time.

Haleth's avatar

Your written English seems perfectly fluent to me. You’re probably better at both languages than you think. The reason you’re so unhappy isn’t just language or culture- the root of it is that you have such a low opinion of yourself. It seems like you’re lonely because you’re afraid people will reject you, so you never try talking to people. Anyway, if you really want to get rid of your accent, you can take English classes or even go to a speech therapist, or get an audio language course and practice.

I’ve seen a few other of your posts around here- you really want to embrace your American side, right? You probably think that in order to be accepted in America, you have to give up your culture… which doesn’t have to be true. If you’re outgoing and proud of yourself, people are interested in that. My boyfriend is from Vietnam, and also a first generation American, but he’s very successful here because he is outgoing and confident. He keeps up strong ties with his family and is proud to share Vietnamese culture and traditions with people. A lot of Americans are interested in Hispanic culture and vice versa. If the only thing holding you back from parties and quinces is your shyness, it’s possible to get over shyness. You probably should talk to a psychologist or a counselor, someone who can help you start building some confidence. With some confidence, you can deal with having two cultures.

njnyjobs's avatar

I hate to ask this but . . . were you raised by wolves or what? You say you were born in the USA of hispanic parents, surely you must have gone thru the public education system. Weren’t you in programs that surely must get you thru 12 years of schooling which included English/Language Arts.

What you need to do is muster up the courage to accept the fact that you need professional help. There are low, if not no cost, help available somewhere, in exchange for some of your volunteer time and efforts. You need to open up your self to the world and don’t get discouraged about criticisms, especially about how you talk. There are a lot more people who do not have a good command of the english or spanish languages but still manage to find a comfortable outlook in life.

Assess your capabilities or specialties, no matter how minute it may seem to be, and search for activities with other people that may require them.

joscketSeper's avatar

NObody is noticing the main point In my question. “don’t speak alot”. I went to school and everything but i never spoke and so i never had friends. So obvioully i’m worse than other 1st generation people

Thanks al for your help. YOU don’t need to answer anymore.

escapedone7's avatar

@jocketSeper, do you know how to read and respond to PMs?

I Pmmed you twice.

I will answer your question. You are a part of the American culture. It has been there for you all along. You can join it whenever you wish.

In another post you mentioned suicidal thoughts. I must be very firm with you. You need to get some professional help. You can be taught, coping skills, social skills, language skills. But a one paragraph prat answer is not going to solve such an in depth problem. You will need to be committed to working with a therapist or in a life skills program, and put a lot of work and effort to improving your life. We can’t do that for you.

Please call your local mental health agency

subzerodgrees's avatar

that’s very interesting , I can relate to your problem as my mothers argentine and my fathers french but I was brought up in london,england. obviously I am the first generation english so don t have any other english family, and on top of that i dont speak the same languages as my family. messed up. I do however believe you make your own culture . feeling like a loner is i suppose inevitable. but as aristotle pointed out : just because the majority thinks one way, does nt make it the right way. there have been studies on people who have had to adapt to other cultures but have infact become depressed as a result of denying their own cultural identities. the north american indians for example. i think its not difficult to see why. such a beautiful culture bullied into submission , to believe something they do not relate to. my heart swells up just thinking about. well i suspect the same forces are at work in your ( and my) worlds. this is a difficult topic but i totally get where your coming from. i too am almost 30 and its reassuring to know someone else out there is struggling with similar issues.

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