When I made the decision to join a sorority, it was for the same reason as anyone else. I wanted to make lifelong friends and get the most of my time in college. It didn’t really occur to me that my race would play a factor, but I was worried I wouldn’t fit into that specific mold. I knew what the typical sorority girl looked like: blonde, tall, gorgeous, and dressed to the nines in Lilly. But the more time I spent with my soon-to-be sisters, the more I realized it didn’t matter.
I went through recruitment and the active I was talking to asked questions like where my family originated from and how to correctly pronounce my last name, but we also bonded over our mutual love of Kourtney and disdain for Scott on “KUWTK.” We talked about how we both practiced yoga, and to my surprise, how we both completely hate Lilly. It didn’t matter that my last name was twice as long as hers. I felt included. I got to know more sisters, and my worries about not fitting in completely disappeared. I didn’t feel like the black sheep, I just felt like part of the herd. The girls I got to know were all different and special, but shared something that made them one. I wanted that feeling, so I joined a sorority. I was still different, but I loved that my sisters never made me feel different. In the years since that day, I’ve introduced my sisters to Hispanic delicacies, such as pan dulce and Mexican hot chocolate. They showed me new things, too. I introduced them to tequila; they introduced me to boxed wine. A hangover is still a hangover no matter what color your skin tone is. We learned from each other, stuck by each other, and I made the best friends I have ever had.
Whenever people talk about minorities in sororities, I know it’s my job to share the struggles of the Mexican girl living in a (mostly) white world. But I don’t have any. The truth is, I’m not treated any differently than my other sisters, and I tend to think that’s a good thing. There are some times where I’m the “token Mexican girl,” and while some people would find it annoying, I’ve learned to love the attention. I even capitalized on it one year by dressing up as Pocahontas for Halloween (Yes, I know she’s Native American, but we Hispanic girls can only dream of being a Disney princess, so let us have this one.)
People think I want them to think of me as a “Latina sorority woman,” and while it’s all well and good that I’m breaking stereotypes, I don’t want to be in my own category. When I signed my bid card, I chose to become part of something bigger than just me. I became part of a sisterhood, and in that sisterhood, the concept of race doesn’t matter. In this sense, I am no different than my blonde haired, blue eyed sorority sister. We have different backgrounds and upbringings and skin color, but we are the same in the eyes of the legacy of our sorority.
I’m not dissing my culture. I love being Hispanic and having such a rich history I carry with me in my blood. Joining a sorority does not take away from that history–it adds to it. I’m a second-generation American and a first-generation sorority woman. I’m proud to be Hispanic, and even prouder that one day, my kids will have a new legacy.