It’s ColOmbia with an O.
I’ve been reading a book about Colombian history, sort of. I’ve been reading a book about a colombian journalist’s relationship with Colombia.
She’s a bit older than I am and was there longer, (I, myself, was only there for a month after I was born, then only visited ocassionally) so she experienced more of it. But the disconnect with the country for not knowing it’s history or having heavily experienced its culture was there. I realized that with my own lack of knowledge about my country of birth, despite all the love and reverence I felt for it, I had not felt the respect that the land and its people so meritfully deserved.
Likewise, Colombia welcomed me with open arms but I still needed to own its respect . I guess maybe, if I’m honest, I’m like that too.
It was in living that, and understanding, that I realized what it could be like to appropriate a country despite one being from there. In feeling I had a right to all its culture, I failed to fully comprehend the privileges I had been born to and how they were the fruit of years of violence, rebellion, and hope.
However, the love was, has been, and is still there. I am citizen of the world and multicultural latinx of European descent, but I am Colombian.
I have met my people and for the most part, we are welcoming and kind, we are warm and friendly, sassy in humor, quick to entertain . ..we are flawed, like every other, but mostly, Colombia is magnificent .
And so in being multicultural, I am even more fascinated to learn about more cultures, to fully respect them and acknowledge them, to listen to my people and know who they are. Only respecting the lines that have been drawn for me. Growing up in a Dominican school with many afro latinxs does not make me knowledgeable enough on their experience to ever speak over or for them.
Being born in Colombia doesn’t give me the insight that having been raised there would anymore than spending four years in france gives me the insight of someone who grew up here.
In reality, loving Colombia means loving all of Latin America. We come from and are everywhere. Here in france, I already know where the Colombians and other latinxs hang out. Because of my super Mexicanized accent, I of course, lose cred immedieately. I have to earn certain points. That’s ok. Just a little disadvantage of the privileged multicultural lifestyle I was born, raised, and live in.
I understand better the love behind knowing history, and how we owe ourselves the minimum of knowing where we come from, to better respect not only our own roots, but that of others.
Where are your parents and grandparents from?