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Common App Essay for Cornell: Topic of My Choice- "Proud to be Boricua"


Is this a good topic of choice to choose for an essay? Please read and offer as much critique as possible, because I feel like I did something wrong with this essay. I appreciate all the help that I can get. Thank You! :)

Proud To Be Boricua

"Yo soy boricua, pa'que tu lo sepas!" Translation? I am Puerto Rican, just so you know! I'm here to declare that I'm not your ordinary Latina. I am an auburn-haired, light-skinned Hispanic-American, with Afro-Puerto Rican roots, courtesy of my mother, and Mestizo Ecuadorian heritage, courtesy of my father. I am not your average black-haired, dark-skinned Mexican. When I was born, the doctor who delivered me asked my mother if I was really her child, for I had came out looking very light-skinned, as well as sporting blond hair on my head. With a last name for Gonzalez and fairness in skin tone, this can certainly confuse those who live in the South (excluding some parts of mainly Cuban-occupied regions of Florida, that is). On top of that, to declare African heritage will just confuse them even more.

So I really didn't realize I was "colored" until a couple years back, when I started to become to more interested and curious about my heritage, as well as when I would compare my mother to other black women, in terms of appearance. My mother's hair was what really got me confused about my ethnicity, as well as my heritage, because her hair was not as the same texture as other Latino women's hair. The store where she would get her beauty hair products would be from a store that was predominately occupied with African-American women, with not a single white woman in view. I would walk in that store (where my mother would get her weave, god bless her heart) and get perplexed stares, analyzing that my hair texture and skin color did not quite correlate with each other. And it only gets confusing from here.

As simple as I can put it, Latinos come in many different colors. Latinos don't all look like Eva Longoria, George Lopez, or Jessica Alba. We come as light as Christina Aguilera, or as dark as Sammy Sosa. Latino culture is more than just sombreros, mariachi bands, Cinco de Mayo, or anything Mexican-related. Just because you speak Spanish does not mean you are Mexican! This is called ignorance. This aspect of Latino Culture is something that the Southern States lack knowledge in. Not only does the South lack people of Latin Caribbean descent, the South lacks people of Afro-Latino descent. I would be a millionaire for every nickel received that I hear "You can't be both Black and Hispanic. It is either one or the other." What does that mean for me?

This social and geographical problem is what makes it difficult for me to connect with people as well as peers, especially when I live in the South. I believe the South itself is a place where you rarely get to see Hispanics of Afro-Caribbean descent, a place where if you do see Hispanics, they are most likely Mexican. I am part of culture that you will see predominately in the North, but barely in the South. People that I come into contact with usually don't realize (or don't take the time to think about it) that slaves were also shipped off to Latin American countries, not just the USA. This is where my pride comes in and takes action.

I would cherish the opportunity to live in a location where there are Latin Caribbean people present. But I do believe that because I live in a location where there are barely any people of Latin Caribbean descent, it has "biomagnified" my desire, my determination to exemplify that aspect of Latin culture that people fail to show. I feel like if it wasn't for my self-determination, I would have lost so much interest in my heritage a long time ago. I want to sustain it, to keep it alive. Cultural diversity is so important in our modern society because it makes up the foundation of how we socialize with other people. This type of diversity is threatened because I live in isolation of others that share the same cultural background. But I strive to keep it alive and I strive to not lose sight of it. This aspect of me is what I cherish most about myself and is something that keeps the diversity of the American culture alive, even if you are among a homogenous population.

I have the last name of "Gonzalez" to prove that I'm Latino, but my physical traits will always tell a different story. Nonetheless, I'm proud to be Boricua!

EF_KevinThreads: 8
Posts: 13,839
[Contributor] 129  
Dec 31, 2009   #2
not your ordinary Latina. I am an auburn-haired, light-skinned

This essay gets off to an energetic start, and that is very impressive. How about this part, though? You presume to know what an ordinary Latina is, and then you distinguish yourself from her by using skin and hair color as your criteria. Who cares about skin and hair color? I think you should scratch that part and acknowledge that there is no "ordinary Latina."

Is Boriqua supposed to be capitalized in that first sentence?

What is this essay about? You should choose a theme, a moral of the story. Express that them at the end of the first para and at the beginning of the second para.


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