In the 1997 film “Selena,” actor Edward James Olmos recited a monologue that resonated with many bicultural Latinos living in the United States. As he put it, being Mexican-American was “tough” because you have to be “more Mexican than the Mexicans, and more American than the Americans, both at the same time.”
And spoken word poet Christopher Martinez personally understands that struggle. The Mexican-American begins his poem, “An Untitled Brown Poem,” with a reference to the iconic words by the actor, who portrayed Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla’ father Abraham in the movie.
“In the earth-shatteringly good biopic ‘Selena,’ Edward James Olmos explains that to be Mexican-American one must work twice as hard,” Martinez said in a video posted by Button Poetry on Monday. “[We] must be more Mexican than Mexicans, more American than Americans. Now, I don’t know who can claim credit over that line, anymore than I know who can claim credit over my barrio. But I’m Mexican-American and I’m tired of working twice as hard to impress both Mexicans and Americans.”