From the US all the way to China, Latinos are constantly associated with some very annoying stereotypes. The next time you meet a Latinx, you’ll have a broader perspective of the many Latino identities in all their complexity.
By Michelle Rodríguez
There are around 20 countries in Latin America that stretch from the border with the US all the way to the tip of South America, including the Caribbean. Each country has their own food, traditions, dance styles, music, and history. Although the predominant language in Latin America is Spanish and Portuguese, in South America alone there are over 448 languages spoken by 11 million people. This is to say that we are a people that come in all sorts of colors, sizes, shapes, and walks of life. However, from the US all the way to China, Latinos are constantly associated with some very annoying stereotypes. It’s okay, you didn’t know better before, so here are 5 stereotypes that we are sick of being identified with.
Lying Around Taking Siestas At All Hours Of The Day
This stereotype is easily traced back to Speedy Gonzalez and his compadres, who are always sleeping with their face covered by a huge sombrero. As much as I would love to be able to take naps midday, I’ll end up over-sleeping and wake up feeling super groggy. I wouldn’t mind adopting the Italian tradition of closing shop for a couple hours to really enjoy lunch and take a snoozer. However, the majority of Latinos don’t wear huge sombreros nor do we take naps in the middle of the day.
We Are The Help
Hollywood has done a fantastic job at portraying Latinos as servants, janitors, and gardeners. However, this is changing thanks to influential latinos in cinema, as well as prominent politicians and people in government such as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Congressman Luis Gutierrez. Although many immigrants only find employment in the service industry, 2nd and 3rd generation Latinos are breaking down barriers by finishing college or becoming entrepreneurs.
All Latinos Are Brown.
There are over 20 countries in Latin America and all of Latin America was, at some point in history, colonized by a European country. Thus, we come in all shapes, sizes, and SHADES. In Argentina for example, 44% of the population have light colored eyes and are light-skinned. In Mexico, it varies, with the northern population being more light-skinned than people in the southern regions. The Spaniards, Germans, Italians, Chinese, and Polish, created 50 shades of brown in Latin America and a rich cultural history.
Although it is true that we are passionate and strong-willed, our personality has been exaggerated and perceived as not being able to take criticism kindly, or taking the “my way or the highway” stance. Unless you’ve been dealing with some hoodrats, not true. Most Latinas value sophistication and class highly. Many of us come from conservative and very family-orientated homes, so we naturally transmit these values onto other relationships in our lives. In other words, we call BS when we see it so it’s best avoid that nonsense with us.
We All Love Spicy Food
Bring on the Habanero sauce anytime, anywhere. However, this is not true for all Latinos. Many Latinos can only do mild sauces, especially those in South America. In Mexico, however, children grow up eating tamarind candy (a bit spicy). When visiting any Latin American country, you might want to try a tiny bit because you never know your chef’s preference.
So, after reading this, the next time you meet one of us, you’ll have a broader perspective of the many Latino identities in all their complexity. Take the time to learn about different cultures to avoid any embarrassing faux pas, especially if you’ll be in contact with any other nationalities. Latin America has been woven with many fabrics from many European countries resulting in a very unique and fascinating culture.
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