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Guest Voz: For one Millennial, authentic self is a mesh of Latino and Asian Pacific Islander cultures

By Erik De La Cruz
The Cougar Chronicle

I grew up in Mira Mesa, a town with a huge community of Asian­Pacific Islanders. Being Latino, I was always surrounded by the influence of Asian and Pacific Islander cultures. I absorbed the culture because my closest friends invited me into their homes and lives.

One thing I have learned is that there is nothing more valuable than family in the Asian Pacific-Islander cultures. The time spent with family is always cherished to its highest form.

The respecting of elders is very much present in both of our cultures. Our families are usually large in numbers, creating entertainment along with cheerful surroundings. Togetherness is created in gatherings involving food, laughter and the recollection of memories.

In both cultures, the notion of our parents sacrificing everything, leaving everything and starting over completely for the sake of a better life is truly admirable. Parents put themselves in a position where they can raise children in an atmosphere of opportunity. We grow up intertwined with the lingering thought of making our parents happy with our career choice as well as the influence of the Western world, where we can be anything we want.

The pressure of maintaining perfect grades was always present in the morale of my Asian­Pacific Islander friends; they often wouldn’t sleep. Being the firstborn child of my family, I have a responsibility to not only my siblings, but to those around me. My parents have emphasized the importance of education, which has driven me to succeed.

Our entire lives are the by-­products of our parents’ decisions, and we need to be fully aware of the blessings we have received. We must realize that with happiness comes wealth in abundance. This abundance not only comes in the form of money, but also love.

The Asian­Pacific Islander and Latino cultures are more alike than different. The stories of our elders and what they had to accomplish should ignite the motivation within us to strive to achieve great things in our lives. By understanding the mesh between the western world and our parents’ background, we can truly become our authentic selves.

Acculturation is defined as the “psychological change induced by cross-­cultural imitation.” W.I. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki’s study in 1918 concluded that there were three forms of acculturation: bohemian, philistine and creative-­type.

The creative-­type form is the ideal out of the three types. This is because one can adopt the host culture in which he or she is surrounded, while preserving his or her culture of origin.

I always tell people that I am a Mexican that was raised by Asian­-Pacific Islanders, with complete respect for their manners of living. This has cultivated me into the person I am.

Happiness is what we as humans long for yet never obtain in most cases, due to a lack of appreciation. We are the product of our surroundings and we must embrace what made us. We must understand that success is the accumulation of experiences that teach us something.

I am forever grateful for the acceptance and participation in the Asian-­Pacific Islander culture, which I hold dear to my heart.

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