Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Racism and Prejudice among Latinos! – Qué!

Racism and Prejudice among Latinos! – Qué!

Growing-up  in NYC  you tend  to meet people from the around the world. As a child raised in Hell’s Kitchen I was exposed to various cultures but, the circles that I was exposed to more often were mainly Latino and Black children. Throughout my childhood I would hear Latinos poking fun of other Latinos. It was innocent fun but, everyone usually got along or so I thought. As I got older I noticed that some Latinos took stereotypes to heart and framed their minds to classify people according to that perspective.  I am going to divide  my prejudices, stereotypes and Racisms experiences  from a Latino perspective so you can see my point of view.

Stereotypes:  These are sometimes are funny remarks about a culture, group or race.  What I have heard: Mexicans are always drunk, or having babies. Puerto Ricans are loud, beat their wives and live off of welfare. Argentinians are stuck-up and think that they are all European only. Salvadorians are hard-working but are violent - of course since I am Salvadorian  (I don’t know what other Latinos are saying for real!- trust me its’  probably bad).  Dominican women are good but the men are control freaks that kill their wives if they ever leave them, and are loud.  Columbians think that they are the best in everything and are just broke people who spend all their money on looks or drugs. You get the point! No one is spared from stereotypes.  The problem is if you truly believe in them then you will never get to know other Latin American cultures and how beautiful they are. Also, the people that are from NYC are not always a good representation of the cultural norms and values people have in their native country. My experience is that one fellow Central American friend who  thought I was “tough” because I was from El Salvador, um no I don’t carry machete with me. However, I do have one at my farm house in El Salvador- LOL!

Prejudice:  This when Latinos from on group want to divide themselves from others. Latinos with papeles ( legal) vs Latinos without papeles ( undocumented). Nothings get my blood boiling is when I hear other Latinos bashing a fellow Latino for not being legal.  Let’s  start geographically :

North and Central America: Mexicans take all the heat for undocumented people. In the news when there is a law affecting immigrants they run to the Mexican community and take videos of Mexicans protesting and talking about how this law will affect their lives. Hellloooo there are other people in America that are undocumented – such as other Latinos from all over Latin America- including Brazil! Lots not forget Europeans, Indians, Asians, and Africans! But no, according to the media it only Mexicans- I am sick of it!

Some Mexican and Central American Latinos get upset at other Latinos for coming here illegally accusing them of abusing the system - " I  came here legally why can't everyone else".  Undocumented people may seem that they are taking advantage of the system but, they are not. We all know  many employers of undocumented people pay them very low rates (below minimum wage), if they get fired they can't collect unemployment, welfare or social security. They do have to pay taxes so -who is taking advantage of who?  Medical use, they do not have medical insurance  and it's  well documented that illegal immigrants under use hospital care because they are afraid of being caught. Everyone is trying to do the best they can based their own reality. 

Caribbean:  The same issues here as well-  some Puerto Ricans look down upon  Dominicans for being illegal. Puerto Rico is a territory of the US so they are automatically US citizens.  Let’s not kid ourselves- if Puerto Rico was not a territory of the US then some Puerto Ricans will be here illegally as well . Some Dominicans   discriminate against Haitians - it’s was in the news recently that the Dominican government wants to ban Haitian children to attend Dominican schools. Some Cuban's try to assimilate to the American culture as best as they can -so much so that some choose to not speak Spanish their children so they won’t have a Spanish accent! Ay Dios Mío!  I think that is fine but, it important to teach your children your roots.  There are of course many Caribbean people who advocate for immigrant rights no matter where they are from and helped immigrants out in generous ways. I am speaking from experience!   I've had the privilege enjoy  the Caribbean culture growing up in NYC and I  love  its music, beaches, people and food! 

South America:  I am not that familiar discrimination among these countries  but, given the pattern I seen it probably happens.

Racism: It’s a color thing! Yes we too have this issue and its bothers me as well. If a fair skinned woman wants to marry a dark skinned man it’s an issue or at the very least they will say comments about the guy’s color.  
In Central America when describing someone you tend to hear“ he was so good looking he was white, blues eyes, blond haired” You will hardly ever  hear: "he was so good looking he was dark, brown eyed and had brown haired” I am even laughing at the thought because I have hardly ever heard someone say that – it’s a shame! But guess what -  I do – I always  say “ he was so handsome – brown skinned, beautiful brown eyes” – especially to people who always say the opposite. 
In El Salvador it's really bad:  you used to ( don’t know if still happens) have to put your picture on your resume. If you looked dark- well you might not get the job! El Salvador was so racist with Blacks that until recently Blacks could not  immigrate into the El Salvador. There was a banned on Black immigrants in 1930 and it was removed in 1980. Crazy!  It’s a  really ugly way of thinking and I have to say when I was pregnant the people that were most polite and helpful was the Black community and they did not care that I looked “white” or another other ethnicity! Don't get me wrong, there many great Salvadorians that are not racist and will welcome you with open arms no matter what!

Side Note: its goes far  beyond color if you look “ indio” meaning native American some Latino people will discriminate you as well.

Once-  I was in a store shopping, the store had a Latina saleslady she looked at me like with  what do you want face- so I said “ do you have  blah blah blah ” and she said “look over there”. Then a blond haired, blue eyes woman  came in the store- and  it’s as if the Queen of England  herself walked in - this sales lady was like “Hiii how can I help you” – her voice went up I don’t know how many octaves and all her teeth were on display. O-M-G- What a shame – that was not my only experience and it won’t be my last.  

The reason for writing all these things is that Latinos already have other groups discriminating, stereotyping and hating on our culture that we don’t need more hate from each other. It would be so wonderful for Latinos to work together more often to become prosperous not only in America but, with among Latino countries.

How I  view Latinos               vs.     How the media portrays Latinos



  1. I agree people feel like judging people so they make up nonsense and rumors about other people and other races but it doesn't mean its true.

  2. Thank you! I hope that if you encounter any of these uneducated remarks growing up you don't take it personally and show them how sophisticated and smart you are :-)