I have to be extraordinary.
I have to speak and write Spanish fluently. I have to not only speak the highly enunciated, more acceptable Spanish, but also my broken and street Spanish–to be taken seriously both in academic spaces and in my hood.
I have to speak and write English, perfectly. I have to be fluent in the big-words-nobody-can-really-understand-what-I-am-saying-except-a-select-few-elites English to even make it into any respectable college programs or programs that will pay a full ride so I’m not debt-ridden my entire life. And I have to be able to code switch back to my hood English, where my accent gets to come out and tongue gets to rest a bit–to be relevant.
I have to be soft and kind and approachable, because for brown people to succeed, to play the game, to make it: we need to be soft and non-threatening.
I also have to be hard and have a don’t-fuck-with-me personality because white people will almost always cross the line and break you down with one-liners like you’re taking things too seriously (AKA you’re being too aggressive AKA you’re being too brown AKA your context clashes with mine). You have to be ready for those moments, and not let them disarm you keep reading