Think twice before you use the phrase “no sabo kid”
HHM is over, but we aren’t done yet
The end of Hispanic Heritage Month can feel like a return to complacency. But there’s no reason why our learning experiences cannot continue throughout the year. After all, a month is hardly sufficient to celebrate the richness and beauty of Hispanic/Latinx culture.
In the whirlwind of reclaiming the history that makes up our community and unlearning the glorification of colonization, there are bound to be things we miss. There are certain microaggressions – or just blatant aggressions – that we may dismiss. For one, the social media trend #nosabokid can be overlooked as something silly, but it can continue to perpetuate insecurities and forcibly define individuals’ identities.
What does #nosabokid mean?
This hashtag is primarily used on videos uploaded to social media platforms like TikTok; it describes young Spanish heritage speakers (individuals who are raised in a Spanish-speaking household but live in a country where Spanish is not the dominant language) who are deemed not to have an adequate proficiency in Spanish.
This trend pokes fun at their language abilities and is, without a doubt, a linguistic aggression. “No sabo” is not grammatically correct, and it is used as a joke without keeping in mind its potential repercussions. How do you not speak Spanish if your parents speak Spanish? Your family must be ashamed that you don’t know the language. These are just a couple of the sentiments directed toward Spanish heritage speakers. This can make them feel self-conscious about their Spanish and create a disconnect when it comes to their cultural identities. It can cause them to shy away from ever attempting to speak Spanish or reject their heritage entirely.
Calling someone a “no sabo kid” erases all the nuances that influence their comfort with the language. Were they raised with a sibling who primarily spoke English? Did they have difficulties with language acquisition as they were growing up? Did they receive any type of formal education in Spanish? These questions are hardly considered when jumping at the chance to judge someone for not fitting into society’s perception of what a Hispanic-American should be.
The #nosabokid trend promotes a hierarchy that only continues to divide us. Spanish heritage speakers have enough difficulty navigating the plurality of their identities.
When other people begin to define what does or does not make us Hispanic/Latinx, we can begin to feel that we do not truly belong anywhere. We’re not American enough, and we’re not Latinx enough.
Despite what this trend may tell us, our heritage cannot be summed up by our linguistic abilities. We deserve the chance to embrace who we are, and we do not need to look, speak or act a certain way to be proud of where we come from.
Daniella Conde is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. She's a proud Cuban-American from Miami, FL. When she's not lost in productivity while sipping on an overpriced caffeinated beverage at a coffee shop, you can find her binge-reading romance novels, obsessing over Taylor Swift Easter eggs or attending Harry Styles concerts.