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Sandra Cisneros talks about having to show her 'spiritual papers'

Mexican-American author Sandra Cisneros spoke to Jorge Ramos about feeling a sense of “other” while growing up in the United States and identifying strongly with her Mexican roots. She says people like her are constantly questioned about their American identity much in the way an immigrant has to show legal proof of residence or citizenship.

“We’re always asked for our papers in a way. ‘Where do you come from? What’s that accent? Why do you talk like that?’” Cisneros said. “We’re always asked for our spiritual papers in a way, even if we’re born and have lived in the United States thirteen generations. So there’s always that doubt that we’re not the authentic ‘American’ when we talk about America.”

The complex issue of identity is something Cisneros knows well: the protagonist of her 1984 internationally acclaimed novel—The House on Mango Street—struggled with her own identity. Now, more than 30 years later, Cisneros discusses the theme in a more personal way in her latest book, “A House of My Own: Stories from My Life.”

Watch the full interview below:

Sandra Cisneros talks about having to show her 'spiritual papers'

Mexican-American author Sandra Cisneros spoke to Jorge Ramos about feeling a sense of “other” while growing up in the United States and identifying strongly with her Mexican roots. She says people like her are constantly questioned about their American identity much in the way an immigrant has to show legal proof of residence or citizenship.

“We’re always asked for our papers in a way. ‘Where do you come from? What’s that accent? Why do you talk like that?’” Cisneros said. “We’re always asked for our spiritual papers in a way, even if we’re born and have lived in the United States thirteen generations. So there’s always that doubt that we’re not the authentic ‘American’ when we talk about America.”

The complex issue of identity is something Cisneros knows well: the protagonist of her 1984 internationally acclaimed novel—The House on Mango Street—struggled with her own identity. Now, more than 30 years later, Cisneros discusses the theme in a more personal way in her latest book, “A House of My Own: Stories from My Life.”

Watch the full interview below:

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