Stop Assuming My Identity

Luis Orozco

I identify as Latino. 

I identify as a man of color. 

And I identify as a conservative Republican. 


This is not a paradox, a glitch in the matrix. Too often I’m told I am brainwashed, whitewashed, that I hold internalized racism, that I am a colorist and a “traitor to my kind.”

How disgusting. How disgusting it is that expressing my views means I lose the respect of those whom I thought were my friends. 


I am not sorry my identity doesn’t fit the mold. 


My identity is crafted by my thoughts, my experiences, my principals. 

I know the space that I occupy, and I am respectful of it. I now demand that same respect back. 


I thought when my professors said the classroom is a space where all views can be shared, that meant all views could be shared. I see now only the views that don’t make us uncomfortable because they are foreign, that don’t question the status quo, that don’t make us think, are the ones that are acceptable. 


I thought this school’s mission is to engage with our differences and cultivate intellectual discourse.

This is simply not the case anymore, not when you don’t fit the mold.


When did academia fall into discord with diverse thought? 

In my time here, my identity has been questioned, harassed, perverted, and mistaken. 


I refuse to submit to the victimhood mentality that is constantly used to oppress the free thinkers. Victimhood is the tool they use to suppress my voice.

I refuse to remain unheard. 

Let me make this clear: I am done coaching people through the non-linear path that leads to my identity. My integrity is not a connect-the-dots puzzle. 


I am tired of having to justify who I am. 

I am exhausted with my identity being silenced.

I am drained of having to leave essential parts of myself out when I introduce myself. When I express myself. When I present myself. 


Every time I skip that part of myself, the more I fool myself into thinking: 

This is how things are now. This is permissible.

This. is. okay. 

I’m done.