Response 8

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My poetry response to “Temporary Latina” by Ruth Behar

I, too, question my Latina authenticity/

Though it has made me who I am today/

Raised in a middle-class, privileged Puerto Rican family/

Some may criticize me of becoming “whitened”/

A term I will never identify with/

“You have white girl hair,” they say/

But, “Are you Asian? You have small, chinky eyes,” they also say/

So who am I?

I am Latina, puertorriqueña/

Grew up filling my belly with arroz con gandules/

Celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve/

Listening to my abuelos yelling out “Merry Chrima”/

The making and passing along of pasteles and coquito/

I am as authentic as the food I eat, as the people I love/

I am never temporary, always permanent/

This Latinidad settled inside of me for eternity.

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