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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Ask before assuming about someone’s ethnicity

Illustration by Darian Maroney

I can’t count the number of times that people have assumed that I’m Mexican.

Whether it’s because of the color of my skin or my accent, it’s always been assumed that I’m Mexican, as if Mexico were the only country in the world with Spanish-speaking or brown-skinned people.

When it is revealed that I’m not Mexican, people always react shocked and proceed to say, “Really? Then what are you?”

I find this incredibly insulting.

Just because I look the part doesn’t mean I am.

Many people don’t stop to think that there are other backgrounds other than Mexican that people identify with.

Yes, it’s hard to know them all so just refer to us as Latino or Hispanic, which is more politically correct than Mexican.

Or better yet, ask us. There is no harm in asking.

Assuming that everyone who speaks Spanish or has a Spanish accent is Mexican completely ignores the fact that other Spanish-speaking countries exist and matter.


However, I don’t blame those uneducated individuals.

I’d like to believe that they really just don’t know about other Spanish-speaking countries.

This might not be the case with everyone, but as someone who is half Salvadoran and half Guatemalan it’s like getting punched in the face when people mistakenly refer to me as Mexican.

It’s not that I have anything against them, don’t get me wrong. It just gets tiring having to tell people that I’m not Mexican.

I recall a moment when someone told me that they thought El Salvador and Guatemala were a part of Mexico and I was so appalled. I just couldn’t believe that they didn’t know they were all different countries.


I realized that people aren’t educated on things like this and I find it worrisome. Especially when I hear people say things like “do you speak Mexican?”

I can’t even.

Keep in mind that there are other countries besides Mexico. That there is more than one ethnicity, nationality, culture. Just because we speak Spanish doesn’t automatically mean we’re Mexican.

So like I said before, instead of assuming what we are just ask us first. I’d rather be asked what I am than be told that I’m Mexican.

Daisy Dardon can be reached at [email protected] or @daisydardon on Twitter.

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  • I

    Isaiah // Nov 14, 2023 at 8:55 pm

    I completely agree and have tried to explain to many people this same exact thing, I AM NOT A MEXICAN, I was born in Colorado near Denver that means i am from USA making me Anerican, I cant count the number of times people in public have approached me talking to me in spanish and thats offensive because to be honest i am not 100% with spanish as it is NOT my primary language, and it gets worse there are some people who start making jokes to me about “Jumping Borders” And I dont know how to react in the first place IM NOT MEXICAN take that garage somewhere else, also i want to make another thing clear, if your interested I dont like anything about Mexico not even really the food, because often times people will ask me stupid questions expecting me to give them a Mexican type answer like asking me if i like Mexican food or Mexican music and i simply say no and they follow with a stupid response like “Your Mexican and you dont like….” Like please stop assuming Im really tired of this, im actually honestly considering plastic surgery to change my facial features to see if that helps clear people from assuming im Mexican.

  • A

    Ashley Moreno // Jul 30, 2021 at 6:49 pm

    Crazy reading this because I was asked what I was today at a nearby restaurant while sitting with my aunt for lunch. I was completely offended and so was my Aunt. The host assumed we were Mexican because I’m tan, dark haired and brown eyed. I was confused because she was also Hispanic. Some people aren’t educated enough and assume instead of asking. I wonder why it even mattered. I’m a person just like everyone else who came to get some food. I don’t see color or race.

  • K

    Kenneth // Mar 1, 2020 at 2:22 pm


    I completely agree with your article. I live in Gilbert, Arizona and I can’t tell you the number of times I get asked, do you speak Spanish? Why? Because I have black hair and a brown tint to my skin? It’s frustrating. I ask myself, who am I? What am I? It’s isolation, misunderstanding and creates an existential question. I’m not sure how much this plays in my daily suicidal ideation. I’m outgoing, I’m not bad looking and I have a decent job. But, I have no friends, no romantic flirtations that would make me feel attractive or wanted. Anyway from the fringes of existence. Thanks for this article. It makes a difference.

    • I

      Isaiah // Nov 14, 2023 at 8:59 pm

      Hi Daisy I feel you there, you should ready my response up top (Isaiah) im happy to see im not the only one with this issue, please feel free to read my comment above