The Cougar Chronicle

Look beyond stereotypes of Hispanic community

Celine Holguin, Opinion Editor

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After asking, “what do you think of when you hear the word ‘Hispanic’?” I received a variety of answers, quizzical and uneasy looks.

 

As a way to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is observed between Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, I conducted an experiment and asked this question to about a dozen people on campus to see how the Hispanic community is portrayed.

 

Prior to beginning my experiment, I didn’t imagine receiving many answers that were based on stereotypes, especially from Hispanics themselves.

 

Most responses consisted of the words “dark-skinned,” “brown,” “short” and “Mexican” with the occasional “immigrant” and “Spanish-speaking.”

 

I later recognized that we live in a society with stereotypes, even if they are followed unconsciously. But rather than getting offended or causing a stir, I shall share some knowledge with you

 

The best answer to the question is the word “diversity.” People of Hispanic descent are not just dark- skinned or short. Not all Hispanic individuals are Mexican either, there are people from countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, Chile and many more.

 

Attending such a diverse school such as CSUSM reminds me of this fact daily. According to the CSUSM website, approximately 41 percent of the student body identifies as Latino/a or His- panic, therefore making them the majority of the CSUSM student population.

 

If you solely focus on the Hispanic student population in CSUSM you will observe a diverse group of students, all of which have their own distinct features.

 

Hispanic people sometimes have bright blue eyes and pale skin or freckles and red hair. Some have dark skin but only know a word or two words in Spanish, or

none at all.

 

Others are short, covered in moles and have dark brown eyes meanwhile others are tall, have afros and green eyes. Not all are immigrants, and even if so, they are also future pilots and educators.

 

There are no individuals in the Hispanic community that are exactly the same, so it’s absurd to think so. Hispanic people are far more than just stereotypes.

 

Being Hispanic is like being a part of a brilliantly colored and intricate mosaic. No piece is exactly the same, but all pieces coexists and together create a extraordinary masterpiece.

Ultimately, there is no real way to look or be Hispanic. There is no guide or checklist to follow. So to those who are Hispanic- be true to yourself.

 

Take pride in your heritage and its history. You have strength and beauty running through your veins that should not be ignored or forgotten

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