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When we spoke Spanish, we got dirty looks

Isabel and her family immigrated to Boston from Mexico. She recently completed her Master’s and talks about how she felt like she didn’t “belong”.

Habits and Skills
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If you see or hear something, say something.

“I don’t have any one story, but there have been small, common incidents. I remember getting dirty looks from people on the train when my family spoke Spanish. A couple of times we heard someone near us muttering about ‘people speaking Spanish’ in public and my mom would nudge me to lower my voice. So we’d whisper instead. 

Another time, I was talking to a friend after orchestra rehearsal about applying to programs. He looked at me and said, “yeah, you’ll get everything easy because of affirmative action.”

I was a perfectionistic as a kid, so I never really thought of myself as someone who took handouts just for being brown, which is what he implied. That was pretty shocking to me.”

– Isabel in Boston