In Need of Guatemalan Representation


I’m Guatemalan, and I’ve grown up with a lot of Hispanics in my life. In school, my friends and classmates were Hispanic. They were all Mexican to be exact.

Because of this, I grew up listening to a lot of Mexican music and eating a ton of Mexican food. I was always grateful for this upbringing, but I still would’ve wanted more Guatemalan representation.

I remember when people would ask me where I was from, and I told them Guatemala, they always looked at me like I had five heads. Then would proceed to tell me that they thought I was Mexican because I look it.

There was one time I told this boy I was Guatemalan, and he told me I might as well tell people I’m from Mexico since Mexico is right next to Guatemala.

Another time my friend asked me what part of Guatemala I was from, I told him Jutiapa, and he just laughed and said, “what? I don’t know what that is”. I know he was joking, but that’s always stuck with me.

Whenever I see videos on Tik Tok of Guatemalan food, Guatemalan people, or Guatemalan clothes and culture, the comments are usually “I’m glad I’m from Mexico” or just making fun of everything in the video. Every country has a different culture, and everyone looks different. I don’t say this to try to make Mexicans look bad, but there’s no need to bring down culture to lift one up.

Things like that aren’t fair, especially when Mexico always gets all the attention compared to other Hispanic countries. There are plenty of other Hispanic countries, yet the media and people only talk about one.

In the media, I never got represented by anyone that looked like me. All of the Spanish shows have tall white women, and American Hispanic singers are either like Jennifer Lopez or Shakira. But, not every Hispanic woman looks like that. I’m short with curly hair. The only movie character that I’ve seen that looks like me is Maribel from Encanto. 

It wasn’t until high school that I began to meet other Hispanics that were from Central America and South America. I started to feel less left out.

Then I finally made Guatemalan friends. When I found out they were Guatemalan, I was so shocked because I had never met anyone from there before. Talking to them about the country made me feel good about Guatemala.


It’s not that I didn’t feel proud of it before but having people make me feel weird or wrong for being Guatemalan, rather than just accepting it and moving on and growing up having no one else like me, affected the way I felt about it.


Having people my whole life always make comments that make me feel ashamed about being Guatemalan, I started to feel embarrassed having to tell people I’m from there. I didn’t like feeling that way because my parents didn’t raise me to be like that. They’re proud of where they are from. 


They constantly talk about their family back home, how the environment was when they went to school, and how the town was when they lived there, how it is now, and how beautiful the land is. So whenever I started to feel embarrassed. I think about that.


I feel terrible now saying I was ever embarrassed.


There was a certain point where I would start to dread people asking me where I was from. At one point, I remember thinking, “why can’t I just be Mexican so I can get this over with.” That way, I could just answer the question, and people don’t make it a huge deal about being in Guatemala.

There are times that I’ve told people where I’m from, and they just accept it, move on, or seem interested, then I’m the one that’s shocked because that rarely used to happen.


Nowadays, I’m not ever embarrassed or ashamed to tell people I’m Guatemalan because that’s where my parents are from, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Mexico is not the only Hispanic country where people come from.