In no other country of the world do we find a mix of different ethnicities, religions, and cultures as in the United States. En Español, I would say this is a sancocho. The best contextual translation I can give is a melting pot.
I recently read a brief article where a mother was contemplating how she hoped her daughter would identify herself as being Latina, but probably would not due to the fact that, other than language, there was little Latina influence. That is the glory of being raised in the USA. You identify yourself as all of the influences, all of the little parts that you grew up with and inherited along the way that make you YOU. I think people like us identify themselves as one thing in one situation and another in a different situation because we have such a plethora of intricacies in our make-up. Cultural identity in the USA is like taking a play dough ball made from all the left over scraps. You couldn’t possibly separate those colors, but you can definitely see them as they form just one ball. All these little pieces-parts enable us to understand our neighbors just a little better because somewhere we have similar parts or experiences at one time or another. Understanding who you are and where you came from and how it relates to the world around you, are key components to…well, just about everything! It makes you appreciate your diverse make-up and value diversity in others.
I don’t worry that Sofía won’t identify herself as Latina or Gringa because it would be impossible for her to deny either. Considering that Language is Culture and can’t be separated, I’m also SURE that Sofía will be just like me and just like her papi; we couldn’t be who we are and not speak both el Español and English. No, no, I don’t worry at all that Sofía won’t identify herself as Latina or Gringa. (Heck, I think I have enough other things to worry about! ;) )
Take Superdog in the picture below. Mugi certainly understands HER cultural identity--a dog and a super hero all wrapped up in one!