Inaugural poet, Richard Blanco, discusses modern identity in America. 

Belonging to three countries before he was even 2 months old, Richard Blanco discussed, in a special contribution to CNN, the struggle he has had in finding and embracing his identity. Blanco’s family fleed Cuba in exile to Madrid and soon after, arrived in the United States. His struggle of identity is one that many Latinos have had and continue to face and what he defines as his obsession in his writings. He grew up in heavily Cuban influenced Miami during the 70’s and mentions how his immediate family and those around him yearned for La Patria, their homeland. Another familiar struggle was living in America, but within a Latino community, which caused him to feel as if America was a strange place that he had yet to experience. The mystery of La Patria and of the “real” America were the cause of an internal struggle of who he really is in this world. Something much more personal was his struggle with his career path and sexual orientation, which was briefly mentioned on monday for the first time in a President’s inaugural speech. After choosing a degree in engineering and coming out to his family who were hardly supportive of a gay lifestyle, Blanco constitutes his success in finding his identity “to the essence of the American Dream.” 

The theme of identity struggle has been one that many Latinos have taken on since the days of the New World. As we read thursday about the mestizos, mullatos and mexicans who had to find a niche in the post-independent economies where creoles held a majority of the wealth and political power, there are striking differences and also similar characteristics in their struggle compared to the modern struggle that latin-americans face today. How can we grow from our past and present situations to ensure that future generations won’t have to struggle with an identity crisis?

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