Like we’re Peruvian?!?

Modern Family line about Peruvians

“Since my mother is Peruvian, German and Italian does this mean I’m bad like Zimmerman? My dad is Polish, German and Scottish American, By the way I look way Whiter than Zimmerman, people think I’m Russian or German…Since Zimmerman is part Peruvian does this mean I’m really bad like him?”  From an post

“George Zimmerman— he’s what, an eighth black, he’s half Peruvian, but he counts as a white Hispanic, so he’s below African-American.”  Ann Coulter

@laloalcaraz Just thought I’d let you know that other Peruvians hate George Zimmerman too.  Tweet I sent July 16, 2013

Being Peruvian has always been an ongoing personal issue and/or topic of conversation and/or writing subject, overlapping and influencing discussions about identity, language, beauty, and politics.  Because Peruvians have only recently become a sizable immigrant population, most non-Peruvian people in the US haven’t understood who we are as a culture and community. This is less complicated abroad. When I go to Peru (actually when I visit any country outside the US), I am an American because I was born and raised in America. (Take that, ‘mericans!) Simple and straightforward, verdad?  If only. 

I take pride in being Peruvian-American.  Even as a teen bemoaning my indigenous features or as a grown woman cringing when I learned George Zimmerman was half-Peruvian (and cringing when I saw his mother Gladys Zimmerman interviewed on Nightline), I love my culture and roots.  Me siento muy orgullosa de mis padres, for raising two college-educated children, but also for instilling in us a respect for our culture. When I was in elementary school and we had to write reports on a country or on an ancient empire, you know I came through with reports on Peru and the Incas.  As a Spanish Literature minor at Cal, I took two courses in Peruvian literature even though I thought the professor was an arrogant jerk. Don’t even get me started on our comida, which non-Peruvians have taken to like fish to water. My mom’s aji de gallina y papa a la huancaina. My tia’s causa.  Mi abuelita’s picante de cuy.  Pachamanca. Can’t forget our musica, the criollo vals played at family friend weddings and even funerals, Afro-Peruvian festejo y lando which I learned to love as an adult, and ever present in my parent’s household, huayno with its blues-like lyrics.  I honor my family history from the mountain village of their childhood to our family life here in California. I love hearing my little girl saying she is Peruvian and Mexican and identifying herself as brown.  

Being Peruvian is wonderful.  And no one, especially not George Zimmerman, can ruin that for me. 

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