by Andrea Bizarro
My Gold Hoop Earrings I love hoop earrings. Big hoops, small hoops, I have them all. I have a box in my room filled with them, including my big gold sparkly hoops- not so big and bold they stand out from the crowd, but bright enough to make a statement. I never knew what drew me to them but they tend to always be a nice and quick accessory to complete any look.
I go to school in my hoop earrings. I attend a private school in one of the wealthier neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Being from Boyle Heights, a low-income and Latinx/Hispanic heavy neighborhood, it was hard transitioning from public to a private school, for the vibe was just different (if that makes any sense). Being in a different social environment, I felt shy about a lot of things that make up who I am- the subtle accent, my hair, my dark skin tone- my hoops. Wearing hoops, an accessory I would always wear, all of a sudden made me feel as if I was just doing too much.
Hoop earrings were part of a really big fashion statement for many communities of color since the beginning of time. During the 1980s and 90s, it was strongly connected to the culture of Chicanos, especially in California. Hoops were correlated more with ‘Cholas,’ for big hoop earrings was a part of their ‘look’ and frankly, what they are still known for. Because hoop earrings were, and definitely still are, embraced in different communities of color, some people outside these communities see them in a negative way- and even though I wasn’t told that at school directly, I could feel it, or at least be self conscious about it.
The student diversity at my school could be better. The Latinx culture that I was so used to was lacking, and at some point, made me feel overwhelmed. I felt disconnected from my culture and the place I call home. It got worse and worse everyday. The more disconnected I felt from my culture, the more I yearned for it. As cliche as it seems, wearing hoops was what connected me back to my culture. When I wear them, I know I am celebrating and representing a culture that I will never, ever be ashamed of.
During these past few years at my new school, I learned so much about what I stand for and my identity. I am an activist. I am from Boyle Heights. I am a journalist. I am Mexican-American. I am brown, and I will always be Latina. Wearing my hoops ties me back to all these identifiers. It ties me back to where I come from, no matter where I go.
I don’t want to conform to a life wear I don’t wear hoops. Gosh, such a first world problem. But hey! If I lose my hoops, what will stop me from losing other things that make up who I am, such as my language or my favorite Spanish music? Who would have thought a pair of earrings could mean so much, could do so much? I feel more badass with them on, which is definitely why you can always expect me to wear my gold hoop earrings.
About the Author
My name is Andrea Bizarro. I am a 17 year old first generation Mexican-American living in the eastside of Los Angeles, California. I enjoy Spanish music, dancing to Spanish music, and writing whenever I can. I love to freewrite. My free writing pieces usually turn into really long rants, and if I'm lucky, “masterpieces” tend to grow from there! So, after some serious freewriting, I decided to write this piece about one of my greatest fears, assimilation. To me this means trying to fit into a culture that is not mine and slowly disconnecting myself from my Mexican heritage and community. I take pride in my culture and I hope to never lose it. Below is a piece on just one aspect of many parts of my life that provoke the discussion of assimilation to me. I hope you enjoy it!
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