Jessica is of Hispanic descent, which enables some consideration regarding the issue of language use and the matters of racial and cultural assimilation. Latino adults are the children of immigrants who are most likely to be bilingual, as suggested by Pew Research Center statistics (Krogstad & Gonzalez-Barrera, 2015). In the US, Hispanics are mainly divided into three groups, 36% of whom are bilingual, 25% mostly use English, and 38% mainly use Spanish (Krogstad & Gonzalez-Barrera, 2015). These statistics show that the population is almost equally divided in terms of language, which means that Jessica should not feel uncomfortable mainly speaking English and feeling more at ease when being in a primarily White social group.
Jessica should not feel ashamed for not sharing the experiences that other Hispanic students in her class had because each person has their story, and all of them cannot be the same. Her heritage suggests that her parents wanted her to adjust to American society well and avoided any prejudice and racial stereotyping that could have occurred as a result of them being Spanish-speaking (McGee, 2016). There is nothing to be worried about, and if Jessica feels more at ease in a predominantly White environment, she should pursue it. However, if Jessica is curious about her Hispanic heritage and its role in shaping her as an individual, she can invest in learning about family history or take up Spanish lessons. It is also a good idea to engage with Spanish-speaking students and learn about their Hispanic heritage from them. In modern highly-integrated society, one should not be worried about how others would perceive them because cultural heritage no longer defines people.
Krogstad, J. M. & Gonzalez-Barrera, A. (2015). A majority of English-speaking Hispanics in the U.S. are bilingual. Web.
McGee, E. (2016). Devalued Black and Latino identities: A by-product of STEM college culture? American Educational Research Journal, 53(6), 1626-1662.