When my daughter was born, I was surprised by the overwhelming—fierce, even!—desire I suddenly felt to raise her in the same manner that I was: immersed in nuestra cultura and filled with Latino pride. As someone who had drifted into a very Anglo, English-only lifestyle, my culture-rich childhood suddenly became the standard by which I wanted to raise my children.
In her study, Marketing to American Latinos, M. Isabel Valdés defines this conscious search for ethnic identity as “retro-acculturation.” And it is a phenomenon that is happening all over the country to second-, third- and fourth-generation Latinos.
As a child, I spent my days attending an English-only school, but my home life was filled with cultural traditions, Spanish language, and authentic Mexican food. Every year, in the days leading up to Christmas, my family made tamales, set up nativity scenes, and attended or hosted posadas. Birthdays were large affairs with piñatas and primos. Spring was spent celebrating Cinco de Mayo by making tissue-paper flowers and watching folklorico dancers on stage.